Faith Based Organization Embraces ACEs Learnings

Author: Trauma Responsive Church Team. First United Methodist Church of the St. Cloud Region

In response to a need in the community, the First United Methodist Church (UMC) of the St. Cloud Region recently started a Trauma Responsive Church Initiative. The goal of the initiative is not to start a new ministry or church program, but rather to create an environment where all people who enter our church doors feel accepted, wanted, safe and loved by God and the congregation. A key question as we approach people who have experienced trauma is not “What’s wrong with you?” but, rather, “What happened to you?” We recognize this is not a "them" concern but an "us/we" concern.

In Fall 2018, our team's initial focus was educating ourselves and providing preliminary learning experiences for members of First UMC. Our initial Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) training was well received with many attendees walking away wishing they could share this information with their communities.

Going forward, church members have requested a greater understanding of trauma and its impacts, and how to create safe spaces to care for ourselves and others who have experienced trauma. This spring, First UMC's Trauma Responsive Church team is responding with three offerings:

  1. ACEs Learning Event - Learn about trauma, how it impacts the body, and what you can do about it. Saturday March 23rd at 9 a.m.
  2. "Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope" Documentary Screening and Discussion – Thursday April 25th at 7 p.m.
  3. Compassionate Listening Learning Event - Learn how to companion someone who is suffering. Saturday May 18th at 9 a.m.

Anyone in the community is welcome to attend these events and First UMC is interested in community partnerships around ACEs and becoming trauma responsive.  Click here to learn more about the events.