Soul Repair Center Newsletter
Volume 2 Number 1
GLOBAL PRESENCE AT SOUL REPAIR’S FALL 2013 CONFERENCE
She came home so angry that she felt like she was carrying a huge ball of vomit in her body and no one would ever love her again. That is how Lisa Dunster described what it was like to come home from war and to return to being a mother and wife. A Gulf War veteran, Lisa was on the panel of veterans in October.
Approximately eighty people, including people from Scotland and Australia, attended the event in Fort Worth, which began on Thursday, October 10 with a dinner and keynote addresses by Brigadier Gen. (US Army Ret) Stephen Xenakis, who spoke on holistic care for veterans, and Dr. Kristen Leslie, Professor of Theology and Care at Eden Theological Seminary, who spoke on military sexual trauma. On Friday and Saturday, participants heard plenary addresses on moral injury, PTSD, forgiveness, and the challenges for women veterans. The conference also included workshops on topics that intersect with moral injury and recovery, such as PTSD, prison ministry, scriptural resources, supporting military families, the challenges facing female soldiers, spiritual direction, and storytelling.
Energizing conversations buzzed during coffee and meal breaks and in the hallways throughout the weekend. Participants discovered the implications of moral injury and recovery in a variety of contexts, from seminary classroom to local church, prison ministry to hospice care. The variety of plenary speakers and participant comments revealed many different perspectives and offered practical insights that participants will be able to use both personally and professionally.
CONSIDER SOUL REPAIR FOR YOUR YEAR-END GIVING
Your support will help us expand our work to meet the growing public interest in moral injury and the requests for help from the Center as we add events across the country throughout 2014. Donate online at www.brite.edu/soulrepair or by mailing a check to:
Brite Divinity School
Soul Repair Center
TCU Box 298130
Fort Worth, Texas 76129
BECOME A SOUL REPAIR MENTOR
Friends are essential for those recovering from moral injury. A Soul Repair Mentor can break the agony of isolation moral injury creates and offer support. If you have been through one of our training events, have discussed the mentorship program with our staff, and are willing to connect with veterans who are looking for a friend, you can become a mentor. If you are interested in this program, or if you would like more information about how you can become a Soul Repair Mentor, contact Coleman Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOUL REPAIR ORGANIZES A PANEL ON MORAL INJURY AT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION
At the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in Baltimore on November 24, 2013, Soul Repair staff, Rita Brock, Herman Keizer, Coleman Baker and chair of our National Advisory Board, Nancy Ramsay, joined Gabriella Lettini (Starr King School for the Ministry) ,Elizabeth Bounds (Emory University), and Sarah Shirley (Florida Air National Guard) on a panel that discussed possible research directions for the study of moral injury and recovery in religion, society, and culture. The intense interest and lively discussion of the sixty-eight scholars in attendance indicate that this is an area of interest for many members of the academy and we are hopeful that this will become a new program group, beginning at the next annual meeting in November 2014 in San Diego.
OUR ALL-STAR RESEARCH INITIATIVE
On January 31, 2014, the Center will welcome an all-star, diverse national group of pastoral theologians and counselors to Brite. Dr. Nancy Ramsay, Chair of our National Advisory Board and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care at Brite, recruited the team, which begins meeting this winter to discuss new resources in support of the Center’s work. She will be the group’s convener.
The interfaith team: Dr. Basheer Ahmed, Arlington, TX, is a native of India. A retired psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry, he is a leader in interfaith dialogue in the DFW area and serves on the Board of the Multi-Cultural Alliance. He has had extensive experience treating veterans of the Vietnam War as chief of Psychiatry at a Veterans Administration Hospital and in private practice. In 1995, he founded the Muslim Community Center for Human Services, a non-sectarian medical/social service organization assisting indigent residents in the Dallas Fort Worth area.
Dr. Dale P. Andrews, Nashville, TN, Distinguished Professor of Homiletics, Social Justice, and Practical Theology at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and has pastored several congregations. Author of several books, chapters, and articles, he is editor of works in Practical Theology and Homiletics. His current research lies in black practical theology and black prophetic preaching traditions.
Dr. Carrie Doehring, Denver, CO, a licensed psychologist and Associate Professor of Pastoral Care at Iliff School of Theology, directs a one-year post-MDiv Masters of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care for military chaplains. She is the author of a widely used text in preparing clergy and chaplains for ministries of pastoral care. Her work has included research with veterans coping with PTSD and trauma related moral injury. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she has extensive parish experience
Rabbi Kim Sara Geringer, Rabbi of Congregation Sha’arey Ha-Yam, in NJ where she lives, is a member of the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City teaching courses in pastoral care and counseling, family systems theory, and congregational studies as well as overseeing the fieldwork of rabbinical students. She is also a clinical social worker with expertise in trauma debriefing work and in that capacity, she has experience with survivors of trauma such as 9/11.
Dr. Larry Kent Graham, Denver, CO, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care at Iliff School of Theology, is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He also is a Diplomate in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and provides consultation to organizations and congregations. He has published extensively in the areas of pastoral theology and public theology. Currently he is studying the impact of war on the pastoral care of families.
Chaplain Shareda Hosein, Boston, MA, a Community Muslim Chaplain in association with the Islamic Society of the Boston Cultural Center, holds a degree in Islamic Studies Christian Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary. A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves with 34 years of military service, she serves as a Cultural Engagement Officer, using her chaplaincy skills to educate other military colleagues in understanding diverse Muslim cultures around the world. She has extensive experience in building interfaith bridges in the Boston area.
Dr. Kristen Leslie, St. Louis, MO, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care at Eden Theological Seminary and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, has served as a parish pastor, a college chaplain, and a rape counselor. Her teaching and scholarship has been significantly influenced by the needs of military chaplains. She has extensive experience assisting the U.S. Air Force Academy in addressing the aftermath of a sexual assault scandal and in developing cadet-centered pastoral care. She and Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune were recently awarded a contract to assist in training Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard chaplains in pastoral care in situations of sexual assault.
Dr. Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM, San Anselmo, CA, is Professor of Spiritual Life at San Francisco Theological Seminary. A member of the Roman Catholic congregation, the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, her research and publications have been especially in areas of spiritual life and spiritual discernment and formation, as well as discernment in the context of systems. She is also developing a curriculum that will prepare caregivers for working with care receivers who have experienced trauma.
Dr. Kenneth Pargament, Bowling Green, OH, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University, is a leader in bringing a more balanced view of religious life to the attention of social scientists and health professionals. An author of over 200 articles on religion and mental health and author or primary editor of major volumes in the areas of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, he provides leadership especially in the American Psychological Association and consults widely with foundations, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Army, and the World Health Organization. He continues to do extensive research with veterans, including issues of trauma.
Dr. Nancy Ramsay, Fort Worth, TX, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care at Brite Divinity School, holds clinical memberships in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, where she is also a supervisor. She publishes in the area of pastoral theology and care with particular attention to resources for resisting oppression, such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), her teaching and writing also address a range of issues in congregational care including attention to trauma, shame, and ritual sources for healing.
Rabbi Stephen Roberts, New York City, NY, graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, is a rabbi and author with a particular interest in spirituality. He has edited books and articles addressing pastoral/spiritual care, health issues, recovery/addictions, and disaster response. A board certified chaplain and past president of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC), he currently serves on the American Red Cross National Spiritual Care Oversight Committee, and as a responder to the 9/11 terror attacks, he supervised over 800 volunteer chaplains in the provision of Spiritual Care through the American Red Cross (ARC) in New York City, from 9/11 itself through the completion of the operation in May 2002.
Dr. Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Boston, MA, Associate Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Theology at Boston University School of Theology and consulting faculty at the Albert and Jessie Danielson Institute, is a practical theologian, womanist scholar, and psychoanalyst. Her publications intersect the areas of psychoanalytic theory, womanist practical theology, and a womanist psychology of religion. Her research engages connections among psychology, culture, and religion, and her publications focus on links between the social and the intra-psychic. She is particularly concerned with the links between embodied trauma and cultural experience in African American women’s lives.
NOTES FROM AN EXTRAORDINARY FALL & THE LAUNCH OF SOUL REPAIR ON THE ROAD
Since our last newsletter, religious communities, colleges and universities, chaplain associations, VA groups, and community organizations have inundated us with requests for lectures and workshops. The Co-Directors have been traveling extensively to fill as many requests as possible, and Coleman Baker has spoken both locally and worked with networks across the country to develop plans for a new program we call Soul Repair on the Road.
The first Soul Repair on the Road will happen March 28-29, 2014 in Allendale, MI, at Grand Valley State University under the leadership of Co-Director, Herman Keizer, with Jonathan Shay as the keynote speaker. For details, contact Herman Keizer at email@example.com.
We are discussing the possibility of events in the summer of 2014 with contacts in San Diego, CA, and Portland, OR. If you live in any of these areas and would like to help with a Soul Repair on the Road event, contact Trish Cassaday at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our lists of partners.
Here are events we are leading this coming spring:
January 6-10 Coleman Baker and Rita Brock are teaching an intensive course on moral injury at Brite Divinity School, which is overenrolled.
January 13-15 Herm Keizer will be attending the National Conference on Ministry in the Armed Forces and Endorsing Agents for VA Chaplains in Washington DC
January 27-29 Rita Brock will speak at the Disciples of Christ Minister’s Institute meeting in Newton, IA
March 6-9 Rita Brock is working with a planning group in North Carolina for a conference on Moral Injury
March 27-28 Allendale, MI (see above for details)
April 4-5 Rita Brock will give a plenary address to the National Meeting of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors in St. Louis
April 22-26 Rita Brock will join the chaplains of the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association to speak on moral injury
April 28-May 24 Rita Brock will deliver a plenary address to the European Society for Science and Theology meeting in Assisi, Italy, and will be lecturing in several European cities, including Oslo, Norway
Late June/early July – San Diego, CA
We are also planning a major conference for next November… stay tuned for details