Louisville, Kentucky

Recovering from Un-Natural Disasters, a book designed to help pastors and church leaders guide congregations through a period of recovery after a traumatic event affects their community, such as gun violence, suicide, or sexual abuse, is now available from Westminster John Knox Press

Written by the director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and two members of PDA’s National Response Team, this must-read handbook offers guidance to pastors and congregations during periods of trauma and recovery. Inside the book, church leaders will explore each of the four phases of a human-caused disaster—Devastation and Heroism, Disillusionment, Reforming, and Wisdom. Step-by-step suggestions on how to handle an un-natural disaster from the minute it occurs are included, along with worship resources, such as prayers, music and sermon suggestions that are appropriate to use during periods of trauma and recovery. 

“This book describes what happens when violent disaster impacts a congregation,” explain the authors in the introduction. “It will give you language, examples, and a template for turning pastoral attention to the kind of healing practices that will most help your congregation.”

Recovering from Un-Natural Disasters is now available for purchase through Westminster John Knox Press and other major retailers.

Laurie Kraus is the Associate Mission Director of Compassion, Peace and Justice directing Presbyterian Disaster Assistance with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  She is a teaching elder with more than thirty years of pastoral experience. 

David Holyan is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood in St. Louis, Missouri, and an adjunct professor at Eden Seminary. He is a member of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s National Response Team.

Bruce Wismer is copastor at Pine Shores Presbyterian in Sarasota, Florida. He is a member of the National Response Team of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.