January 24, 2016 Pastor’s Corner

Tomorrow night in the Helena Middle School Auditorium there will be presentation of Paper Tigers at 6 PM. After the film I will be on a panel of community members speaking to how we can respond to ACEs in our own community. The goal of tomorrow’s event is to get 100 people to additional training on ACEs. Through these trainings we hope to change the way our community relates to children in schools, social service agencies and in our general community to reduce ACEs and help those who have ACEs to overcome their adversity.

“Paper Tigers is an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the rural community of Walla Walla, WA, the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of Trauma Informed Communities – a movement that is showing great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).”

Many of you know about our commitment during our 150th Jubilee to work with Intermountain and Childwise to explore ACEs (Learn more: stpaulshelena.org/aces-awareness-for-good). From the ACEs study we understand: There are 10 ACEs that are adverse experiences people might experience in their childhood. Four or more ACEs puts you at a higher risk for mental illness, chronic disease, and even early death. We may think that adverse experiences happen predominantly in cases of people in poverty but the stressors happen across socioeconomic lines. Montana ranks poorly with a majority of our children having 4 or more ACEs.

Over the last 4 months of studying ACEs I have become aware that ACEs is a language people of faith can use to let the community know what adverse experiences do to all children and to be clear that it happens right here in our hometown. This language then leaves people wanting to know how they can change this reality and every speaker I have heard says, “Adversity is not destiny.” The gospel message is that adversity is not the end, new life can happen, and we can work to help children and adults overcome ACEs. The truth we learn from ACEs is that we have to create community systems of healing in order to help people overcome this adversity.

I invite us as Jesus followers to listen and learn about this ACEs language, so we can continue to share it in our community along with the good news that new life is possible.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler


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