Trauma project called in to support Christian ministers (Christopher Southgate)

By Christopher Southgate

The project ‘Tragedies and Christian Congregations’, directed by Professor Chris Southgate in the Department of Theology and Religion, has been exploring how communities react to shock-events since 2016. Specifically: how can Christian ministers respond sensitively and constructively when people’s framework of meaning has been torn apart, whether by fire, flood, terrorism, or scandal? The impact of COVID-19 has led a number of groups to consult the project, including a bishop in Australia. The team has also provided blogs to help ministers understand the pressures of this sort of situation. These have appeared on our own website (see below) and also the Sheldon Hub, a dedicated site for ministers, and have circulated very widely on websites supporting clergy. St Paul’s Cathedral asked us for a series of meditations on COVID-19 . Professor Southgate has briefed both the national group on Diocesan Directors of Education (around the key question of school re-opening), the Diocese of Exeter, and also the South-East Group of Anglican bishops. Members of the team have also spoken on national and local radio. The book from the project, Tragedies and Christian Congregations (Routledge), edited by Megan Warner and colleagues, has been selling like hot cakes… The project has been generously supported by the Templeton World Charities Foundation Inc.

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