The Allender Center Podcast

We often spend time reflecting on how our family of origin shapes our stories. But today, we're turning our attention to another important part of who we are, both personally and collectively: our church family history.

This week, we are honored to host The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Powell McNutt, a distinguished church historian, professor, and author. Dr. McNutt serves as the Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College and is the co-author, alongside David W. McNutt, of the upcoming book, "Know the Theologians."

Given the challenges and controversies within the church today, it's crucial to understand the relevance of our church family history. Jennifer, Dan, and Rachael highlight the need to learn from both the successes and failures of past generations and to recognize God's faithfulness throughout history.

While learning about church history might seem intimidating at first, it's incredibly valuable in understanding our Christian tradition and where we're headed together. We hope this conversation inspires you to do your own exploration of the influences of this unique "family tree."

Jennifer will return later this year to continue this conversation. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore her new book, "Know the Theologians," available April 2 at bookstores everywhere.

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*Please note that this episode contains discussions of sexual abuse and sexual activity, and is intended for adult audiences only. Listener discretion is advised.*

Linda Royster and Sue Cunningham join Dan Allender to discuss the transformative impact of Recovery Weeks. 

Recovery Week is a holistic experience designed to create a relational, healing space for survivors to explore and engage the impact of their stories of sexual abuse. The Allender Center offers a Men’s Recovery Week, a Women’s Recovery Week, and a Women’s Recovery Week with a Focus on Racial Trauma & Healing for Women of Color.

With extensive involvement in Women’s Recovery Weeks for many years, Linda and Sue, along with Vanessa Sadler, are leading this year’s inaugural Women’s Recovery Week with a Focus on Racial Trauma and Healing.

Reflecting on her initial experience as the sole Woman of Color in attendance, Linda shares how profoundly impactful the healing experience was, sparking her desire to create a dedicated space addressing the intersectionality of sexual abuse and racial trauma for Women of Color.

An important aspect of this Recovery Week is the acknowledgment of how women of color may carry the shame of trauma differently. Linda emphasizes understanding the reality of identity and how it informs the response to the harm suffered within both the community and the larger context. This unique identity informs questions about whether care will be available and whether spaces will be made accessible for women who hold certain identities. This aspect of the work during the Recovery Week aims to recognize and honor these differences, ensuring that care is accessible and tailored to the needs of Women of Color.

For those curious about the essence of a Recovery Week, this episode offers a glimpse into the healing processes and profound connections forged during these events.

You’ll hear firsthand about how participants engage in intimate conversations exploring their healing journey, confronting the challenges of shame and betrayal, and celebrating the beauty of finding belonging and mutual support through bearing witness to each other's stories.

If you’d like more information about Recovery Weeks with the Allender Center, please visit

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This week’s conversation dives into a difficult but essential topic: addressing past experiences of sexual abuse. We understand the weightiness of this subject and approach it with sensitivity and care. At the Allender Center, this work is central to our mission, and while it's undeniably challenging, we've also witnessed its profound goodness. Our journey toward healing doesn't involve bypassing the pain but rather moving through it.

Dan and Rachael navigate the complexities of addressing sexual abuse, acknowledging the costs - both internal and external - that survivors face. They compassionately explore the impact trauma has on the body, relationships, and spirituality. Rachael eloquently expresses the intricate nature of this process, recognizing the need to navigate the debris of past harm while holding space for the potential for growth and beauty.

The conversation extends to the ripple effects on relationships, including disruptions within familial, marital, and friendship dynamics. Dan emphasizes the importance of having supportive allies who understand the complexities of the healing journey, even as it may challenge existing relational dynamics.

In the spiritual realm, Rachael and Dan delve into the complexities of wrestling with faith in the aftermath of sexual abuse. They bravely confront questions and doubts about God's role in suffering while also acknowledging the possibility of deepened intimacy and connection with the divine.

We invite you to find solace, insights, and encouragement in this discussion. We recognize the immense courage it takes to embark on a journey of healing and restoration. It is our firm belief that it's possible to reclaim your identity and discover hope amidst the pain.

Please note that this episode contains discussions of sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse, as well as brief explicit language that may be offensive to some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.


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In this week's episode of the Allender Center Podcast, Linda Royster and Wendell Moss lead a profound discussion on the intricate dynamics of trauma, resilience, and the transformative role of community healing, particularly in the context of racial trauma.

They discuss the profound impact of both personal and collective trauma, recognizing its reverberations across communities. They highlight the importance of not just surviving, but actively processing and learning from one's experiences. Conversely, they discuss how unhealthier forms of resilience, such as avoidance or denial of one's trauma, may actually impede the healing process.

A poignant theme emerges as they emphasize the significance of facing one's story with courage and vulnerability, rather than turning away from it. They point out that resilience is not merely surviving but actively engaging with one's narrative and inviting others into that process.

If you’d like to hear more from Linda and Wendell, we invite you to explore the Racial Trauma & Healing offerings from the Allender Center at . There you’ll find a free informational video series and details about our upcoming Story Workshop for Racial Trauma & Healing and our new Women’s Recovery Week with a Focus on Racial Trauma & Healing, both happening this spring.

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What exactly is Narrative Focused Trauma Care? It’s grounded in the belief that healing is not only possible but also essential to the unfolding gospel story within and around us. This holistic approach integrates psychology and theology to holistically engage the heartbreaking impact of trauma and abuse with compassion and care through story. 

The Allender Center specializes in training people to understand their own stories in order to more deeply enter the lives of those they are called to love and serve. We come alongside to equip and develop skills for wading into the difficult waters of heartache, trauma, and abuse.

The foundations of Narrative Focused Trauma Care are unpacked in Level I training, where you'll explore your own narratives and those of others, with the ultimate goal of moving towards healing – for yourself, your relationships, and the broader community, paving the way for future generations

In this episode, Dan and Rachael will lead us through the four intensive weekends of Narrative Focused Trauma Care Level I training, offering insights into what participants can expect and some of the transformative experiences that wait for you.

Dan emphasizes, “We want people to imagine in the small and in whatever ways they are drawn to dream, to begin to move into… better trauma care through story and ultimately the story of Jesus.”

Be sure to catch the first part of this two-part conversation where we go deeper into the “why” behind Narrative Focused Trauma Care.


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