Four ways faith leaders can shift to trauma-informed ministry
Courtesy: Christian Century

These days, we live in an environment of widespread individual and collective trauma. The pandemic wears on, causing heightened anxiety about who is safe, where it is safe, and which air is safe to breathe. High unemployment and economic worries continue. Racial injustice persists. The killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others serves as a haunting reminder that safety has always been tenuous for those made vulnerable by systemic oppression.

Americans are experiencing a disruption in their fundamental sense of safety and questioning the assumptions they previously held. What can faith leaders do to support resilience in the people and communities they serve?

Upcoming Events
Symposium on Trauma: Mass Incarceration

This is part of a planned series from McCormick Theological Seminary and the Presbytery of Chicago, which offers continuing education to local pastors, lay persons and community leaders who desire support in their work to respond to trauma in the Chicagoland area.
Support Teams and Mental Health Care
Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

During COVID-19, mental health needs have skyrocketed and our volunteers are not always comfortable and trained in addressing them. In this workshop, we will:

  • Look at how to equip our volunteers and help them to be comfortable in addressing mental health issues with those they care for.

  • Learn about different mental health challenges, and how to train our volunteers to use active listening skills, maintain good boundaries and when and how to make a referral to a mental health professional.

Participants will walk away with practical tips and ideas for how their teams can best serve those within the community who are experiencing mental health issues.

What’s Next for Juvenile Justice Reform?
Sponsored by City Wide Restorative Justice Committee

Featured Speakers: Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton and Elizabeth Clarke, president and founder, Juvenile Justice Initiative. The meeting also will include:

  • restorative justice practitioners from across the city, county and state who will share updates on juvenile justice reform
  • time for general sharing of updates
  • small group breakout rooms for checking in and sharing strategies.

The meeting is hosted by the City Wide Restorative Justice Committee, which includes the Resource Section of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Co-Regulation: Respecting the Power of Our Breath
Sponsored by National Lewis University

Breathing is life and it needs our attention and respect. Our breath, in partnership with our nervous system and bones, dynamically adapts to support us and helps keep us safe in any situations in life.

We need to ease and breathe so we can stay present whether we are hosting courageous conversations or managing our workload or studies during these times when stress, anxiety and depression levels are high.

Teresa Posakony, of Emerging Wisdom, will share the empowering practices of co-regulation and the science behind it. Teresa's work has focused on creating self-healing and resilient communities for over 15 years. Learn simple alignment practices that will help your nervous system and body to enter a restorative state.

The webinar series continues from 9:00-10:30 a.m.:

  • Oct. 9: Calm in Connection
  • Oct. 16: Coming Out of the Panic Zone

For More information contact: Jacqueline Samuel at or 312. 261.3155.
Faith as a Social Determinant of Health
Oct. 5, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals will present this webinar that addresses how social determinants impact health and health outcomes. The webinar will:

  • describe how one's own faith and individually lived experiences mightinfluence one's perception of social determinants of health
  • outline potential strategies for integrating a social determinant of health perspective into health ministry.

To register, email Madelyn Humbert at or Janet Banks-McElrath at
Virtual Trauma-Informed Symposium Series
Sponsored by South Chicago Neighborhood Network

Through a series of workshops, we will explore systemic trauma, learn about mental health and emotional well-being, explore the impact of social media on community violence and create an action plan on how to address social justice. We will end this series with a community panel to look at trauma from a different lens and celebrate with a healing circle of different artist performances.
Grief Support Group
Tuesdays, from Oct. 6-Jan. 12, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest

GriefShare is a special weekly seminar and support group designed to help you rebuild your life after losing a loved one. Our group is led by caring people who have experienced grief and want to help you through the difficult days ahead.

To register, call 708-366-6900 or email
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

Advocate Health Care and Sertoma Centre will offer this free training via Zoom. Participants will learn:

  • risk factors and warning signs of mental health challenges common among youth and adolescents.
  • a five-step action plan to help youth and adolescents developing a mental health problem or crisis
  • information for youth, adolescents and their families on the local supports available in their community 
All participants receive a three-year certificate and a Mental Health First Aid manual. Email Questions:

Oct. 27-30

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to long-standing problems in our healthcare system which keep the most vulnerable among us from receiving high-quality care. The 2020 Coalition to Transform Advanced Care Summit will offer leaders and advocates the chance to connect and share best practices that they can bring back to their own communities. The Summit will tackle pressing issues in serious illness care through the lens of health equity. Sessions include:

  • building community with caring and practical engagement,
  • recognizing and supporting the needs of diverse family caregivers,
  • tackling inequity in health through community health worker engagement,
  • faith leaders partnering to support caregivers.
Prayer Support Line
Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

The Prayer Support Line allows us to come together in unity to release our burdens, receive comfort and express our gratitude to God for holding us close during this pandemic. The Prayer Support Line is a place where we can join with others in prayer for health, healing and spiritual care with the expectation that God will meet us and provide us with encouragement.
What's Next? A Resiliency Program
Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

The dictionary defines resilience as the ability of something to return to its original size and shape after being bent, compressed or stretched. Resilience also means the ability to recover after experiencing illness, depression, trauma or other adversity.

Join us for “What’s Next?” - a weekly resilience program that uses evidence-based scientific studies, combined with encouragement from faith-based resources, to enlighten us on this important topic.

Together, we will gain the tools to help us:
• build resilience amid the difficulties of life
• learn from our experiences
• use the knowledge we gain to nourish ourselves and the world around us.

Save the Date:
November 4 & 5, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Risking Connection in Faith Communities

Risking Connection in Faith Communities is a curriculum developed by the Sidran Institute to equip faith leaders (clergy and lay) to build trauma-responsive congregational environments. It is an adaptation of an evidence-based training for clinicians that uses the RICH approach (Respect, Information, Connection and Hope), a relational framework and methodology that is grounded in perspectives from multiple religious traditions.

Stay tuned. Registration information to come!
Putting on Their Oxygen Masks
Faith Leaders Take Time to Help Themselves to Better Help Others

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take hold across our nation, faith leaders have become overwhelmed by the increased demands of caring for their community during this crisis, they say. Oftentimes, caring for themselves takes a back seat to meeting the needs of those whom they serve.

Recognizing this, staff from Advocate Aurora Health Faith and Health Partnerships and Hartgrove Behavioral Health collaborated to create a six-week virtual support group for faith leaders. The first series took place this past summer.

“Faith leaders are on the frontline, supporting their communities,” said Amy McNicholas, faith and mental health specialist for Advocate Aurora Health. “The goal of the support group is to give clergy, chaplains, youth group workers and other faith leaders a safe space to connect, share and take a collective breath.”

THEN Center: Making Connections Between Trauma, Health Equity and Neurobiology
In the past thirty years, more than 100,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies have conclusively demonstrated the neurobiological connections between brain and body and the impact of trauma including the trauma of discrimination.

THEN Center - The Center for Collaborative Study of Trauma, Health Equity and Neurobiology - is an Educational Center of the Hektoen Institute of Medicine, Chicago, whose vision is to make connections between trauma, health equity and neurobiology.

THEN Center carries out its vision by:

  • Building a multidisciplinary community linking trainees, faculty and activists from the fields of trauma, equity-justice, neurobiology and system science.  

  • Offering free science education based on a thorough and balanced review of key research findings, as documented through a curated bibliography.

  • Inspiring the creation of an expanded medical model focused around neurophysiology and brain-body regulatory processes (sleep, emotional peace, supportive relationships, exercise, and more) with an emphasis on prevention. This approach is especially important for people with both complex physical disease and a history of complex emotional trauma.  

See a video that describes THEN Center’s vision for a new approach to medical science. 

Learn about THEN Center courses and other resources, including a six-part curriculum on trauma, health equity and neuroscience, by visiting

Download a flyer describing THEN’s journey since its founding in 2017.

Subscribe to THEN Center’s newsletter here.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time set aside to raise awareness of the facts and warning signs of domestic abuse and how to help someone experiencing abuse by a partner, family member or other person else close to them.

Feel free to share the bulletin insert and worship slide with your faith community:

"Reimagining Our Future with Children, Justice, and Joy"
The 29th Annual National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration takes place Oct. 16-18

The multi-faith Children’s Sabbath weekend engages places of worship across the country in focusing prayers, worship, education programs and action on learning more about the urgent problems facing our nation’s children. Faith communities do this in a variety of ways, such as:

  • exploring sacred texts and teachings that call us to love and protect children,
  • responding with outreach and advocacy,
  • inspiring new, year-round action to improve the lives of children.

Some Children’s Sabbath celebrations are community-wide, multi-faith gatherings. Others take place in individual places of worship.