From the Worldwide Faith News archives

CWS December 10 Web Cast Explores "Lessons From Oklahoma City"

From Carol Fouke <>
Date Fri, 7 Dec 2001 17:01:14 -0800

National Council of Churches/Church World Service
Contact: NCC/CWS News, 212-870-2227  
E-mail:; Web:


Session to be streamed live on
Monday, December 10, 2 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

December 6, 2001, NEW YORK CITY - In a strange, almost perverse kind of way,
the people of Oklahoma City have an advantage over just about everyone else
in America when it comes to dealing with the shock and horror of September
11. In a sense, they'd already been through it.

There's no sensible way of comparing the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah Building and its 168 casualties with the loss of the World Trade
Center towers and their thousands of victims. But the intensely personal
impacts caused by these tragedies follow a similar pattern, and in the past
six years many of those most affected by the Oklahoma City blast have come
farther on the road to healing than they could ever have imagined possible.

At the same time, professional caregivers - psychologists, counselors and
ministry professionals -- have learned some vitally important lessons about
how to help people cope with overwhelming grief. Now, Church World Service,
a broadly based relief agency, will provide people throughout the country
the chance to hear from the Oklahoma City community and their attempt to
fashion a new understanding of life together after their own terrorist

Three caregivers - an author and grief counselor, a psychologist and former
president of the Murrah Building Survivors Association, and a police
chaplain - will share their insights in a live Web cast on the interfaith
Web site Church World Service is sponsoring the Web cast
as part of its commitment to providing pastoral care resources in the wake
of the September 11 attacks.

Panelists include:

Paul A. Heath, a psychologist in private practice, was Psychologist and
Officer in charge of the Veterans Administration office in Oklahoma City
from 1968 to 1999. He helped to form the Murrah Building Survivors
Association and served as its president from 1995 to 1998. The Air Force
association named Dr. Heath the Department of Veterans Affairs Employee of
the Year for his "selfless actions and compassion" following the bombing.

Doug Manning is the author of Don't Take My Grief Away From Me and When Love
Gets Tough. He became a full-time writer, lecturer and counselor in 1982
after an earlier career in ministry. He has conducted professional
development seminars and community bereavement conferences after the
Oklahoma City bombing, shootings in Jonesboro and Ft. Worth, and after the
September 11 attacks. Most recently he was a keynote speaker at the World
Gathering on Bereavement held in Ohio in July.

Jack Poe is the Chief of Chaplains for the Oklahoma City Police Force. Dr.
Poe was one of several Oklahoma City chaplains asked to take charge of
pastoral care in the New York City morgue set up after the September 11
bombings. He had been at the Murrah Building in within 15 minutes of the
bombing and began coordinating ministry efforts there. Six years later, as a
member of the Critical Incident Working Group, a program funded by the U.S.
department of justice, Dr. Poe continues to provide care for victims of the
Murrah bombing.

Broadcast journalist Arthur Cribbs Jr. moderates the panel. Mr. Cribbs, a
former executive director of the United Church of Christ's Office of
Communication, is now pastor of the Christian Fellowship Congregational
Church in San Diego and the President of Pacific Media Ministries in San

Anyone who still struggles to come to terms with the attacks or to cope with
their effects on themselves or their families will benefit from hearing the
stories and practical insights of the panelists. Clergy, lay leadership,
caregivers and professionals, in particular, will receive sharpened tools to
help others deal with the fear; isolation and grief related to the September
11 attacks.

This last of four Church World Service Web casts on the theme Tragedy and
Spiritual Care. Earlier Webcasts include:

Everyday Heroes (originally webcast November 19, 2001), an examination of
the sources and motivations for heroic acts performed without warning or
preparation by common citizens.
Faith in America after 9/11 (originally webcast October 22, 2001), focusing
on the expanded role of faith in public life since the September 11 attacks.
Tragedy and Spiritual Care (originally webcast September 30, 2001), focusing
on the need for long-term pastoral and emotional care.

All the Web casts are available for on-demand viewing at is an inter-faith Web site supported by mainline faith
groups representing 200,000 congregations with a combined membership of more
than 120 million Americans. Additionally, it offers Web site development and
hosting and provides streaming audio and video services. For more
information, call 859-422-0425 or visit the Web site at

Church World Service works in more than 80 countries to meet human needs and
foster self-reliance. CWS works on behalf of the National Council of
Churches and its 36 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox communions in the
U.S., in programs of social and economic development, emergency response,
assistance to refugees, education and advocacy, and ecumenical
relationships. For more information, call 1-800-297-1516 or visit the Web
site at


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