In times of crisis, as in the tragic New Zealand mass shooting, faith leaders are called upon to guide and sustain communities through the aftermath. But who helps the healers who are suffering from the very same trauma?
New documentary series by ODYSSEY IMPACT shines
light on HEALING THE HEALERS
“Today, for many clergy, the question is not IF we will be called to serve in the midst
of physical, emotional and spiritual violence, but rather WHEN such a call might come.”
– Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Newtown Congregational Church.
NEW YORK, NY – On April 9, ODYSSEY IMPACT has launched a new multimedia resource to ensure that no faith leader faces the hardships and challenges of ministry without support. Mass violence and communal tragedy has become a reality in our society, even in regions considered among the safest, such as New Zealand and Newtown, CT. Ministry in the wake of shared trauma is becoming a regular requirement for ministers. HEALING THE HEALERS is a new series comprised of five 15-minute documentaries that are intimate conversations between faith leaders who’ve experienced mass trauma events in their communities and congregations.
Rev. Matt Crebbin, whose life was forever changed on December 14, 2012, leads the conversations. That fateful day, a young man took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is located just two miles from Newtown Congregational Church, where Crebbin serves as Senior Pastor.
Newtown is a small, close knit community, so Crebbin and the other local faith leaders had to immediately react, managing media and ministering to their entire community – including victims, emergency workers, families, their own congregations, and their own families.
Crebbin is still processing the effects of that trauma on his personal life. As Crebbin says, “It’s like learning to dance again, only with a limp.”
For the past two years, Crebbin has explored the question ‘who heals the healers?’ When mass trauma strikes, faith leaders are called to guide, heal and sustain their communities. But how can those who are looked to for answers find the mental, emotional, and spiritual help they may need after an act of sharing an extreme experience such as violence or a natural disaster?
The series is a journey, following Crebbin as he explores the long-term effects of this type of trauma on faith leaders, and a mission to help educate and prepare them to serve when a future trauma lands in their community.. He seeks to recognize the isolation often felt by faith leaders who face unique stresses in the aftermath of these events.
HEALING THE HEALERS covers key themes of self-care, self-awareness, pastoral roles, impact on the families of faith leaders, living with continual community trauma, re-traumatization from other mass violence, questions of faith in light of evil, creating trauma-informed ministries, and lessons learned after 6 years of what he calls ‘new wisdom.’
In the project, Crebbin is joined by other faith leaders, including: Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe, Executive Director of the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth; Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd, previous rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown; Rev. Henry Brown, the leader of Mothers United Against Violence; Rev. Melvyn Kawakami, retired Senior Pastor at Newtown United Methodist Church; Monsignor Basil O’Sullivan, former chaplain at Dunblane Primary School, site of a mass shooting that killed 16 children and their teacher; Rabbi Shaul Marshall Praver, a first responder at Sandy Hook Elementary; Pastor Samuel Saylor, Sr., Senior Pastor of Gardner Memorial AME Zion Church in Springfield, MA and National Vice President of the National Gun Victims Action Council; and Cantor Michael Shochet, former Police Officer who became ordained and now serves as a Senior Clergy of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA.
“Far too often faith leaders suffer in silence after mass tragedies in their communities. They are under incredible stress and grief themselves, yet often lack resources to get the same level of support that they give others,” shares Nick Stuart, President and CEO of Odyssey Impact and Transform Films. “We hope that HEALING THE HEALERS will open up a discussion about how ministers can receive the support they may need, in an honest, safe, and restorative environment.”
“Healing the Healers looks at the ongoing experiences not just in the first year after collective loss – but in the subsequent years, the year two, year five, and so forth and how the impacts of collective loss changes who you are as a person and who you are in your profession,” shares Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe, who serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth.
Stuart continues, “At Odyssey Impact, we are passionate about sharing powerful stories of social justice and creating activism through compelling community-based documentaries and discussions. We know that social change is possible when we can raise awareness, change attitudes, and begin meaningful conversations. The faith community is uniquely poised to use these stories to bring a spirit of healing, support, understanding, and lasting change in their individual communities.”
Focused on encouraging a dialogue and sparking positive change, Odyssey Impact has developed numerous resources and discussion guides to accompany this series, which are available for download to help facilitate events by local grassroots organizations. A community toolkit, surveys, and local organizing tools are additional components provided to assist with educational and community outreach for Healing The Healers and for the ongoing Women’s Rights #metoo movement addressed by THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR which inspires hope through the story of Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks. For information, go to www.odyssey-impact.org.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH: To host a screening or download resources and discussion guides to engage in community and educational outreach, go to https://www.odyssey-impact.org/healing-the-healers.
About ODYSSEY IMPACT™
ODYSSEY IMPACT™, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, believes that powerful documentaries with messages of social justice can motivate meaningful social change by raising awareness, changing attitudes and inspiring people of all faiths and good will to engage their communities on issues important in their lives and in society as a whole. The organization is dedicated to strategically building and executing social impact campaigns around documentaries, including those created by its affiliated production company TRANSFORM FILMS INC., via mobilizing faith leaders, individuals, and communities around issues such as poverty, mass incarceration, gun violence, intolerance, racial justice, hate crimes, and gender violence. More info at www.Odyssey-Impact.org.
About TRANSFORM FILMS®
TRANSFORM FILMS INC. is a wholly-owned subsidiary and affiliated production company of Odyssey Networks, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that believes powerful documentaries with messages of social justice can motivate meaningful social change by raising awareness, changing attitudes and inspiring people of all faiths and good will to engage their communities on issues important in their lives and in society as a whole. Transform Films, Inc. have produced films such as NEWTOWN; MILWAUKEE 53206; THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR, and LESSONS FROM A SCHOOL SHOOTING: NOTES FROM DUNBLANE that have garnered critical acclaim at film festivals and have aired on broadcast outlets such as PBS’ Independent Lens, America Reframed, STARZ Channel and Netflix. Recent accolades include the 2018 Peabody Award, the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival’s Best Documentary Short, the 2018 UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Short Documentary, and the 2017 Venice International Film Festival Human Rights Award. More info at www.TransformFilmsInc.com.
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Odyssey Impact CEO Nick Stuart and Senior Producer of Healing the Healers Kirsten Kelly are available for interviews. For more information and to receive a screener of HEALING THE HEALERS, please contact:
Lori Heiselman – FrontGate Media
Lori@FrontGateMedia.com – 714-553-5181