ABOUT FAITHBRIDGE PORTLAND
FaithBridge Portland is a non-profit organization providing culturally specific opportunities for women emerging from trauma and/or life transition to reconnect in a deep and life transforming way with their faith. These women could be emerging from abuse, abandonment, incarceration, and/or addiction. Through aspirational weekly workshops, FaithBridge provides space for women to heal and recover using faith as an anchor.
Through facilitated workshops and events, FaithBridge Portland seeks to create and hold space for women who wish to heal in a way that honors their faith and are culturally affirming. Please note, however, that women of any faith or no faith at all are welcome.
FaithBridge Portland was founded in 2019 by Lisa Saunders. Lisa serves as Executive Director and Lead Program Facilitator.
FAITH AS AN ANCHOR
FaithBridge uses its faith centered healing curriculum called “Live Again”. Why do we put such an emphasis on faith? According to the Religious Landscape Study by Pew Research Forum (2014) nearly 8 in 10 (79%) of African-Americans identify as Christian, and historically faith has always been a central part of the culture of Black folk.
However, a quick perusal of typical holistic wellness offerings in treatment programs, especially those run by majority culture, reveal that they may be vastly more popular in those spaces, but not necessarily in Black and Brown spaces. While not seeking to make a judgment of those practices, the reality is that those who desire to closely adhere to fundamental tenets of their traditional faith find that some of these other spiritual practices are not in alignment with how they practice their faith. Oftentimes, faith believing folk have to decide whether or not to participate in wellness modalities that are contrary to their faith, which in and of itself can be stressful, or suppress part of their cultural identity to appear palatable to majority culture and fulfill mandated treatment plans. Black women in particular frequently find themselves in this sort of predicament in a variety of situations on a daily basis (see the work highlighted in “Shifting” by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden). In our view, this is another form of harm and trauma.
The Faithbridge Healing Model allows and celebrates the full expression of healing with faith in an authentically cultural way.
HEALING AT CENTER
As we use faith as our anchor at Faithbridge,healing is at the center of our work. Our workshops observe trauma-informed practices and place a woman’s right to heal at the center of all we do. Systems often place “treatment” at the center while never asking “why are you here?”. At FaithBridge Portland, we believe trauma entered through a door, and while treatment is needed to stop the immediate effects of self harm, trauma will keep coming through the open door until it is shut. That is why deep healing must occur. While providing services through a trauma-informed lens is important, it is also necessary to acknowledge clients’ aspirations and desire for healing. Just because an agency or program is trauma-informed does not mean it meets the holistic needs of Black people and people of color. FaithBridge Portland expressly serves Black women and women of color who desire to heal in ways that are culturally- and faith-affirming.
WORKSHOP GOALS AND TOPICS
FaithBridge Portland offers (4) 3-month Healing Cohorts per year using their “LIVE AGAIN” Healing Curriculum. In these gatherings women learn practical ways to heal emotionally and spiritually while simultaneously creating a supportive sisterhood that extends beyond the weekly gatherings. These spaces are safe and judgment free. Strict rules regarding confidentiality will be in place. One-on-one coaching and mentoring is also happening simultaneously so that women can be supported as they anchor new, life affirming strategies into their daily lives. And because we know healing is hard work, women receive financial incentives during participation.
The FaithBridge Portland Healing Model is focused on achieving the following three outcomes with the women it serves:
A RELEASING and RECONCILING of trauma and harm
A RECLAIMING of agency, voice and life story
A RECOVERY of a whole and healthy identity
FaithBridge believes Black and Brown women have the right to heal and live well. We believe our cultural roots of faith and wisdom are an essential foundation upon which to rebuild that which has been torn down. We believe we can change the conservation surrounding the things that broke us and reassume control of the narrative of our own lives. We believe that healed women, heal women - and healed women, heal the VILLAGE.