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Building the Movement Session 4: Transformative Justice & Faith-Based Communities



Host Organizations: CTIPP, PACEs Connection, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC)

Moderators & Speakers:

  • 4:02: Introduction; 7:21: NPSC Overview; 17:08: Review of Agenda: Dr. Diana (Denni) Fishbein, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

  • 19:47: Dan Press, Legal Counsel, CTIPP

  • 22:20: Jesse Kohler, Executive Director, CTIPP


Share Your Story Speaker:

  • 3:43:24: Michelle Stiffler, Trauma Informed Care Coordinator, Hope Women's Center


Panel:

  • 23:41: Quinn Pellerito, WOAR - Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence, LGTBQ+ Education Specialist

  • 24:01: May Booth, Mazzoni Center, Education Specialist

  • 24:45: Joey Brodsky, WOAR - Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence, Healthy Masculinity Initiative Coordinator

  • 2:03:43: Rev. Sanghoon Yoo, The Faithful City (TFC), Founder

  • 2:20:18: Dr. Farha Abbasi, Michigan State University

  • 2:38:59: Pastor Darrell Armstrong, Chief Administrative Officer to the United Nations by the Baptist World Alliance

  • 2:57:00: Pastor David Lockridge, ACE Overcomers, Founder and Director

  • 3:16:38: Fr. Paul Abernathy, The Neighborhood Resilience Project, CEO


Speakers:

23:41: Quinn Pellerito, WOAR - Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence

25:30: The goal of our training today is to better understand how to support people who have experienced sexual violence through offering a variety of options. We want to be clear when representing transformative justice that this is one community based alternative to justice. Each survivor can decide for themselves if it is the best route for them to address healing after sexual violence.

24:01: May Booth, Mazzoni Center, Education Specialist

26:53: This information might be pretty different from what you all have learned about justice and how to deal with justice after harm happens, and we just want you to be curious - so cultivate some curiosity.

28:06: Quinn reads the definition of "Transformative Justice"

28:45: May reads the Transformative Justice Principles


With Transformative Justice, there are going to be three principles that are going to be informing how we think about it in this presentation.

This process is meant to be healing and support survivors and the person who created harm and make sure all folks are healing.

This response is meant to de-escalate, not increase violence or cause more harm. TJ practitioners are supposed to do everything they can to avoid harmful power dynamics and oppressive norms.

This is going to be a process that happens outside of what we traditionally think of when we deal with justice - it's not going to involve police, prisons, or criminal/legal system, etc. Although if the survivor does end up wanting to use one of those processes, we respect the survivor's wishes and their need to engage in that.

29:55: Real-time TJ Process: What happens if folks act outside of community guidelines?

35:53: With Transformative Justice, one of the beliefs is that we don't completely isolate someone who has caused harm because if they are totally isolated, there's no one to continue to help them stay accountable.

36:17: Quinn displays and discusses A Map of Transformative Justice

36:23: It's a big umbrella term and can mean so many different things for different people. It has three main arms or components to it.

38:56: What does justice mean to you? Activity

43:13: "Justice" is a really expansive term that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There's not one path towards justice or one way to find justice. That's why it's really important to ask people who have experienced harm what "justice" means to them and how you can support them in finding justice that they find appropriate.

42:58: Punitive Justice - That's the type of justice most of us are accustomed to in this society. When we think of justice, we think of someone as deemed as "bad" and going to prison as they caused harm and having a consequence as a result of their behavior.

43:22: Spiritual Justice: That can be an example of someone believing in a higher power and that higher power will take care of the injustice that happened to them and the higher power will right the wrongs that has happened. Another example is someone using spiritual justice as a way to process the information and cope with what happened.

43:52: Restorative Justice - The idea behind Restorative Justice is a person had something taken away from them or experienced harm and what can we do to restore that relationship or to restore that person's ability to feel safe or restore that person's ability to rejoin the community that they don't feel safe in. It's really about bringing things back to the way it was before the harm happened.

44:38: Transformative Justice - Transformative Justice takes the restorative components and takes it one step further. Transformative Justice says instead of just restoring things back to the way it was before the harm, we need to transform our conditions that caused the harm so that the harm can't happen again. If we bring it back to what it was before, we've repaired a lot and restored a lot, but it can still happen again because we haven't really changed anything. Transformative Justice is about how can we transform the material conditions that enabled harm to occur from occurring again.

45:38: May discusses community based approach to sexual violence

47:24: That's kind of the first branch of transformative justice - supporting survivors, supporting those who have experienced harm.

47:39: What do we think survivors want and need generally? Activity

49:24: I think when you're working with somebody on changing their behavior, it always takes a process. It's unrealistic to expect somebody who has caused full-scale harm to be able to wake up the next morning and have no capacity to every do that again just because you told them not to do it. It is a long process working with the person on unlearning behaviors, recognizing triggers, figuring out how and why the harm happened and how can we replace those unhealthy behaviors with healthier ones. Until you've reached the conclusion of closing out a transformative justice process, the whole time, it's harm reduction because you're trying to reduce that person's capacity to harm every time you interact with them.

50:30: If those of us who worked in trauma-related fields thought about this work as harm reduction rather than something that makes you perfectly not harmful anymore, we would also see a reduction in the harm that takes place within social justice spaces. Recognizing that we can have al this knowledge and do our best and there is still a capacity to do harm sometimes - how can we reduce that and hold ourself accountable.

51:18: Quinn and May discuss National Data from Victims of Crime Graphics

We should be asking survivors what they want in a process instead of just immediately assuming folks should be punished.

52:10: Quinn discusses graphic on sexual assaults and perpetrators

53:03: Sexual Violence Response Self Reflection Activity

55:15: May discusses BEST Method

57:33: A really important thing to remember is you have to be able to take care of yourself.

Quinn discusses making a social network of support graphic

59:55: Feeling less alone is huge and reduces the amount of shame and stigma and amount of trauma a person internalizes after experiencing harm. It also helps for you as a support person to realize "I'm not the only person doing this."

1:00:48: The more resilient our social networks are, the more resilient we are and the more effective helpers we can be.

1:03:58: What does accountability mean to you? Activity

1:06:16: One of the best and worst qualities of the TJ process is that it's consensual - we can't force people to be accountable and when you try to force the accountability process on someone who doesn't want to be accountable, they just do fake accountability and it's not genuine. We don't want force them to make fake/not genuine accountability. But what is does mean is that it has to be their choice.

1:07:08: A lot of times when people cause harm, they are not knowing how to relate to people in healthy ways and are really isolated and alone…Sometimes you can get people who genuinely want to take accountability and do the accountability process. Other times, you can't. Sometimes people are really stubborn and not great and don't want to do it and that is a huge limitation of TJ.

1:08:06: Joey Brodsky, WOAR - Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence, Healthy Masculinity Initiative Coordinator


It can be really helpful if someone is interested in the TJ process or if someone in the community asks them what does justice or healing look like for you even if the person refuses to take accountability for their action. What can you still do to at least take steps towards that healing, towards that justice.

1:09:59: We don't often enter into causing harm the first time by doing something harmful. It is often when folks have experienced harm. What sort of support do those folks need to do that healing and maybe that can be a starting point for getting them to understand the impact of their behaviors.

1:10:19: TJ helps us step away from moralizing one person in a situation as good or bad and helping us consider how do we support everyone to get the care that they need and move forward from what has happened.

1:13:05: Quinn discusses points on Individual Accountability

The average TJ process takes anywhere from six months to two years, with the average being a year-and-a-half or a little over a year.

1:15:48: May and Quinn discuss Qualities of a Transformative Justice accountability process

1:21:53: Quinn discusses the difference between TJ and Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is more about repairing the harm that was done back to the way it was…Transformative Justice is changing into something completely different. There's also difference in the history of the roots of these things. Transformative Justice was founded by people in street-based economies that weren't able to access the regular criminal legal system and didn't find state support to be helpful and they ended up creating their own way to address harm and justice in their communities, whereas Restorative Justice is sometimes done within systems and has been adopted by the criminal legal system.

1:22:59: Sometimes institutions think they're creating a Transformative Justice process, but ends up being restorative because of the nature of being institutionalized.

1:23:54: People who have caused harm also need support in changing their behavior. I think it's easier to give support to people who have experienced harm because that is something we all rush to do and is very intuitive…I think it's less intuitive to figure out a support network for a person who has caused harm. I think this type of support looks very different from survivor support. This type of support is talking about that person's behavior, talking about when they felt angry, talking about how to manage emotions, talking about what they learned as a child.

1:25:04: May and Quinn discuss Community Accountability

1:27:42: Smaller scale harm leads to bigger scale harm and builds on top of itself. If we can prevent harm, in a preventionist standpoint, before it escalates, then we can do that together.

1:29:57: Transformative justice work is messy…give yourself permission to make mistakes and be messy because it won't go smoothly, it never does, and it's hard work.

1:30:34: Quinn and May discuss graphic on When to Apply Transformative Justice

1:33:34: Quinn discusses Road Map to accountability process graphic

1:34:27: Quinn discusses Creative Interventionists Toolkit

1:39:08: What is Transformative Justice Video

1:45:15: May discusses Further Learning Resources

1:48:37: Q&A

1:50:22: Often, mandated reporting is very challenging and any state involvement is challenging for TJ processes and in conflict with each other.

1:52:03: Jesse Kohler, Executive Director, CTIPP

As we continue to advocate in communities and build community coalitions, the Press On Model, this coalition of coalitions, while we do the advocacy work to change systems, it's also important we do the justice and healing work that was spelled out in this presentation and really provide support for survivors, for people who continue to experience different levels of abuse, neglect, dysfunction that we see in our society as we work toward transformation.

1:58:29: The importance of faith-based communities in the work for communities, the trust that people have in their faith-based communities and in the faith itself, is so critical.

2:02:37: The advocacy work that goes into faith-based communities as well as the political process and other community work we are engaged in promotes healing itself. Using your own lived experiences to try and make other people's lives better as well is so important. We invite people to advocate, we invite people to get involved in their communities.

2:06:22: Rev. Sanghoon Yoo discusses his background and experiences

2:10:49: With this trauma-informed care movement, we want to bring back the therapy relationship. According to research, therapist relationship, healing relationship is very important. In other words, it's not just about the technique or skillset, who does this is very important. So for us, we are not only about the trauma-informed care, but we want to see trauma transform care…We want to change ourselves first to provide trauma-informed care.

2:12:10: We have to understand that who we are, what we do is very, very important.

2:12:31: Rev. Sanghoon Yoo discusses 12 Sectors of Engagement graphics

2:14:19: The faith community has so many people coming together…if you go to church you have everyone. We can really reach out easily in all of the sectors inside the faith community.

2:14:53: The problem is many times, you just stop with the short-term support. We want to see who can provide the long-term support in relationships

2:15:44: In addition, the faith community has a lot of heritage already trauma-informed care scientists are talking about: resiliency, identity, affirmation, mindfulness, post-traumatic growth, meaning creation.

2:16:11: Faith leaders have space in this movement - we can be part of it. So there is a lot of intersectionality - we can really come together and work together.

2:16:21: Rev. Sanghoon Yoo discusses How to Connect to Faith Community graphic

First of all, we need to go to the faith community and ask them how I can serve you. I want to hear from you. That's very, very important because trust is most important when you work with the faith community.

2:17:34: When we try to collaborate together, we need to understand that we have to come together to serve, to hear, to listen, to respect each other. I know a lot about the resistance from the faith community too or even science. That's why we are here to bridge the gap between the faith and other sectors how we can work together.

2:18:00: Rev. Sanghoon Yoo discusses TFC Trauma Informed Community Journey

2:20:18: Dr. Farha Abbasi, Michigan State University

2:20:38: When we talk about faith, resiliency, and then mental health, it seems we are in two different realms, but really, what I found is that they are the two sides of one coin.

2:21:51: What I realized that be it depression, anxiety, trauma, or any stressors in life, the innate feeling that one gets is of helplessness. In fact, the physiology of depression talks about learned helplessness - that you start to perceive yourself to be alone, and this is what happens when you have experienced something very traumatic: loss of loved ones, abuse, violence.

2:22:28: Another thing I have realized with family dynamics, what happens is that you always…your anger, frustration, your effort to make sense of it, you always turn on the person that is trying to help you - the parent that is there for you, or a sibling. You get very frustrated, you get very angry at them. I think that's what happens - that our relationship with God is very defined by that. We do get very disillusioned…

2:24:00: What I realized was that as I started looking at my holy book and my practices, I realized how central your mental health is to your wellbeing. Unfortunately with the stigma around mental illnesses, we kind of siloed it.

2:24:22: In Islam, and I know you guys must have heard the buzzword "sharia", and you think it's a political agenda or people trying to take over the world, but literally, the law of Sharia is the basic tenets of Islam. And what does it talk about? It's something very basic - preservation of life. How to put importance on your life. Preservation of your family, preservation of your children. So how family, children, property, everything…but what's the central law? Preservation of your intellect.

2:25:06: So it's very interesting that you can be born in a Muslim family and can be considered a Muslim, but for you to be in faith and be a practicing Muslim, you have to be very competent. You have to know, understand it first, then say it,…believe it, then practice on it, act on it. Until all of this is together, you are not a practicing Muslim.

2:26:20: I realized every practice of Islam is seeped in wellness, welfare, and then very encouraged to bring it back within the community because we know that healing does not happen in isolation. Healing happens in community. So it starts with an individual's wellness, hoping that that wellness means being your best mentally and being your best physically. A well individual will have well relationships, hopefully can be translated into families, healthy communities, and then healthy society. Every at of wellness that you do towards yourself is for resilience. Every act of wellness that you are extending to anyone else around you becomes welfare as well.

2:29:57:…with every hardship is the ease. What appears hard and traumatic, the solution, the ease, is built right into it. You are being encouraged that, look, once you persevere, put your faith, continue to believe, then the solution is also right there.

2:31:02: …people are not bad. Behaviors can be bad or good or how you are reacting to something. That's what the essence of trauma-informed care is, right? Never to say 'what is wrong with you?', but 'what wrong happened to you?' As long as you continue to focus on the behavior, that there is room for people to work on it, to improve, the find answers, to find guidance, but if you come in judgmental, that you are good, you are bad, you are going to heaven, you are going to hell, then you are shutting down that door for resilience, to rejuvenate, or to reclaim your spirituality.

2:32:28: Our role as faith leaders or as physicians or any point, our role is not to judge. Our role is not to say 'you are good', 'you are bad', and I think that's where the role of trauma-informed congregation comes in. We need that reminder constantly that we are not here to judge. We are not here to decide who is good or bad. We are here to say, 'hey, how can we bridge this, how can we make it easier to reach the ultimate goal?'

2:35:37: Also what we realized is that the infrastructure,…our faith leader is called 'imam'. We realized there was no infrastructure available for the supports, so these imams become your first responders to mental health crisis, they become first responders if there is a political crisis in the community, if your congregations are under surveillance. Just imagine the pressure right now there is to be a Muslim faith leader. So what is happening with their own trauma? How are they dealing with their own mental health?

2:36:28: But to me, the trauma healing starts with communication, will start with community conversations, will start with supportive communities, and that's where this work has become so very important.

2:36:52: When you are traumatized or having crises like depression or anxiety, you can have delusions that then sound very religious in nature because what we see is when people from faith community, when they break away from reality, their delusions can be very religious…that is another area: where is it spiritual crisis and where it is mental illnesses.

2:37:39: I think it is imperative that we continue to identify mental health providers and faith leaders as equal stakeholders in the wellness and resilience of the community.

2:38:59: Pastor Darrell Armstrong, Chief Administrative Officer to the United Nations by the Baptist World Alliance

2:39:49: We're all talking about trauma today and the importance of trying to promote trauma and houses of worship and faith leaders, and so, a lot of what I do is working with national organizations, such as Prevent Child Abuse America or the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, or the National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment, on how to engage faith partners in the work. Often, we talk the same substance, but we use different language.

2:42:25: And that's what I'm trying to work and bridge that language barrier between faith leaders who do work, tremendous work, we know that, and, our social service agencies who may not understand the language of faith, religion, and spirituality, but are doing good work, and faith leaders may not understand the language of social service agencies who are doing good work. So, the language barrier has to be bridged, and I'm hoping part of what you're doing is building folks who can bridge barriers and get folks out of their silos.

2:42:18: Different ones of us on this panel are doing that in our own way, trying to really get to a main point, which is, "What affects parenting?" In a survey that was done by Zero to Three in…2014, so it's a bit dated, but the point is still the same. When parents were asked what affects their parenting, this is the responses they gave. The biggest impact on my parenting, the major influence on my parenting, is number one, the way I was raised. I think that's embedded in the ACEs research - what happened to me and what I saw in my household affects me, adversely or positively.

2:43:06: But look at the second biggest influence on parenting - faith and religious background…No matter what the category, the second biggest influence on parenting is my religion. And we often see this in the misquote of "spare the rod, spoil the child". Not a biblical statement at all…We see again how a Bible verse can be taken out of context. And so, good or bad, faith and religion and spirituality influences how parents parent.

2:44:32: We cannot ignore faith leaders, spiritual leaders, houses of worship, denominations, interfaith and multifaith bodies - we have to engage them, and for social service agencies not to engage faith leaders is actually being irresponsible in my estimation. But also on the same token, faith leaders not to engage social services that are provided to them by sister agencies, they too are being irresponsible. So how do we get rid of irresponsibility? It takes education and engagement.

2:45:23: Every house of worship that I know of, in the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox tradition, and really any faith tradition, has some outreach to men, women, and children, and married couples in their house of worship, be it a synagogue, mosque, temple, church, you name it. Use those ministry outlets to bring folk in to partner with you, such as maternal and child health or paternal and child health organizations. So a fatherhood program can be a great connection to your men's ministry. A maternal and child health program can be a great connection to women's ministry.

2:46:12: We can use the resources that are evidence-based in our ministries to enhance what we do in our house of worship. Also, every April, May, October, November, use those months, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Foster Care Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Adoption Awareness Month, as a tool to engage in sermons and Bible studies and bring agencies and partners in.

2:47:25: What I wanted to do was employ my own personal experiences with my faith leaders, and my own context to see how they influenced me.

2:48:18: That led me to create something called Congregational Home Visiting - a growing, promising, faith-based practice of partnering and using the practice of home visiting to connect faith leaders with early childhood development.

2:49:39: Since you have that authority and window of opportunity, seize it and use it as a tool or window to provide information about baby ages and stages of development.

2:50:47: We have another level of engagement with that family while they sit in our pews. We're not trying to displace, we're trying to partner.

2:50:58: Eighty percent of a child's brain is going to grow between birth and five, which is why it's so important to minimize adversity in early childhood. So shaken baby syndrome and sleep practices and other understandings of engagement with children is so very important during this stage.

2:54:28: So we talk about being trauma-informed, it's not just the science, it's the practice.

2:57:00: Pastor David Lockridge, ACE Overcomers, Founder and Director

2:57:11: Trauma is an equal opportunity offender. It doesn't matter what the sign is outside your house of worship - trauma is and equal opportunity offender and we are here to fight trauma, we're not here to fight each other.

2:57:30: Pastor Lockridge discusses his background

3:03:25: Pastor Lockridge discusses ACE Overcomers history and current work

3:09:05: So how do we become a trauma-informed church? It begins with the leadership becoming trauma-informed.

3:10:36: Trauma-informed delivery of care begins at the top of the congregation and works its way down. We need to make sure that our faith leaders at the early part of their education, they need to become trauma-informed.

3:11:18: Pastor Lockridge reads points on A Trauma-Informed Church

3:12:43: A trauma-informed congregation needs to respond with love and compassion.

3:14:08: Trauma is healed through relationships. Every speaker today has had that same theme that trauma is healed through relationships, social learning, and co-regulating with others.

3:16:38: Fr. Paul Abernathy, The Neighborhood Resilience Project, CEO

3:17:23: With the Neighborhood Resilience Project, our work is to help support the transformation of neighborhoods from trauma-affected communities. We describe that as communities that have been inundated with trauma, communities where not everybody who necessarily has lost a son to gun violence, but everybody knows someone who has, a community where not everybody has been evicted but knows someone who has, a community where not everyone has been incarcerated, but everyone knows someone who has. This is what we mean by trauma-affected community, where there is a disproportionate experience of trauma that is quite often historical and complex in nature. How we go trauma-affected community to what we call a resilient, healing, and healthy community. For us, trauma-informed community development is the pathway by which we do this.

3:19:46: For generations, it has been houses of faith who have been ministering to the brokenhearted in the most profound and extraordinary ways.

3:21:21: It was really powerful to understand even in the COVID-19 pandemic that there was a certain way of categorizing pastoral response to crisis as being, let's say, not necessary. As not being included in those first responders that had to be among the dying in the course of the pandemic. This was a great change for us. In generations past, we would understand that there is absolutely the importance for spiritual leaders to be present in the midst of a crisis, certainly being safe, certainly taking into account the science of the virus, and to understand there is a role to be present in the crisis.

3:22:06: We see that this kind of thinking has heavily impacted, has heavily influenced the way that sometimes we implement and speak about trauma-informed initiatives in our communities.

3:22:18: Fr. Abernathy discusses four historical figures: Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass

They were men and women of extraordinary of faith. They were men and women who cultivated these significant spiritual lives.

3:25:45: Fr. Abernathy discusses a reflection on Anthropology

We see that in the Western world, this anthropology, how we understand human existence, is really mind and body.

But this is different that some other anthropology, where the understanding is mind, body, and spirit.

We often see, for example, in African anthropology, it is mind, body, and spirit, not just mind and body. We should also know that "mind" here in this context is understood in the context of the soul.

In some cultures and societies around the world, there still continues to be this understanding that there is this spiritual quality to the mind.

3:29:24: Fr. Abernathy discusses Ratonia Runnels 2011 study

3:31:06: There is an opportunity where we must help faith leaders and faith communities learn and embrace these trauma-informed principles that are very synergetic with their faith traditions. And yet it is also just as important to understand that the trauma-informed movement must seek also to be impacted by these faith communities.

3:33:20: This is the legacy we have inherited by the faith of our ancestors. There is deep wisdom. There is profound perseverance. There is extraordinary resilience. Don't only come to impact these faith communities. We must come and open our hearts to the people that have lived through extraordinary suffering, who have by faith, overcome, by faith, loved, by faith, blessed, by faith, found joy in their suffering.

3:34:39: Q&A/Discussion moderated by Rev. Sanghoon Yoo and Jesse Kohler

3:42:28: Rev. Sanghoon Yoo

Rev. Sanghoon Yoo introduces Share Your Story Speaker, Michelle Stiffler, Trauma Informed Care Coordinator, Hope Women's Center

3:43:24: Michelle Stiffler, Trauma Informed Care Coordinator, Hope Women's Center

We're a multi-site, faith-based crisis center for women, most of whom are in poverty, many are in abuse or coming out of abuse, and that's the population we serve.

3:43:52: When Sanghoon came to train the volunteers and staff, I was not yet on staff, I had been volunteering with Hope for about four years, and everything that he was saying made sense to me. It was almost as if he was giving us language for the culture we had created inside of our centers.

3:44:13: I grew up in a faith community. I love the language of faith, but I think that it's very easy to get disconnected from the words "love," or "grace," or "mercy," "unconditional love" even. We just kind of lose the sense of what that would actually mean and what it means to give it freely. So, the trauma-informed language helped us have a second way, I think. We had our faith language, and now we have our trauma-informed language, which helps us when we bring on volunteers and helps us when we bring on new staff because we know exactly how to describe the culture that we keep within.

3:44:54: I'm also the grant writer and the communication coordinator at Hope. So that means I actually spend probably more of my time telling stories of our women, their fantastic transformation stories of change, of a woman coming to our center, needing something, and us being able to provide that for her and then the change that has come as a result of that.

3:45:19: What I'm also careful to convey in each of those stories is that every story, every woman, it all started with an experience. She needed help, she came to our center, and unexpectedly, she experienced belonging. She experienced safety and peace, and because of that, she continued to come back. She continued to get healthy and ask for help in other areas of her life and she's living a completely different story as a result.

3:45:53: I'd say hands down the top three characteristics that our women attribute to Hope Women's Center is they say it's their safe place, which we love to hear, they said that Hope is their family, which some of these women have had to break away from family or leave family behind and are estranged from family members so that's important, and inevitably say it's the place they know no matter what's going on in my life, no matter what choices I'm currently making or behaviors, I know that I am loved…I believe those are the very essence of a faith community.

3:46:33: I believe faith communities are equipped to be healing places. In society, we measure success and importance and productivity - those are very inaccurate measures. I think doing things that matter - extending gentleness, patience, peace, exposing our honesty, listening, feeling comfortable with acknowledging our own limits, none of those are very glamorous endeavors. They don't track popular opinion, but living by faith and remaining steady in uncertainty, extending mercy and unconditional love, and having the courage and humility to give these things, will always produce more positive change than we can ever fathom.

3:47:27: Part of my personal story is that I grew up a pastor's kid, I was the oldest of three girls. When I was 17, I ended up getting pregnant and it was no secret that many pastors had been asked to leave churches if they had a pregnant child. I remember when I went to the church, it was me and my dad…, I told him what was going on, and I remember just watching the church. We were waiting to find out if my dad still had a job, and it was one little woman in the church, we were in central Florida, so it was a lot of retired people. She got up out of her seat and she came down the center aisle and she hugged my dad, and she hugged me, and she hugged my mom and my sisters. It trickled. It became everybody in the church doing that.

3:48:24: So when I think about…it's messy, it's risky to be trauma-informed, to be people of faith to allow things in that we're not really sure how to handle that. There's such great risk when we don't approach people with a trauma-informed lens. There's such great risk when we don't extend love readily to people who are hurting. I know it would have changed my life and made my story completely different if that had not been my experience.

3:49:07: As a faith-based organization and trauma-informed care organization, we have the opportunity to work with, like Sanghoon said, we get to work with churches - they trust us. They know that we're comfortable in the cracks of society, we're comfortable with people who are suffering.

3:49:50: We're also allowed to work side-by-side with government agencies, local and county offices, and other service organizations. So even though we have that faith-based distinction, the trauma-informed distinction just kind of broadens our ability to work with the community.

3:51:13: Whenever we're talking about helping people, it's always long-game work. In whatever community you're in, this is something you need to accept. You're going to be looking everyday for little sparks, little embers, little glimmers that you know that somebody is on a journey and that change is coming, it just hasn't come yet. There's always little evidences of that. Those are the burst that will keep you going and keep you diligent in the grounding disciplines that grow your hope and faith relationship on a daily basis.

3:51:54: Diligence is the training ground. We may feel small, we may feel like what we're doing is small or we may feel massively ill-equipped, but our consistent practice in faith is where we know God is at work.


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