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Training Opportunities

The Center for Family and Community Ministries periodically hosts training opportunities to provide helpful and practical resources for family and community ministry leaders in congregations, denominational agencies, community ministries, and social service organizations.

Here is a quick look at some of the workshops we have offered in the past:

Viewing Mental Illness through the Eyes of Faith
Presenter: Dr. Matthew Stanford, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Baylor University
Individuals in psychological distress are more likely to seek assistance and counseling from the church before contacting a licensed mental health care provider. Dr. Stanford talked about the biological and spiritual aspects of mental illness including depression and anxiety disorders. Participants learned how to recognize serious mental illness, when a mental health referral is appropriate and how to make it, as well as the essential role of the church in the recovery and treatment process. This free luncheon and workshop was attended by church staff members, deacons, Baylor residence hall workers, and many others.

Texas at the Table

Texas is one of the hungriest states in the nation according to a recent USDA report. Churches are often the first stop for community members experiencing hunger. The Texas Hunger Initiative hosted Texas at the Table: The Baylor University Hunger Summit where churches joined national, state and local leaders to discuss the issue of hunger. The summit provided an opportunity to hear from Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples, Camille Miller, Director and CEO of Texas Health Institute, Julie Paradis, Administrator for Food and Nutrition Services for the USDA and Max Finberg, Director of Faith Based Initiatives with USDA. Participants also attended workshops addressing summer feeding programs, continuing support for SNAP, nutrition education and awareness, and access to local and healthy food. Post summit, the Texas Hunger Initiative continues to work with congregations to connect them to community leaders who are developing Food Planning Associations around the state. Further information on the work of Texas Hunger Initiative can be found at www.texashunger.org.

Social Workers with Multiple Professional Identities: Ethical and Practical Implications

Panel: Dr. Diana Garland, Dr. Jon Singletary, and Dr. Gaynor Yancey
Social workers are often identified by other titles (such as Counselor, Chaplain, Community Organizer, etc.), and sometimes those titles reflect multiple professional identities. For example, social workers in congregations may be identified as "Community Minister" or "Pastor." Based on our students' questions as well as our own experience with dual degree programs in social work and divinity, this panel discussed the ethical issues, challenges, and opportunities of dual professional identities over a collective span of 75 years. This brown bag lunch was an ethics continuing education event, and free CEUs were provided for Baylor School of Social Work alumni.

Benevolence 101: Caring for the Least of These

Church office managers and administrative assistants are usually the first to field walk-in or telephone requests for financial and other assistance from persons in need in the community. Beth Kilpatrick and Heather Deal, graduate students in social work and divinity, led this discussion about caring for people in need with dignity and compassion. topics covered included information about poverty, ways to engage in conversations with clients, and safety issues. As part of the workshop, participants received a free copy of the "Walking Alongside Resource Manual," a comprehensive listing of faith-based and other services available to people in need in Waco.

Domestic Violence 101

Church staff are often the first responders to incidents of violence that occur in families in their congregations and in their communities. This workshop offered training and information about available resources to pastors and other leaders from over 20 churches on how to help those who come to the church hurting as a result of domestic violence.

Loss and Congregational Response

Congregants experience a variety of losses and look to the church and church staff both for support and for intervention. Helen Harris, Senior Lecturer in the Baylor School of Social Work, shared about ways churches can offer understanding and be helpful for at least a year beyond the loss event (including death, adoption and foster care, divorce, illness, etc.).