By Danielle Tumminio Hanson, September 22, 2020, Christian Century.
When everyone is traumatized, caregiving takes on new dimensions.
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?
Knowing how stress works in the brain can help faith leaders minister more effectively during our current collective crises. If they are aware that their people are likely to have difficulty concentrating during stress, then they might craft a simpler sermon and deliver it more slowly to help people process what is being said. They might try to keep meeting agendas short. They might allow more space in individual conversations, with longer silences to allow thought processes to unfold.