As a social work professional, I was involved in the trauma field twenty years ago. But I became a charismatic nondenominational church pastor, starting a college campus prayer movement. With my cultural heritage and training at an evangelical seminary, the focus of my ministry has been intercession, multi-ethnic discipleship and servant leadership. However, the development of community service involvement with the ministry brought me back to the engagement in my previous professional field. The decisive momentum came to my ministry path when I met Kimberly Konkel in D.C. a couple of years ago. Since then, the ironic circle of life compelled me to be a part of trauma informed congregation movement to work in the trauma field as a faith community leader.
I love the aspect of social movement with this trauma informed congregation initiative. With my ministry, The Faithful City, four things have been developed recently in Arizona. First, I launched AZTIFC (Arizona Trauma Informed Faith Community) network that runs monthly meetings to facilitate the movement in the faith community. It also aims a broader level collaboration working with other professionals in the community. For example, many members now participate in AZ ACE Consortium with Marcia Stanton who has accomplished phenomenal developments last ten years for the trauma informed community building.
Secondly, "Paper Tigers" movie screening was held at Arizona State University (ASU) in the collaboration with CORA (Council of Religious Advisors at ASU), other departments and community organizations in April. It was the first step of the movement at the college campus to raise community awareness on the trauma informed care and community building. This event was highlighted by the panel discussion series, consisting of various experts, survivors and professionals. With the establishing a milestone of community collaboration at ASU, another movie screening of "Resilience" is planned in the fall semester.
Thirdly, I did the first 'Trauma Informed Congregation Training' conference in May. The first time introductory half-day training drew many positive attention and feedback, leaving a lesson that there's too much information for the half-day period. The first part of training consisted of information on ACE study, neuroscience development and trauma informed care. Afterwards I brought a theological justification and implication of trauma informed care and congregation building. The biblical stories, practical ministry examples and testimonies were introduced and discussed. The sequel training opportunity will come up soon to complete this introductory training with more of specific principles and skills.
Finally, there was a 'Trauma Informed Worship' night last Sunday at Ten40 Church in Tempe. Working with Pastor Dave Beach and Pastor Shawn Banzhaf, we prepared a worship gathering with praise, message, prayer and the communion service. This was our first experimental effort as passionate pastors for the movement that God brought to us with theological, spiritual and congregational fellowship. We believe our God desires a trauma informed congregation where the survivors would not be condemned but redeemed and healed. We pray for the church authorities, trauma survivors, healing, reconciliation, the actualization of Christ righteousness and social justice. We will continue this worship effort, recognizing it as our one of the core missions in this broken world.
I am so grateful for these initiatives of trauma informed congregation movement with The Faithful City ministry, which have been developed in a very short time period with tremendous responses from the community. This assures me that God is the leader in this mission and there is a humongous need of building resilient communities with the trauma informed care in every sector of the society. I am actually overwhelmed everyday as I am facing that desperate need of care, training and collaboration from each person I meet in the community. But also I am so blessed and excited for this movement everyday as it opens a door of mutual understanding, divine encouragement, and excellent collaboration opportunities with amazing and deeply dedicated colleagues in the community.