Keynote & Plenary Speakers
Rev. Dr. Brian McLaren
"Addiction, Stories, and Church"
In his work as a college English instructor, minister, and writer and with his studies in literature and theology, Brian McLaren is interested in the stories by which we frame our individual and group lives. Some stories, he believes, easily facilitate addiction, while others promote recovery. In this session, he'll talk about how faith communities can help people change stories and change their lives.
"Making Church Services an Asset in Recovery"
Liturgy is a planned series of spiritual practices to be done together as a group. Too often, though, these practices have little or no effect, and become meaningless rituals. How can we re-envision our gatherings for public worship to become experiences of liberation, encouragement, and well-being to help everyone in their work of recovery and growth?
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors, church planters, and lay leaders called Convergence Leadership Project. He works closely with the Center for Progressive Renewal/Convergence, the Wild Goose Festival and the Fair Food Program‘s Faith Working Group. His most recent joint project is an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story.
Karen Casey, Ph.D
Plenary Session #1
"Codependency, Addiction & Spirituality"
Karen Casey has more than 44 years as an active member in AA and Al-Anon. She made a commitment to women and men in recovery from the moment she walked through the doors of a 12 Step meeting in the fall of 1974. Her work as a writer and workshop leader has broadened to include books for people on any spiritual path. A Course in Miracles has been an added focus for nearly thirty years.
Her first book: EACH DAY A NEW BEGINNING: DAILY MEDITATIONS FOR WOMEN, was published in 1982. It has sold more than 3 million copies and has been followed by an additional 28 books. Her recent books have focused on relationships and how to live more peacefully within them.
Special Guest (invited, pending)
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Klobuchar is the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the United States Senate who has built a reputation of putting partisanship aside to fight the drug crisis. She has led the effort to pass landmark pieces of legislation to combat the opioid epidemic and has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. In February 27, 1918, Klobuchar and Senators Portman, Whitehouse (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)and others introduced the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 Act. The bill would increase the funding authorization levels for the CARA programs enacted in 2016 and put in place additional policy reforms to help combat the opioid epidemic.
The misuse of opioids, both legally prescribed and illicitly obtained, has become a public health epidemic nationally and in Minnesota. The United States uses 80% of the world’s painkillers, despite having less than 5% of the world's population.
Dr. George E. Vaillant
"The Language of the Heart"
Dr. Vaillant will offer a reformulation of the 12 steps and why together with home group attendance they lead to lasting sobriety.
Dr. Vaillant is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Vaillant has spent his research career charting adult development and the recovery process of schizophrenia, heroin addiction, alcoholism, and personality disorder. He spent 35 years as Director of the Study of Adult Development at the Harvard University Health Service. The study has prospectively charted the lives of 824 men and women for almost 70 years. His published works include Adaptation to Life, 1977, The Wisdom of The Ego, 1993, The Natural History of Alcoholism-Revisited, 1995, and Aging Well, 2002,Spiritual Evolution, 2008 and Triumphs of Experience, 2012/
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Vaillant did his residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and completed his psychoanalytic training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. He is a past Class A trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous and is currently on the Steering Committee of Positive Psychology.
Plenary Session #2
“Trauma Across Generations: Addiction and Race”
Saturday 1:45-3:00 P.M.
This presentation will increase awareness of the link between historical racial trauma, conscious or unconscious bias and the challenges to effective sustainable recovery in communities color. Also, why culturally sensitive trauma informed strategies are the most caring thing we can do individually and collectively.
Mr. Simmons has over 29-years’ experience as an alcohol and drug counselor and behavioral consultant specializing in practical culturally sensitive trauma informed strategies addressing chemical dependency, interpersonal violence, historical trauma and working with African American males. He has established a working relationship with Minneapolis Health Department, Ramsey County, SAMHSA and other organizations around the state of Minnesota and the country.
Sam was awarded the 2009 Governor’s Council on Faith and Community Service Initiatives Best Practices Award for his work with MN Department of Veterans Outreach Services, prison reentry and in the African American community. He is an Adverse Childhood Experience Interface Trainer in the state of Minnesota.
Sam received the 2016 Healing the Hidden Wounds of Racial Trauma award and the Black Tear Drop Award for his vision and leadership in culturally sensitive trauma informed work in the community and around the country and in 2017 the Champions for Children Award for his trauma work with parents. He is co-host of "Voices” radio show on KMOJ FM that addresses issues of the urban community. Sam is co-creator of the Community Empowerment Through Black Men Healing conference called “Groundbreaking and Visionary”. For that work in 2018 he received recognition from both Minneapolis and St. Paul Mayors and Minnesota’s’ Governor.
The Rev. Bishop Penrose Hoover
Saturday, 6 p.m. & Sunday Worship
Bishop Hoover served as bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Born in Harrisburg, Pa., Hoover received a bachelor of arts degree in 1968 from Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, and a master of divinity degree in 1972 from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). He shares his own personal story of hope and personal journey of recovery from addiction and will preach at our closing Communion Service.