Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc.
9 Kinsman Place
Natick, Massachusetts  01760-2732
(508) 650-1811
Fax (508) 650-3621

 Effectively Dealing With a Crisis in the Church or Institutional Setting


           Danger and Opportunity

Organizations are sometimes faced with crises involving clients or employees that reach media attention.  These crises often causes chaos within the institution or organization.  This workshop will examine a multidisciplinary approach to developing strategies that effectively deal with the crisis itself, and with the organizational image that is felt in the community and depicted in the media.

The Chinese symbols for the word “crisis” overlay two other Chinese symbols; “danger” and “opportunity”. During most crises the danger is readily apparent, while the opportunity is missed.

A crisis in any institution is painful to an organization and their members, but can be an opportunity to create teamwork, educate the public, and involve new people or develop partnerships in the community to actually enhance the organization and its image.

In this workshop we will demonstrate methods for dealing with a crisis developing, utilizing, and managing a “multidisciplinary team”, and function cooperatively with outside agencies and organizations in developing long lasting partnerships even after the crisis is over.

While we will present a single crises scenario to demonstrate how the methods for dealing with the crisis are employed, we will also show how they can be applied to other settings, and then other issues.

The single case involves a clergy member who sexually abuses young boys within his charge.  We will identify and define some of the issues that come up, including; •the effects people within the organization taking opposing sides to the same crisis• the demand for “closure” and “healing”, before the crisis is even over •the long term effects of crisis• the need for “debriefing” at various points in institutional crisis.  We will also identify other common issues that come up.

Participants, who could be administrators, supervisors and experienced direct care workers, will begin to apply the proposed structure, with their own roles and institutions, to a wide range of crisis issues.  We will also explore culture as a factor.

Finally, we will discuss the media, and suggest ways that their involvement can be made to •enhance or repair the image that may have been caused to an organization at the time the crisis arose• educate the public about the individual organization and issue that developed from the crisis.

Using a team teaching approach and some video footage from our case, as well as demonstration, we will actually explain how the team is formed issues that come up and involve the audience in solving problems that are inherent in any crisis.