A question mused aloud by Harriet Hill from the Trauma Healing Institute (American Bible Society) as we toured Scotland this month meeting church leaders to discuss the complexity of emotional trauma we find in our communities today.
The Trauma Tour
Harriet and her colleague, Steve Moses, had offered their time to come and share with us about the work they’re involved in from helping refugees in the Middle East to working with survivors of genocide in Africa.
Here in Scotland, across four days and five locations, we heard stories of drug and alcohol problems, domestic abuse, relationship breakdown, unemployment, suicide, bereavement -so many emotional traumas that contribute to people experiencing hopelessness and grief in the deepest well of their soul. How do you help people to read the Bible from a perspective of suffering such that they find a measure of comfort, healing, faith and hope?
Despite the difficulty of the topics shared, everyone taking part felt a sense of optimism, even expectation, that God is doing something positive and transformative in our communities when we help the most vulnerable access the Scriptures.
A resource for all countries
Built upon years of experience working with traumatised peoples in Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, the Trauma Healing resource was pioneered to help victims of violence piece back together the brokenness of life whilst introducing them to the healing message of the Gospel.
Since 2010, forty-four national Bible Societies have adapted the programme for use in their countries with over seven and a half thousand people (globally) being trained as group facilitators. It is only in recent years that the Trauma Healing programme has been recognised as something that can help those suffering in a westernised context where trauma often comes from different root causes but where the malaise invading people’s souls is the same.
Using the Bible as a trauma healing tool
Based on a small group model, the Trauma Healing resource is a format that will be relatively familiar but the content is designed to guide participants through key Bible passages that contextualise trauma, allowing participants to share their lives in a safe, meaningful and accepting environment.
Parts of the course cover:
- If God loves us, why do we suffer?
- How can the wounds of our hearts be healed?
- What happens when someone is grieving?
- How to take our pain to the cross.
- How can we forgive others?
Working through these areas with those suffering from emotional trauma can be transformative for both individuals and communities.
This week, as we talked with those closest to the vulnerable in our communities, two things became apparent. Firstly, Scotland needs a resource such as this – “In Scotland, there’s trauma all around us; it’s never ending.” – and, secondly, the local church is at the forefront of walking alongside those who are suffering the most – “Every church should be thinking about doing this…”
So, what happens next?
Following these consultative discussions, SBS now hopes to run a course early in 2018 to train volunteers on how to use the Trauma Healing resources with a view to churches beginning groups in the latter half of the year.
If you are interested in hearing more about this, please fill in the form below, or contact Pearl Liddle on 0131 347 9822.