Pastoral Care Zoom Workshops - "The Stuff You’ve Forgotten Since Seminary"
Presenter: Reverend Beth Toler, M.Div. Th.D., LMFT
9/11, 9/14, 2023
11/6, 11/9, 2023
1/8, 1/11, 2024
3/4, 3/7, 2024
5/6, 5/9, 2024
7/8, 7/11, 2024
Note: Monday sessions start at Noon EST and Thursday sessions are at 7 pm EST.
Rev. Beth Toler
Assessing and Engaging Religious and Spiritual Struggles: September 11 & 14
Major life crises can affect people not only psychologically, socially, and physically but spiritually as well by raising profoundly unsettling questions: How can God allow such pain and suffering? Am I being punished? Do I still believe in God? How can I live up to my spiritual values? Has my religious community abandoned me? Does my life have a deeper ultimate purpose and meaning?
In the last 25 years, these kinds of religious/spiritual struggles have begun to receive attention from researchers and medical/mental health practitioners. This growing body of work not only validates that religious/spiritual struggles are an important part of the human experience; it also has revealed significant correlations and implications for physical and mental health and well-being. This workshop will briefly highlight this new research, invite participants to identify spiritual struggles commonly encountered in the context of chaplaincy and ministry, and explore strategies of care for addressing religious/spiritual struggles.
From Compassion Fatigue to Compassion Satisfaction: November 6 & 11
Burnout points to the chronic and cumulative effect of stress and how it negatively impacts a person’s health and wellbeing. If unaddressed, the various stresses of ministry contribute to an erosion of compassion and empathy which reduces minsters’ effectiveness in helping others. Drawing on the latest research, this workshop builds awareness of the signs and stages of Compassion Fatigue and Burnout and offers strategies for cultivating Compassion Satisfaction.
Living through the Anxious Moments: January 8 & 11
Based on the research of John Bowlby (1907 - 1990), attachment theory asserts that the way a relationship is formed with our primary caregivers early on becomes our reference point to how we develop relationships with others in the future. According to organizational and leadership research, this includes workplace relationships - our colleagues, parishioners, and superiors. In other words, one’s primary attachment style - significantly influences all our social abilities such as relationship building, collaboration, empathy, acceptance of feedback or criticism, and conflict navigation. This workshop will provide a brief overview of attachment theory, invite participants to identify the ways in which their attachment styles impact their ministerial identity and leadership style, and explore strategies for managing and leveraging attachment styles in positive, productive ways.
Responding Effectively to Domestic Violence: March 4 & 7
When we stand in our pulpits, visit the sick, perform marriages, bury the dead, and counsel the troubled in our offices, we are often seeing the many faces and lives that have been impacted by abuse. Even if we do not know their faces, survivors and perpetrators alike sit in our pews and worship within our walls. Whether we want them to be or not, our religious communities sit on the front lines of this issue.
Recognizing that domestic violence is a serious issue for our members and acknowledging the
vital role we play in addressing this problem that threatens so many lives is crucial to our work
as religious leaders. It is incumbent on us to become knowledgeable about the dynamics of
domestic violence, the effects of abuse, and identify ways in which we can assist victims and
their families. Our communities and the tenets of our religious traditions should be a rich
resource for healing and transformation, not a roadblock that perpetuates the cycle of abuse.
This workshop will provide an opportunity to equip participants with the knowledge and resources to recognize the signs of abuse and help those who are suffering.
Mental Health, Social Media and the Role of the Faith Community: May 6 & 9
Mental health is important to relationships, well-being, resilience and self-esteem. Research also is beginning to highlight the relationship between religion/faith/spirituality and mental health.
As ministers, pastors, and chaplains who often are the first point of contact for those who are experiencing issues with mental health, it is important that we understand the dynamics of mental illness and know how to connect individuals to the right resources. This workshop will provide an overview of some of the more commonly recognized mental health conditions and will offer ethically sound ways ministers and faith communities can support people who come to them with mental health concerns. The workshop will also offer ways that faith communities can become more knowledgeable, welcoming, and supportive of people with mental health conditions. Special attention will also be paid to the role that social media plays in creating supporting, healing environments.
Understanding Suicide and the Role of the Faith Community: July 8 & 11
Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. The good news is that suicide can be prevented with proper intervention at the right time. Preventing suicide requires strategies at all levels of society, including the Church. This workshop will provide an overview of the latest statistics and research about suicide, including prevention, protective, and after care strategies for individuals, families, and communities. Participants will also learn the warning signs and consider the unique role the Church has in promoting resilience.
Reverend Beth Toler, M.Div. Th.D., LMFT, is an ordained American Baptist minister, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Associate Professor of Clinical Counseling and Pastoral Care at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA. who has extensive experience in various academic, ministry and mental health settings. In addition to her current teaching and academic work at Moravian, Beth currently operates a private counseling practice at the Middleton Center for Pastoral Counseling at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian, co-facilitates clergy colleague groups for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania and other local clergy in Delaware County, serves as an active member of Laurel House's Mainline Domestic Violence Clergy Taskforce, and serves as the chair of ACPE's Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy Commission. Her active writing and research focuses on the methodological and practical implications of integrating religion and spirituality into the counseling process.