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Trauma and Transformation at Ground Zero

A Pastoral Theology

By Storm Swain

Publication Year: 2011

From personal interviews with chaplains at the temporary mortuary at Ground Zero and her own experiences as an Episcopal priest, psychotherapist, and chaplain, Storm Swain offers a new model of pastoral care grounded in theology and practice.

Reflecting on experiences of suffering faced in ministry, Swain considers what it means to love in these instances and what is involved in ministering in these contexts. Within this model, caregivers can move from a place of trauma to a place of transformation, which enables wholeness and healing for both caregivers and those for whom they care.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. vi-7

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pp. vii-11

Undertaking any endeavor where one seeks to be true to the profound task of hold-ing the stories of those who have worked at the face of trauma, and the story of God within that, is a humbling task. I have found none more so than this work, which seeks to describe a model of pastoral care that is integrally connected both to the story of the God in whom that care is grounded and to the stories of those who suf-...

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pp. 1-18

It was 8 p.m. on a New York Friday night, ten days after September 11, 2001. I had just arrived at “D. Mort,” the Medical Examiner’s Morgue, to do my first shift there as a chaplain. There I was—an experienced Episcopal priest and fledgling disaster chaplain. I had been a hospital chaplain for eight years, working with suicidal and homicidal persons for six of those years. I had trained about fifty seminarians as a ...

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1. The Trinity

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pp. 19-38

Much pastoral theology focuses on pastoral care as an expression of the divine rule to “love one another as we have been loved,” or, alternatively, ministration to the other in whom we see Christ, catching God’s image in others, loving God through loving the other. Much of it is grounded in the theology of the incarnation, the movement of God to and for us in the person of Jesus, and in an understanding ...

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2. Earth-Making

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pp. 39-82

In Christian practice in a number of denominations, the liturgy at the time of death is a powerful reminder of the whole cycle of not only life and death, but also cre-ation and redemption. Like baptism, where birth and death are intimately entwined through the symbology of drowning and coming up out of the water as baptism into the death of Christ and his resurrection, in the “Litany at the Time of Death” and the ...

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3. Pain-Bearing

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pp. 83-143

Pain-bearing is painful. Yet it is part and parcel of the context of pastoral care. Most of the chaplains found the empathic connections with the suffering of others deeply touching and at times incredibly sad, sometimes not only a “body blow” to the other but to themselves. But, as one chaplain said when asked whether he experienced sadness or a sense of his own suffering, “I wasn’t aware other than the ...

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4. Life-Giving

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pp. 144-181

What was life giving at Ground Zero were those moments and relationships that we all need in pastoral ministry, whether as clergy or laity: that sense of community with one another and that sense of communion with God whose presence we seek to make present in our presence. The community at Ground Zero had multiple cultures, each with its own politics and the tensions between them, but it had a ...

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pp. 182-184

In the beginning of this book I outlined my belief that the Trinity offers a threefold model of pastoral engagement that leads from a place of trauma to that of transfor-mation. This thesis followed through the argument that this is so because the image of God in the human person is a trinitarian image, and that the God of love, and the love of God, can be experienced in human life in this way when we are acting ...


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pp. 185-193


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pp. 194-206

E-ISBN-13: 9781451418606
E-ISBN-10: 1451418604
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698058
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698053

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 824698525
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Trauma and Transformation at Ground Zero

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Trinity.
  • Church work with disaster victims.
  • Psychic trauma -- Religious aspects -- Christianity
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001 -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
  • Suffering -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
  • Pastoral theology.
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