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Richmont Team Competes in Chattanooga’s MainX24 Adult Big Wheel Championship

CHATTANOOGA, TN - (December 8, 2014)

 On Saturday, December 6, a group of Richmont Graduate University staff members and Henegar/CBI therapists participated in Chattanooga’s MainX24 Adult Big Wheel Championship. The race, which benefitted the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County (CAHSE), consisted of an adult-sized tricycle race.

 “We loved getting to participate in a fun and unique event that showcases Chattanooga’s Main Street community,” said Richmont Admissions Counselor, Tom Sanders.

 The MAINx24 event runs 24 hours and features a parade, several races, and an open house with small businesses. The event is growing in popularity as funds raised are in support of the Center’s work serving children who have been physically and sexually abused though and helping them therapeutically.

 “The best thing about the big wheel event is that you get to be kids again for the sake of benefiting kids,” said Ed Doreau, a therapist at Richmont’s Henegar/CBI Counseling Center. “You race a goofy and cumbersome big wheel around a track all while laughing and cheering each other on. The best part is that the event helps kids who need to get back in touch with their own childhood because they have lost some of it to trauma. It’s a beautiful and simple example of redemption in action.”

 The team of four Richmont racers and one organizer had a fantastic experience and are already looking forward to competing again next year!

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Richmont Graduate Writes Second Book on Christmas

CLEVELAND, TN – (December 5, 2014)

On November 28, Richmont alumna, Jennifer Hand, published her second e-book, 25 Days to Coming Alive. Featuring 25 story driven devotionals, this book provides an invitation for readers to “come alive” by connecting with the King during advent.

“It was in the early morning hours when I felt the Lord whisper the calling to write this book,” said Hand. “I was in my grandfather’s hospice room, listening to his labored breathing, wondering if it would be his last. Life had stilled and I began to think about the upcoming Christmas season.”

Knowing how busy the holidays can become for many people, Hand hopes her book will serve as an invitation for people to pause and remember the joy and miracles of the story of Christ coming to earth. Currently, the book is available for purchase on Amazon.

In March of this year, Hand released her first book, 31 Days to Coming Alive. It quickly landed on Amazon’s list of bestselling devotionals. The popular devotional helps people easily connect their hearts with Christ in order to come alive in their daily lives. Each daily devotional is written to connect scripture to reader’s hearts using life stories and topics include: coming alive in confidence, coming alive in prayer, coming alive in courage, coming alive in your common, and coming alive in community. These devotions speak to the reader’s soul and the heart at the end of each day and include a few questions or directives to practically apply the concepts.

After graduating from Richmont in 2012, Hand started Coming Alive Ministries to help people come alive in Christ through counseling, conferences and written resources. Today, Coming Alive Ministries provides opportunities for women to come alive in Christ through conferences and retreats, counseling, and written and multimedia resources. In particular, the conferences are designed to encourage attendees to live alive in Christ through worship, the Word, laughter, fellowship and fun. While teaching approximately 40 retreats and conferences a year across the globe, Hand also engages missionary families in counseling as a professional counselor.

Richmont Professor and Recent Graduate Collaborate to Create “Ministry and the Mind”

ATLANTA, GA – (December 3, 2014)

Dr. D. Jason Hayes, Assistant Clinical Professor of Counseling at Richmont, along with master’s student and Pastor, DeVon Mills, are collaborating to create “Ministry and the Mind.”  Intended to act as a parachurch ministry, Ministry and the Mind will educate and equip pastors and lay-leaders to better assist congregants struggling with mental health issues, addictions, and other life events that necessitate pastoral counseling. This also includes helping pastors know when they should consider, and how to go about, making a referral to a professional counselor.

“Today, like never before, pastors are facing complex emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs in their congregations,” said Dr. Hayes. “The goal of Ministry and the Mind is to equip pastors to know how to best meet these multifaceted issues.”

The two will offer their first training workshop, Effective Pastoral Counseling in a Defective World, on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The workshop will cover topics such as “Who Comes to Church?” which examines the prevalence of mental illness, addictions, and survivors of childhood abuse in the general population and what that looks like in a local congregation.

Similarly, Dr. Hayes’ session on the Millennial Generation will address issues unique to working with this population. Regarding the Millennial Generation, the Pew Research Foundation states, “They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They’re less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.”

Other topics to be discussed during February’s workshop include an introduction to basic counseling skills, what authentic relationships look like in regard to counseling, and a question and answer session. The workshop will also be recorded and DVDs will be available for purchase shortly after.

 “The composition of the church has shifted dramatically over the past few years,” said Pastor Mills. “Dr. Hayes and I feel it is imperative that the local pastor be as educated and well equipped as possible in order to address the myriad problems affecting those who attend their churches.”

The workshop will begin at 9:00a .m. and end at 2:00 p.m. Registration is $50.00 per person and includes lunch. To register, read details and download directions for the February 21 training visit: http://ministryandthemind.com.

Richmont Participates in Giving Tuesday

We have a day dedicated to giving thanks and today, Giving Tuesday, is a day for giving back.

Richmont Graduate University is joining with charities, families, businesses, and students around the world to dedicate today to celebrating generosity and giving back. Would you join us by making a special gift to Richmont?

The community we enjoy at Richmont isn’t accidental – it’s intentional and effective. The Lord has faithfully guided our administrative steps, spoken through our faculty, and encouraged our students as they answered His call on their life. We are humbled and grateful for His many blessings.

In turn, we are committed to “giving back” to the communities where we have campuses. We do this by professionally training students as counselors and ministers while also hosting a network of counseling centers that provide an average of 24,000 counseling sessions every 12 months. Our students and professors also continue to receive national recognition through their test scores, research initiatives, publications, and conference presentations.

Your gift this Giving Tuesday will create financial margin that allows our mission to continue to thrive.

This fall, because a friend of the university has generously contributed the final $200,000, we are now $500,000 away from finishing our $2.1 million goal of transitioning the Atlanta campus to its new location. While this relocation budget is in addition to our daily operating costs we are looking forward to having a permanent home in Atlanta like the faculty, staff and students enjoy in Chattanooga. For alumni who support the university this winter, your gifts will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the Alumni Advisory Council.

Your gift matters to us! As millions around the globe participate in Giving Tuesday would you consider joining them by giving to Richmont? You can give online now via Richmont’s web site. After you do, share it with your friends via #GivingTuesday.

We continue to have wonderful opportunities to advance God’s work of healing, restoration and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches and communities. Thank you in advance for giving generously to support what the Lord is doing through Richmont.

 

Richmont Professor Writes Children’s Book about Christmas

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (November 14, 2014)

Dr. Erica Skidmore, Assistant Clinical Professor of Counseling at Richmont, along with her husband, Rev. Ben Skidmore, have written a children’s book for Christmas. The book, A Bed for the King, is the familiar story of the Nativity but with a twist. Told from the perspective of the animals present for Jesus’ birth, A Bed for the King is a story about how God uses our willingness to give to others, even if we feel we do not have much, in order to build His Kingdom.

“I believe the Lord gave us the idea for A Bed for the King out of our desire to teach our own children that Christmas is about more than just presents,” said Dr. Skidmore. “Every December, we have the opportunity to celebrate the coming of Christ. We also have a chance to begin the New Year focusing on the gifts of the season – caring for others, compassion, and kindness.”

“The Christmas season is a time when, more than any other season, people are inspired and encouraged to reach out to their neighbor in kindness and giving,” said Reverend Skidmore. “Then somehow, by December 26, the kids are complaining that they’re bored, the checking account is low, and kindness and giving are often after-thoughts. We hope A Bed for the King will be a way for people to have a new experience on December 26 – one in which families can look back at the positive memories of the lasting impact on the Kingdom they have created by engaging with each other and their community.”

The book also includes instructions and activities for families to use in order to put the book into practice. The activities offered were influenced by Dr. Skidmore’s experience as a clinical psychologist and Reverend Skidmore’s experience in ministry and each one encourages acts of kindness and seeks to create family traditions around the real meaning of Christmas.

After reading the book, Dr. Gary Moon, former President of Richmont, and the Executive Director of the Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center said, “Writing a children’s book is not easy; I know, I have tried. The good ones engage the child and stirs imagination. The really good ones do that while causing a tear or a smile to form in the eye of the adult reader. A Bed for the King is a really good children’s book about the heart of Christmas – and it is superbly illustrated. I know. It made me cry.”

For a peek into the pages of A Bed for the King or to get your copy in time for Christmas visit http://www.onpurposepress.com/a-bed-for-the-king.

Richmont Professor Travels to Moldova to Train Counselors

ATLANTA, GA – (October 28, 2014)

This October, Vanessa Snyder, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Richmont, traveled to Moldova to conduct research and provide training on a trauma treatment model for staff working with victims of sex trafficking. Partnering with Hope for Justice, Snyder has traveled and trained with the organization in the past. This trip, however, focused on teaching the organization’s residential workers in aftercare shelters best practices within the three phase “heart trauma model.” Ideally, aftercare therapists will be better equipped to offer a more holistic approach to their clients who have experienced immense adverse life experiences.

Moldova-1“There is such a strong focus on the rescue of children and women who are being trafficked. While this is a necessity, it can, at times eclipse an equally desperate need for quality aftercare services,” said Snyder. “Having evidence based treatment for survivors of such complex trauma and organizations that are trauma-informed is a passion of mine.”

A 2008 graduate of Richmont, Snyder will be completing her degree in December from Regent University with her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision. Her areas of research interests include: sexual abuse and trauma; trauma effects on the God perception; and complex trauma model protocol used for human trafficking. With her teaching experience and specialized research, her relationship with Hope for Justice has grown over the last three years. Later this month, Snyder plans to speak at the organization’s national conference in Nashville, Tennessee to present her research and trip experiences.

A licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, Snyder’s work in Moldova is not only preparing aftercare workers to offer whole-person focused treatment, but the data she collects and studies from the shelters informs future service provision and therapeutic practice across the counseling field. Best practices in aftercare shelters is a passion of Snyder’s and her studies influence individual treatment models, self care for clinicians, and future organizational development.

Richmont Faculty to Present at the CAPACITY Conference in October

ATLANTA, GA – (October 10, 2014)

This October, Dr. Keny Felix, Richmont’s Dean of the Schools of Counseling and Psychology and Dr. Leland Eliason, the Founding Dean of Richmont’s School of Ministry, will be speaking at the 2014 CAPACITY Pastors and Leaders Conference in Austell, Georgia.

The three-day conference is boutique style allowing the 500 attendees to select plenary sessions and workshops that span a wide range of leadership conversations. According to the conference web site, the weekend is specifically “designed to equip and empower pastors and leaders” while challenging “conference attendees to go to the next level of personal development, authenticity and ministerial and organizational growth.”

“Bishop Dale C. Bronner is delighted to have Richmont Graduate University as a Sponsor of this year’s CAPACITY Pastors and Leaders Conference,” said Richmont professor, Reverend Courtney Wright. “We have been working on this conference for almost two years and have planned every detail to make it impactful and intentional. We have designed the conference to benefit those who are in any form of leadership, whether it be pastoral, ministerial or vocational.  Our belief is that it will bless all who attend and take them to a higher level of personal, ministerial and professional excellence.”

This year, both Drs. Felix and Eliason will be presenting during the conference’s breakout sessions. Specifically, Dr. Felix will present, “The Importance of Restoration and Respite for those in Ministry and Leadership” and Dr. Eliason will present, “Authentic Leadership: Is There Any Other Kind?”

“I am very much looking forward to presenting on “Authentic Leadership” this year during the Saturday break-out session,” said Dr. Eliason. “Participants will be invited to visualize how the content applies to their ministry situations and to describe the steps they plan to take to ensure that wanted changes take place. The learning outcomes thus move from information gathering to leadership transformation. I have never been more excited about presenting at a conference for Christian leaders!”

“We know that effective ministry is not a sprint but a marathon,” said Dr. Felix. “To serve well and fulfill their call, ministers and leaders need respite as they navigate through the different seasons of ministry. Otherwise they become at risk of dysfunction, engaging in unhealthy behaviors, or moral failure in response to the pressures of life and ministry. I look forward to sharing on this critical topic, as well as addressing the restoration of ministers and leaders when they fail.”

Alumni Advisory Council Announces $10k Match for Richmont’s Building Campaign

ATLANTA, GA – (October 6, 2014)

On September 15, Richmont’s Alumni Advisory Council announced a dollar for dollar matching gift up to $10,000 in support of the renovations on the new Atlanta campus location.

“This matching challenge is an extraordinarily generous gift to the university,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “Engaged alumni are critical to the health and well-being of Richmont. I am extremely grateful that we have a group of thankful givers who are encouraging others to join them in the process. The margin that they help us create allows us to tenaciously pursue Richmont’s mission.”

The goal of this fundraising effort is to secure funds for classrooms in Richmont’s new location. The hope is that, thanks to this $10,000 match, that a total of $20,000 will be raised to name one of the classrooms in honor of the university’s alumni.

“The 10k Alumni Match Campaign provides Richmont Alumni with a wonderful opportunity to participate in giving and to help celebrate the new campus,” said Lavinia Myers, Chair of the Alumni Council. “This campaign empowers current and future students to enhance their learning while advancing the Richmont community in a tangible way.”

Additionally, current Alumni Council Member, Lisa Byrd, said, “Many of us had life changing experiences during our time at Richmont, and we have an amazing opportunity to give that same experience to current and upcoming students by sponsoring a classroom. Please join us in creating an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and learning that far surpasses any other. There’s no better place to have the foundation for counseling laid!”

Please prayerfully consider how you might participate and support the future of Richmont’s legacy. Our goal is to finish the $10,000 match by December 31. Individuals interested in contributing may connect in the following ways:

  • Click here to give online via the Richmont web site. Simply direct your donation to the “alumni match” in the gift designation drop down window.
  • Phone: 404-835-6118
  • Email: Christianna Luy at cluy@richmont.edu
  • Mail: Richmont Graduate University, 2055 Mt. Paran Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Richmont Professor Travels to Uganda to Teach Counselors

ATLANTA, GA – (September 30, 2014)

This fall, Sonja Sutherland, one of Richmont’s newest faculty members in the School of Counseling, traveled to Mukono, Uganda in collaboration with Regent University to teach master’s level counselors and therapists. This was Professor Sutherland’s third trip to Africa, and her second to Uganda. Her team conducted classes for about 100 people through Uganda Christian University on assessment, counseling as a science, and counselor supervision.

“Having been to Uganda before on evangelist mission, this trip was different because it was a perfect melding of my personal mission and professional passion for teaching,” said Sutherland. “Being able to serve in this way in a country where there are so few counseling and counselor-training resources was very exciting.”

Preparing to finish her Ph.D. dissertation this fall through Regent, Sutherland taught a lecture series on supervision including models of supervision, developing the supervisory alliance, self supervising skills, evaluation, and more. While the lecture series went exceptionally well, Sutherland was reminded of the patriarchal society that still heavily rules families and dictates behavior in Uganda. Because societal traditions remain that are considered clinically detrimental on the individual level, the team was challenged to work collaboratively with Ugandan counselors and counselors-in-training to create unique interventions that would be effective within their cultural norms.

“At present, there are no systems in place to confront some of the more harmful traditions,” said Sutherland. “While my team and I didn’t anticipate encountering such controversial and challenging clinical dilemmas linked to traditional Ugandan culture, I believe we were still able to provide many effective resources to help Christian counselors, counselors-in-training, and the newly established Uganda Counseling Association. Many indicated they felt better equipped to impact their culture in ways they deemed most important and most critical for the public benefit.”

As a result of this trip, Uganda Christian University has expressed an interest in developing a partnership with Richmont in order to welcome more teaching teams and hopefully even counseling interns.

Highland Park Mission to Utilize Sanctuary Space at Richmont

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (September 11, 2014)

After renting the sanctuary at Richmont Graduate University for 10 years, Anglican Church of the Redeemer has purchased the former Trinity Presbyterian Church in Brainerd, Tennessee. With the sanctuary space available at Richmont, the Highland Park Chapel congregation of the Mission Chattanooga signed a lease on August 27, 2014 to utilize Richmont’s property.

“Our partnership with Anglican Church of the Redeemer has been a blessing over the past 10 years. We couldn’t be more excited for them as they begin ministry in their new building,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “Simultaneously, we are excited that a branch campus of the Mission Chattanooga has decided to take advantage of the university’s sanctuary space. We look forward to growing our partnership and friendship for many years to come.”

With worship services beginning in September, the Redeemer staff is looking forward to expanding their ministries and becoming more available to their neighborhood in their new building.

“The Anglican Church of the Redeemer is overjoyed to have her first permanent property,” said Brice Ullman, Redeemer’s Rector. “We have clearly seen God’s provision for us by providing us with this excellent facility; however, we are mindful that God has always provided for us, especially through the kindness and hospitality of Richmont where we had worshiped for nearly a decade.  We are grateful for the relationships we have with these wonderful people and we are glad to know their sanctuary will continue to be used for worship by another congregation.”

Similarly, for the past 18 months, the Highland Park Chapel has met weekly at the St. Andrews Center in downtown Chattanooga. During this time, the church has outgrown their current space as over 100 people are typically in attendance on Sunday morning.

“Those of us at Mission Chattanooga feels called to plant neighborhood specific congregations throughout Chattanooga in order to be a blessing and serve the specific needs of those communities,” said Pastor Ben Ferguson. “Richmont offers an amazing location because it is right in the middle of five important downtown neighborhoods: Highland Park, Bushtown, Churchville, Glenwood and Rigdale. We are overjoyed not only that we will have room to grow in Richmont’s sanctuary, but also that God has given us the opportunity to worship in such a beautiful and historic church. Most of all, we are excited about the future strategic partnership with Richmont Graduate University. The Mission Chattanooga is the home church for many Richmont Students and counselors and I know the Lord will use each of our gifts and abilities to bless and serve the city of Chattanooga.”