Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies (MA-RIS)

Department

Theology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Brenda Salter McNeil, D.Min., Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies

Keywords

Psychic trauma—Treatment; Trauma-Informed Care; Racism—Religious aspects—Christianity; Dominance (Psychology); Adjustments (Psychology); Church work with minorities; Church work with majorities; Reconciliation—Religious aspects—Christianity; Christianity and justice; Corporate culture—Religious aspects—Christianity

Abstract

Though the dominant culture church in the United States exists within the context of racialized society, often the church has not directly addressed its unjust and traumatic effects. It is the theory of this project that with a more accurate understanding of racialized society, trauma, and coping behaviors, dominant culture ministries will engage more fully in the process of reconciliation. Therefore, this thesis seeks to lay out a theologically anchored process of reconciliation by which dominant culture ministries can be equipped to respond to experiences of racial injustice and trauma in ways that lead to and facilitate healing, justice, and equity for racial minorities.

The proposed process is structured around the five components of Trauma-Informed Care, which have been adapted to encompass a racial-trauma focus. To test its relevance and clarity, five staff of varying roles and backgrounds at a dominant culture ministry submitted input about the process in relation to their ministry context. All respondents affirmed the process's aim and offered valuable input which is discussed and applied within this thesis. A key conclusion of this project is the necessity of an organizational culture of safety for staff, as this lays a foundation for the reconciliatory and healing work in which they seek to participate.

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