Spring Event Focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Effects of Trauma

Spring Event Focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Effects of Trauma

March 31, 2023

Iowa ACEs 360 presented to clergy at the Iowa Conference’s Spring 2023 gathering of the Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members at Immanuel United Methodist Church in Des Moines on March 30, 2023. 

Iowa ACEs 360 provides research, tools, and a network to empower people—and the entire state—to take informed actions that help all individuals heal from trauma and thrive for generations to come. Working as a coalition, they research the problem, test new solutions, identify best practices, and advocate for system changes to address incredibly complex challenges related to adverse childhood experiences.

Bishop Kennetha brought the message from John 20:19:31, Common English Bible, which was followed by Holy Communion. 

"We come with our gifts, our pain, our hope, our fear. We come with our traditions, which comfort and sustain us. Our pews and our pulpits are open. We come with our experience that we may observe our trespasses and never repeat them. We come with reason, to take all into account and discern the spirit of truth. And we come, clinging to the Scriptures which command us to: love our neighbor wholeheartedly, remember God continually, receive grace, seek justice, create peace, and do good works," said Bishop Kennetha in her Communion Liturgy.

Reflecting on the Iowa ACEs 360 presentation, Rev. Arnette Pint said talking about trauma is long overdue for the church.

See an album of images from the day.

"If we take this information into our churches and to our people and listen with new ears, it will make a tremendous difference in our ministry," said Pint.

Lisa Cushatt, LMSW, who is the Executive Director for Iowa ACEs 360, presented in the morning. Lisa is responsible for the management of Iowa ACEs 360, including training, advocacy, and partner collaboration.

In addition to leading systems change efforts, Lisa serves as an adjunct instructor in the field of social work. She has her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Truman State University.

"In our churches, we get everything, because people who come to church are in every stage of their life and in every stage of their own trauma. So if we're paying attention, we see it all. If we just look at our congregations and say, it's just a normal part of humanity—we're just all messed up—that's not very helpful to the people who are going through it. It's families that you don't expect...on the surface, it looks like everything is fine, but they're like that image of the duck who's paddling just as fast as it can just to stay afloat," said Pint.

Jean Sullivan led the afternoon presentation. Sullivan is the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at Prairiewoods Franciscan Ecospirituality Retreat and Conference Center in Hiawatha, Iowa. She has studied and developed trainings related to the long-term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the research-based resources that can assist adults in assessing and strengthening their resilience.