Building Resilient and Secure Communities Safety Conference, April 13, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA
Safety Conference 419
2019-04-13 09:00:00
2019-04-13 15:00:00
Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 9:00 am to 3:00 pm EDT

Type of event: Conference

Sponsor: Central East Region of the UUA, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Building Resilient and Secure Communities

This conference will cover a wide array of topics around safety, security, trauma response, and resilience in congregational life. To live is to be at risk. While we can never be 100% safe from harm, we can prepare for the challenges that our communities potentially face. From natural disaster to relational misconduct to cybercrime to pure violence, there are healthy practices that help our congregations remain resilient and strong to do the important work they do in the world. Please join us for this important event.

Keynote: Post Traumatic Growth & Community Resiliency – Learning to Thrive Beyond Crisis with Rev. Aaron Payson. We have learned a lot over the past 2 decades about the impact and effect of disaster and trauma on individuals and communities.  How does this experience shape a response that thrives into what is often experienced as an uncertain future?  What qualities of community are necessary to respond healthfully to the variety of challenges to our well-being in community? What special role do Faith-Based Communities have in this work?  These are some of the questions we’ll discuss and more. Rev. Aaron Payson is a member of the UU Trauma Response Ministry Team.

This conference is for everyone in your congregations: members, friends, safety teams/committees, religious education teachers, board members, staff, and religious professionals- there is something for everyone!

Cost: Sliding Scale of $10-$20-$30-$40-$50, includes lunch. Registration fees are on a sliding scale, based on your assessment of your ability to pay. Those who pay at the two highest levels are making a donation to help those in financial need for this event. Please remember that for a sliding scale to work, we need the same number of people with means to generously pay more to balance the needs of those who can afford less. (This is one way we try to build the Beloved Community!) Please let us know if you need a partial waiver. There are no full waivers but those requesting a waiver will pay only $5.00. If you request childcare, please adjust your payment accordingly.

Workshop Options (you will be asked to select workshops during registration)
Morning Workshops:
  • Practical Safety Basics with Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe. Are you brand new to considering safety needs at church?  Are you looking for some practical how-tos for everyday life?  This workshop will cover the greatest risks facing congregational communities with a focus on what to do for prevention and at the moment of an event.  This is for everyday congregation members and friends. Members of Safety Teams and Committees, Board Members, and other lay leaders are encouraged to take one of the other workshops offered today.
  • When Leaders Mis-Conduct with Rev. Renee Ruchotzke. Congregational staff and lay leaders are given special trust and authority. When that trust is abused, it can have a harmful impact far beyond the actual event and people involved. This workshop will cover different kinds of misconduct, markers of a congregation that has experienced misconduct, and what a congregation can do to heal and become healthy again.
  • Creating Your Safety Policy with Beth Casebolt. Your congregation has had the conversations and knows it needs a comprehensive safety policy. But where do you start? What resources are out there? What areas should it cover? This workshop will talk about the different areas of congregational life that safety policies should cover and what resources are out there to help you create them. Recommended for Members of Safety Teams, Board Members and other leaders involved in policy making.
  • Dealing with Difficult Relationships with Patricia Infante. Healthy relationships are the foundation and strength of our covenanted congregations. When disruptive behaviors erupt, leaders are caught between welcoming all and keeping the community safe. Using case studies and interactive presentations we’ll introduce proven leadership responses to bullying, inappropriate boundaries, and integrating sex offenders.
  • The Life-Cycle of a Disaster - Rev. with Aaron Payson. Faith Communities face a variety of challenges related to both naturally occurring and human-made disasters.  What might we expect to confront at times such as these? How might we organize community efforts and responses during different phases of a disaster?  This workshop will explore these questions and more.

Afternoon Workshops
  • De-escalation Skills with Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe. Our society has always had people who are stressed or agitated and show it through aggressive language and action.  How do we deescalate situations that are harmful? This workshop will cover skills for understanding and responding in healthy ways.
  • Using Restorative Practices in Your Congregation with Rev. Renee Ruchotzke. Restorative practices, which involve the skilled use of Peace Circles, provide an opportunity to identify and address harms, restore relationships and mend community. This workshop will be an overview of how they work and how they are a faithful way to bring people back into covenant when covenant has been broken.
  • What to do When the Unthinkable Happens with Beth Casebolt. Basic safety policies are important, but we also need policies to deal with the unexpected. How would your congregation respond to a fire, natural disaster, burst pipe, collapsed roof, ice or snowstorm, member’s heart attack during services, major break-in and theft? Could your congregation be a location to help others? Or even a training center? This workshop will look at policies that focus on the things we can’t control - weather issues, vandalism, medical emergencies, and more. Recommended for Members of Safety Teams, Board Members and other leaders involved in policy making.
  • Our Sacred Trust: Keeping the Children Safe with Patricia Infante. Leaders have a special obligation to provide a safe environment when working with child and youth cohorts in our congregation, particularly when it comes to adult/child/youth relationships. We’ll look at what congregations need to know about complying with the stringent policies and requirements that the Commonwealth of PA has implemented for volunteers as well as preview the soon to be released national Youth Safety Guidelines.
  • Post-Traumatic Growth:  Emergency Preparedness and Professional Religious Leadership with Rev. Aaron Payson. What special roles and responsibilities does Religious Leadership have in the wake of a disaster or trauma experienced by a Faith-Based Community or larger community/region?  How do we plan and prepare for this work? Where does it fit within the context of the ministries we facilitate? How do we care for ourselves in the process? These questions and more are at the heart of this workshop.

Register Now
Registration deadline is April 10th to guarantee lunch and childcare. If you register after that date, we can't guarantee lunch.


605 Morewood Avenue
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First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
605 Morewood Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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