Has your church heard about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)? If not, I am sure you have seen the effects in your communities and your worshipping communities. Those in our congregations, as well as those in our neighborhoods, are struggling under the weight of unresolved trauma, persistent toxic stress, and the dysfunction that results from broken relationships. No matter what we might want to tell one another, “Everything is NOT fine.”
In our home state—where 17% of children have experienced three or more ACEs, and 1 in 10 have four or more—faith communities should be especially aware of how their ministries can make a difference. Is your youth ministry concerned about teen suicide? Consider that the 10% of children with four or more ACEs have a 1200% greater chance of attempting suicide than their peers, and I think you’ll see why addressing the prevalence of ACEs in Montana is a good idea! (1)
In an effort to pull together the tremendous resources our faith communities possess, I’ll be facilitating a conversation at ChildWise’s Fall Conference in Helena on Resilience, September 29th and 30th. Our “faith-based breakout” will be one of many offering that will challenge you as well as encourage you to address the greatest public health crisis our state and nation faces. My hope is that dozens of congregations from across Montana could be represented, and their involvement would start a much-needed conversation in their churches, synagogues, and fellowships.
I am excited to share this time with Kimberly Konkel, MSW, who has worked in the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C. for the better part of two decades. Kim has been the assistant director of the Partnership with Faith-based communities and has a wealth of knowledge about how God is using congregations and faith communities across the country to effect social change and are living out the prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come, on earth as it is in heaven!”
So, do whatever you need to do to get to Helena for this conference! At $185 for two days (lunch included on the first day!), this conference would be an excellent use of continuing education funds for your pastor, a personal investment in your missions and outreach team, or a way to encourage your youth and children’s ministry to be better equipped for ministry. In fact, if your only reason for not attending the Resilience Conference is the cost, please contact me… I will work hard to get you a scholarship or whatever it will take to make it happen.
It’s that important. I’m that passionate about this issue. Because, “Everything is NOT fine.”
Chaplain Chris Haughee