The Limits of Darkness

Meditation shared Sunday, November 27, 2016 as part of the worship service "Gratitude and Responsibility." 

The other day, my colleague Sarah burst out of her office around 4:30 pm and announced, “There’s an amazing sunset over Northampton and I’m going up to the fifth floor to see it.” So of course I rushed out with her.

Gratitude and Responsibility

Sermon shared November 27, 2016. 

Good morning. My name is Lynne Marie Wanamaker. I am a long time member of this congregation. I serve on the Worship Committee, and have also served on the Safe Relations Team and the Religious Education Council. Some of you may also know that I am the Deputy Director of Safe Passage, a Northampton-based agency committed to creating a world free of domestic violence and relationship abuse. Safe Passage supports survivors and their families, engages our community, and advocates for systemic change.

I mention this because this morning I want to share some observations drawn from my experiences working at Safe Passage. I hope these reflections have relevance to you. I also want to alert you that our work, and therefore my words, acknowledge the existence of interpersonal violence. I will not describe this reality in very much more detail than I have just done. But I am aware that those of us who have been affected by interpersonal violence -- as victims, survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators -- are present in every gathered community. And so I invite you to be present to this sermon and to your own emotional and spiritual well-being in whatever ways are best for you.

I’m going to end this content note with a spoiler of what’s coming later: Just so you know, one of the things that is most healing to human beings when we are hurt, or when we are remembering past hurts, is loving human connection.

National Center for Victims of Crime: National Training Institute

My colleague Lauren Taylor of Defend Yourself! and I are off to present at the National Center for Victims of Crime National Training Institute in Anaheim, CA. Participants will experience an Empowerment Self-Defense class led by Lauren. Speaking from a social work perspective, I will present evidence supporting ESD as a uniquely effective prevention strategy that delivers particular benefits to survivors of trauma.

Our slide presentation draws heavily from my research into ESD and the neurobiology of trauma. Check out the NCVC deck here, or scroll down on this blog for the supporting research paper and extended PowerPoint presentations.