Trauma-informed Church in Pandemic Recovery

Season 4, Episode 1

April 27 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm EDT

These past few years have been very strenuous for our whole community. With issues on top of the pandemic such as police violence, the threat of war, and other collective traumatic experiences, the need to not only understand how trauma affects an individual’s spirit but how to walk alongside those who are experiencing the responses to trauma is crucial in today’s age. The term ‘Trauma Informed Ministry’ is becoming more commonplace for congregations. Utilizing the work from the field of Trauma Informed Care, this New Church Hacks episode:

  • Familiarized participants with the language of being trauma-informed
  • Provided principles on how to help with trauma responses without retraumatizing individuals
  • Explored spiritual practices that help to center oneself in traumatic experiences.
  • Shared how to form communities of care that are trauma-informed

Joining host Rev. Dr. Jose Martinez (interim Minister of New Church Strategies) were the episode’s current featured guests including Rev. Dr. Irie Lynn Session (preacher at The Gathering: A Womanist Church), Rev. Dawn Bennett (Pastor Developer at The Table), and Joselyn Spence (Director of the Mental Health and Wellness Initiative of the National Benevolent Association).


New Church Hacks provides practical (and sometimes peculiar) prompts for churches from start to restart. This free webinar series is jam-packed with clever solutions to tricky problems and empowers courageous leaders with the tools, tips and how-tos to start, sustain and strengthen congregations. For regular updates, be sure to check this page and follow along on social media with #NewChurchHacks!

A link to a recording of the webinar will be emailed to all registrants after the episode airs, regardless of attendance.

Participants can also join us on New Church Ministry’s Facebook page, where a recording of the episode will live on its Videos tab.

Your Pentecost Offering Gifts Boost Ministry to Folks in Springfield, MO

The Connecting Grounds (TCG) has always been a Disciples congregation, it just didn’t know it.

That’s what Christie Love’s good friend, a Disciples of Christ pastor, told her when she called in the middle of June 2020. TCG’s landlord had just informed the new Springfield, MO, congregation that it must move or end its ministry doing outreach for unhoused people.

TCG provided food, clothing, and public restrooms from the strip mall location they rented. But as the Covid-19 pandemic began, the ministry to 200-plus people moved to the sidewalk in front for safety.

“My team didn’t feel like the church — the whole church— could shelter in place,” during the heightened need created by the pandemic, recalls Christie. “Yes, there were safety issues. But the call of the gospel doesn’t have a caveat for health conditions.”

When shoppers objected to “those people” being so near their grocery store, Christie called her Disciples pastor friend in frustration. As he listened, Rev. Phil Snider recognized in this independent, interdenominational worshiping community qualities that matched the Disciples ethos. He knew that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada could support his friend’s community of faith. (Through the annual Pentecost OfferingDisciples Mission Fund supports local new church development as well as New Church Ministry (NCM), which trains, equips, assists, and multiplies emerging places of worship and their leaders.) Would TCG consider joining the denomination? 

An Increasing Discomfort with Church

Christie had launched TCG nearly two years earlier out of profound discomfort with what she saw as inappropriate coziness between American faith communities and middle-class values.

“A lot of people living at or below the poverty line don’t feel welcome in American churches,” Christie says. She heard from lower-income people an awkwardness and even “shame in their inability to afford participation.”

So, Christie and her team had researched socio-economic trends within the local church context. They learned that financial status did factor heavily in membership. When they explored the lives of those who were not included in church, they found their ministry calling. Those facing decreased income, housing instability, or with their children in foster care, often had experienced significant trauma that had created those conditions. Further, many others had felt the sting of exclusion from communities of faith.

“We asked, ‘How do we create a church space that isn’t classist, that is open, especially cost-wise? How do we create one that is trauma-informed? How do we be aware of the imprint that the church has on people who’ve been the victims of weaponized and misused religion?’ These questions helped to shape our identity,” remembers Christie.

TCG’s planters had also noticed another trend: wealthier, progressive congregations on the south side of town had planted smaller congregations on the north side, focused on addiction recovery and re-entry after prison.

“It’s all good work, but there wasn’t an entry point for people that didn’t have preexisting issues,” says Christie. “It seemed like people who struggled with drugs, alcohol, or an addictive behavior were sent to (those churches). It didn’t feel like a space existed for people who were trying to understand who Jesus was.”

Building Church Around Community Need

In a neighborhood with a poverty rate of 30 percent (twice the state’s average), TCG launched a no-barrier food pantry and a clothing closet designed for low-income and unsheltered people. TCG didn’t require IDs or proof of address for participation, making access easier for visitors.

They also started Family Connection, a program developed in partnership with the county’s Children’s Division to provide space for children in foster care to visit their biological families.

“A big part of our heart from day one was to wrap around and support the reunification efforts of separated families,” Christie says, “and to do that in a loving and trauma-informed space.”

When the landlord called to challenge their operation in her building, Christie knew the congregation was not going to abandon the call they felt to welcome people unconditionally. She called Rev. Phil to pray with her. He prayed. But he also introduced her to Disciples who could help.

New Partners

Christie learned the Disciples of Christ Mid-America region owned an empty property in her community, so she met with Regional Minister Rev. Ron Routledge, who then connected her with former Regional Minister Rev. Christine Chenoweth. In her meetings with Rev. Christine, Christie discovered not just help for the faith community, but for herself as well.

“She pastorally cared for me as a faith leader in ways that I’ve never experienced,” says Christie. “So often pastors love on people. There aren’t a lot of people loving back. She recognized we were going through a traumatic situation – grieving the loss of our location. She connected us to the wider church (including NCM) and introduced us to Disciples pastors in the area.”

In short order, TCG became affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and accepted an early termination of its lease. Then it relocated to a small house and empty church building the region provided.

The house became the Family Connection center, providing a homelike environment for parents visiting their children in foster care. Interior walls were removed to open the floor plan, a kitchenette and a dining room table were added, and family-friendly board games were brought in.

Not Navigating Alone

But the new location presents its own challenges. The facility can shelter only 15 individuals each night in the church building – a far cry from the hundreds it used to house and shelter. Furthermore, the new location is on a very busy state road without any sidewalks. Even public transportation proves problematic, as there is a lack of bus stops nearby. 

However, as they navigate these new challenges, the people of TCG aren’t doing so on their own. NCM and local DoC churches have stepped up. 

Through Leadership Academy, which is the ministry’s annual educational opportunity for pastors and core teams of both established and newly planted churches, Christie has been able to share her knowledge about trauma-informed ministry. Through relationships with local pastors, she has found peer support.

Today, Christie and her team plan to create phase one of a US $12 million transitional supportive shelter called Roots of Community, which will provide affordable housing through an apartment complex with a community and daycare center on-site. Already, they have petitioned the city council for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and started fund-raising efforts.

The TCG team also bought a small respite house this year to support people receiving chemotherapy or hospice care, as there are few places in Springfield for them to go to. 

“As we’re building relationships with people, we’re including them in community, and making them feel welcome,” says Christie.

With NCM and other Disciples partners sharing the load, TCG will continue to look for innovative ways to fill gaps the church has historically missed in Springfield. For Christie, an evolving ministry is what innovative theology is all about.

“We never say, ‘Okay, we accomplished this,’ because love, justice, and mercy are the things that we’re called to, there’s always going to be a call to something deeper and higher.”

You Can Help

Gifts made to the Pentecost Offering support New Church Ministry and innovative new church development, like The Connecting Grounds. This Special Day Offering will be received in most congregations on May 29 and June 5. For additional information and resources that you can share with church members, visit pentecost-offering.com

How the church can respond to sexual assault

A condensed version of this post appeared in the April issue of the New Church Know-It-All.

“Every 68 seconds an American is Sexually Assaulted,” according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). The Canadian Women’s Foundation reports that sexual assault occurs at a rate of 22 incidents per 1,000 people aged 15 and older. Friends, April is both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. I imagine you have never heard these statistics on sexual assaults before. They are staggering and eye-opening. I believe there are five main reasons why we never discuss statistics like this.

  1. Fear, we are afraid of speaking out about things we cannot see, especially if they are subversive and taboo. If we don’t talk about them, then they don’t exist.
  2. Shame, we feel as though we could shame abusers or the abused if we speak about the pain that lurks in the shadows.
  3. Disbelief, we are comforted by our inability to see the trauma and pain that some folks are holding in the silence in our own communities.
  4. Normativity, we are lulled into the media narrative that abuse is a part of our normative social landscape.
  5. Responsibility Shifting, we believe this is not a ministry we are called to, that someone else is doing this work and that is enough. The sexual assault that occurs every 68 seconds is not the fault of the victims, it is ours. We must all do this work, because abuse is thriving in the shadows and we have the light!

You might be asking “How can we impact child abuse prevention?” Here are a few ways: 

  • know what child abuse is, report it, educate yourself and others, teach children their rights, invest in kids and volunteer.
  • Consider creating space for education and healing in your sanctuary. I created a space called the Sanc Tea Ary, where I have curated abuse recovery books, journals, art supplies, tea and local resources for individuals who are trying to navigate toxic situations. 

Maybe you haven’t felt equipped to start a “Movement for Wholeness” in your community. If so, please take a look at these resources for education and support:

I want to assure you that speaking out, preaching, and teaching on these topics offers folks the strength and space to shed shame and feel seen.

We have the ability and responsibility to shift the normative comfortability with abuse in our lifetime. Clergy colleagues, we belong to one of the largest institutions with offices (sanctuaries) all over our countries. We are poised to “Set the captives free” as clarified in Luke 4:18. We are the denomination that lives into the promise that we are a “Movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.” No one is more fragmented than a victim of abuse. As always, I recommend that you increase your understanding of complex abuse dynamics before offering counseling. It is easy to say the wrong thing. You can find my clergy training offering here.


Courtney Armento
Rev. Courtney Armento, Co-Author of GA1928

Courtney Armento is driven to inspire the power of community to create systemic change, in that vein, she co-authored resolution GA-1928, A Call to See and Respond to the Crisis of Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence. This resolution is a call to action for the whole church around education, support and reduction of violence at every level of the church and community. Currently, due to the subversive nature of abuse, leaders do not believe that abuse is happening in their communities. Courtney is intentionally Un*Unsilencing Domestic Violence with her clergy and community training curriculum. You can find out more about her work and resources at Tethered1.org. Check out her social media for more on Instagram and Facebook.

Leaders' Retreat promo image

Leaders’ Retreat 2022

March 25 @ 8:00 am March 27 @ 5:00 pm EDT

Picture this: you and a small group of other pastors gather on a lakeshore in the spring. Over the course of a weekend, you hike on walking trails and paddle in a canoe or kayak, all while cultivating leadership skills, self-awareness, and spiritual development.

Leading a community of faith is challenging; why not have a restorative, peaceful, and enlightening event to look forward to that will provide you with opportunities to explore your personality and identify your strengths?

New Church Ministry invites Leadership Academy graduates from the last two years to join our inaugural Leaders’ Retreat. We will host the event at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center in Lake Tahoe from Friday, March 25 to Sunday, March 27, 2022. All attendees are expected to arrive on Thursday, March 24.

This in-person getaway will combine quiet/alone time, team-building with fellow leaders, and guidance from the New Church Ministry Team and coaches, as well as a spiritual director.

Speakers

Rev. Annie Steinberg-Behrman is Senior Pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. She is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor with over 30 years of experience in Parish Ministry and Spiritual Direction. She graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She has served as a chaplain, as the solo pastor of a rural church and in large urban settings. Annie loves music, is learning to play the concertina and singing. She also loves to cook, garden, read and watch British Mysteries She lives in Berkeley, CA with her wife of 18 years, two dogs and four cats. They have four grown children.

Rev. Dr. Trey Flowers has been serving on the staff of Disciples congregations for more than twenty years, including his current role as Senior Minister at Beargrass Christian Church.

As an Enneagram Type 7 (“The Enthusiast”), Trey gets energized by helping others learn the Enneagram for personal, professional, and congregational transformation. His training began more than 10 years ago after first learning the system from Suzanne Stabile and has expanded since then to become an Enneagram teacher himself in congregational workshops and provide Enneagram-based consulting for staff teams. More recently, Trey wrote his doctoral project on how the Enneagram can be used as a tool for effective preaching across the diverse perspectives of each personality type likely present in the pews each week.

$300

Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center

660 Highway 50
Zephyr Cove, Nevada 89448 United States
+ Google Map
775-588-6759 ext 100
https://www.zephyrpoint.org

Terrell McTyer’s farewell party

January 31 @ 8:00 pm 9:00 pm EST

Join us to say goodbye to our Minister of New Church Strategies, Pastor Terrell L. McTyer!

Visit the New Church Ministry Facebook page to watch a live send-off filled with tributes and speakers from across the denomination.

If Terrell has made an impact on the life of your faith community (and we’re sure he has), make sure to leave a comment under the video.

Terrell began his work with us in August 2016, as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada was already successfully nearing the 2020 Vision goal to form 1,000 new Disciples congregations. Our ministry continued the momentum of this achievement by convening the New Church Summit, which set new aspirations for the movement to “make one million new disciples by 2030.”

Under his leadership, the New Church Leadership Cooperative was established to bring together the dedicated leaders and teams of regional new church work to share in the strengthening practices of emerging congregations.

With an emphasis on the spiritual grounding of the movement, Terrell oversaw the launch of Water the Plants — a weekly prayer initiative that has hosted multiple prayer summits.

On December 21, Terrell accepted a position as Executive Director of Global Marketing and Innovation at The Upper Room, an ecumenical ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians around the world.

Jose Martinez, Associate Minister of New Church Strategies, will join Terrell in overlapping leadership until the end of January, when McTyer begins his new role.

Martinez has planted churches, launched innovative ministries, and served in hospital and military chaplaincy. He joined the New Church Ministry Team in 2019.

Martinez co-planted Multi Nation Christian Church, the largest and only Haitian Ministry in the Midwest for the Disciples of Christ. He also founded MissioKC, a micro-church based in Kansas City, Mo., focused on “helping make the world around us a spiritually healthier place.” 

Jose Martinez announced as transitional NCM leader

Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), which oversees New Church Ministry (NCM) on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), announces a transitional leader for the NCM Team.

Jose Martinez

Jose Martinez, Associate Minister of New Church Strategies, will join outgoing Minister of New Church Strategies Terrell McTyer in overlapping leadership until the end of January, when McTyer begins a new position with a global, ecumenical ministry and Martinez takes transitional leadership of NCM.

Martinez has planted churches, launched innovative ministries, and served in hospital and military chaplaincy. He joined the New Church Ministry Team in 2019.

“Jose brings a wealth of experience, an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep commitment to both NCM and DCEF,” said Belinda King, DCEF President. “His grasp of the mission and vision of New Church Ministry provides the kind of continuity we need as we discern next steps with our church-wide partners.”

Martinez co-planted Multi Nation Christian Church, the largest and only Haitian Ministry in the Midwest for the Disciples of Christ. He also founded MissioKC, a micro-church based in Kansas City, Mo., focused on “helping make the world around us a spiritually healthier place.” 

Martinez sees the interim as a time to “ensure that the next Minister of New Church Strategies has a strong foundation to help Disciples live more fully into our identity as a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.”

“The watch word for this season is ‘continuity,’” he said. “We will double down on nurturing our churchwide partnerships, even as we continue the work of training new leaders, equipping the church, assisting regions, and multiplying disciples.”

Disciples Church Extension Fund inspires and empowers congregations to create Holy Places where people connect with God, each other, and the community.

NCM leader accepts new post; interim to serve transition

Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), which oversees New Church Ministry (NCM) on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), announces the leader of NCM will step down at the end of January.

Terrell McTyer

Terrell L. McTyer, Minister of New Church Strategies, has accepted a position as Executive Director of Global Marketing and Innovation at The Upper Room, an ecumenical ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians around the world.

“I am excited about the future,” Terrell said, “but it’s bittersweet to accept a new post, given my passion for this work. I’m going to miss this calling very much.”

Terrell began his work with New Church Ministry in August 2016, as the church was already successfully nearing the 2020 Vision goal to form 1,000 new Disciples congregations. NCM continued the momentum of this achievement by convening the New Church Summit, which set new aspirations for the movement to “make one million new disciples by 2030.”

Pastor Terrell leaves the ministry “in a sustainable position precisely because it is not dependent on a small, centralized group of leaders,” he said. “It truly is the work of the whole church.”

Under his leadership, the New Church Leadership Cooperative was established to bring together the dedicated leaders and teams of regional new church work to share in the strengthening practices of emerging congregations.

“This ministry would not be what it is if it were not for the team making it happen – not just the folks on New Church staff, but the whole DCEF staff,” Terrell added. “All the regional and general leaders across the church have played a critical role in its success. This is what gives me confidence that this vision will continue and rise to a new level with new leadership. Plus, just consider how many people continue to pray for this work to prosper!”

With an emphasis on the spiritual grounding of the movement, Terrell oversaw the launch of Water the Plants — a weekly prayer initiative that has hosted multiple prayer summits.

“It’s no surprise Terrell has been called to yet another ministry that values his innovative spirit,” Rick Reisinger, DCEF President, said. “Disciples have certainly benefited from his many gifts.”

Belinda R. King, who assumes leadership as President of DCEF on January 1, 2022, understands the impact this opening has on the entire Church.

“I will ensure that an interim is named before Terrell’s departure, so that NCM stays consistent in serving congregations and the wider Church,” she stated. “We will work faithfully with our churchwide partners to plan steps for the long term.”

Theory of Change workshop

November 8, 2021 @ 11:00 am November 21, 2021 @ 5:30 pm EST

A Theory of Change is your ministry’s story of how you believe change will unfold.

Are you planning to change, grow or add a ministry?

What impact are you having? How do you know? What difference is your ministry or program making? Learn what your mission is and understand the roles in achieving it.

The cornerstone of effective evaluation is a thorough understanding of the program you are trying to evaluate. This workshop will help you break your program or ministry down into its component parts, differentiating between things like “what you do” and “what you achieve.” Upon completion of the workshop you’ll have a completed Theory of Change and logic model.

  • A Theory of Change will provide a roadmap that outlines the steps by which you will achieve your mission. A Theory of Change can aid in aligning your stakeholders to your larger mission and help them understand their role in achieving it.
  • We’ll illustrate your Theory of Change with a logic model to show your stakeholders the intended relationship between investments and results.

Class Structure

All work will be online and asynchronous, with regular live group Zoom sessions. Participants should plan for 3-6 hours of work for each of the five modules, depending on experience. Your work will include reading, learning activities, and online discussion, all done at your own pace. Those that want to explore the topic further, should contact the facilitator upon completion of the workshop.

Class Schedule

Schedule: Module 1 – Mission (from approximately November 8th to 11th, 2021)

November 8th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Program Overview, Problem Statement. Times: 11.15 AM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 9th, 2021: Post Your Problem, Comment on the Problem of Others, Revise Your Problem

November 10th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Mission Statement. Times: 11.15 AM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 11th, 2021: Post Your Mission, Comment on the Mission of Others, Revise Your Mission

Schedule: Module 2 – Impact (from approximately November 12th to 13th, 2021)

November 12th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Outcomes. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 13th, 2021: Post Your Outcomes, Comment on the Outcomes of Others, Revise Your Outcomes

Schedule: Module 3 – Delivery (from approximately November 14th to 15th, 2021)

November 14th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Activities & Outputs. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 15th, 2021: Post Your Activities & Outputs, Comment on the Activities & Outputs of Others, Revise Your Activities & Outputs

Schedule: Module 4 – Requirements (from approximately November 16th to 18th, 2021)

November 16th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Assumptions & Inputs. Times: 12 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 17th, 2021: Post Your Assumptions, Comment on the Assumptions of Others, Revise Your Assumptions

November 18th, 2021: Post Your Inputs, Comment on the Inputs of Others, Revise Your Inputs

Schedule: Module 5 – Logic Model (from approximately November 19th to 21st, 2021)

November 19th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Logic Models. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 20th, 2021: Post Complete Theory of Change & Logic Model, Comment on the Logic Model of Others, Revise Your Logic Model

November 21st, 2021: Live Session(s) – Final Review. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

New Church Ministry is a collaborator on this event.

$50 Amount is in Canadian Dollars

EDGE: A Network for Ministry Development

1-800-268-3781 x4157

https://edge-ucc.ca/contact/

Engage with love and justice

November 6, 2021 @ 6:30 pm 7:30 pm EDT

Join us for the Love and Justice Gathering this November!

Celebrate and ENGAGE Love and Justice Ministries of The United Church of Canada

The Church in Mission Unit invites you to celebrate and learn with us about the many love and justice ministries of our church. From November 3-7, the unit is hosting ENGAGE! an online love and justice gathering. Join us to worship, build community, and learn together. Throughout this five-day online event we will:

Engage deep spirituality

Engage daring justice

Engage courageous community

Engage bold discipleship

Engage hope

This will be an online event, and once you register, you’ll receive information about how to easily access our gathering. Tickets are free! We encourage you to make a donation if you are able.

We can’t wait to celebrate and recognize all that we do together as The United Church of Canada!

On day 4, Saturday, November 6, Pastor Terrell L McTyer will be exploring Bold Discipleship and asking such questions as, why is discipleship important and what is at stake? What could the future look like if we are bold disciples and engage in bold discipleship?

Contact edge@united-church.ca for further information and keep an eye on this page for future updates

*This event supports vaccine equity. COVID won’t be over until it’s over for all of us—and you can help that happen. Make a donation to bring much-needed support for people battling COVID in the global South.

EDGE: A Network for Ministry Development

1-800-268-3781 x4157

https://edge-ucc.ca/contact/