Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Karen Claassen, DMin
Trisha Welstad, DMin
The lack of identifiable progress regarding racial reconciliation since the 1960s has become increasingly evident in the growing mainstream appeal of extremist views on race in the wake of the Obama administration and intense rise in racial tensions across the country. The seeming impotence of the church to effectively speak into this climate has sparked renewed conversation in how the church engages racial reconciliation, particularly in an approach that considers how white evangelicals can recognize themselves as key factors in both the problem and the solution. Additionally, there is a growing interest in the role that trauma plays in these incidents, however, most of the attention focuses on the victim’s trauma, largely represented by the Black community.
This dissertation reviews how race and trauma interact, considers how they may contribute to the lack of measurable progress in the white church’s pursuit of racial reconciliation, and ends with offering a new approach to racial reconciliation that considers these dynamics. Section 1 explores the relationship between race and trauma. Section 2 examines current approaches to racial reconciliation. Section 3 offers a solution that focuses specifically on equipping white evangelicals to the work of racial reconciliation by combining white identity development education, narrative therapy techniques, and an application of trauma therapy modalities for a new approach to racial reconciliation focused specifically on the role that white people play in the dynamic.
The outcome is a curriculum that can be utilized to help white Christians begin to recognize how their white identity is both formed and reformed and when their reactions in racially charged situations and conversations may be rooted in traumatic response. It is intended to equip them to mitigate those responses in healing ways, thus better preparing them for the ministry of racial reconciliation.
Saccoccio, Andrea, "Changing the Story of White Supremacy in the Church: Towards a Trauma-Informed Model of Racial Reconciliation" (2021). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 405.