6,000-Strong Christian Counselors Conference Focuses on Racial Reconciliation

(Photo: Kyle Sutton)A meeting centered on racial reconciliation held as part of the biennial 2017 World Conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors held in Nashville, Tennessee.

A major Christian counselor organization's international conference, which had an estimated 6,000 attendees, focused their time on the issue of racial reconciliation.

The American Association of Christian Counselors met last week at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, for their biennial 2017 World Conference.

A key part of the proceedings was a report presented last Wednesday by a commission that oversees issues of racial reconciliation.

Expand | Collapse
(Photo: Angela Hunanian)Dr. Mark Crear prays in the closing session of the four-day American Association of Christian Counselors' 2017 World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, held Sept.27-30.

"The commission was formed to advise the AACC on how it can best guide and train its network of nearly 50,000 mental health professionals, Christian counselors, church leaders and other caregivers to foster racial reconciliation," noted the AACC in a statement.

"Recently produced AACC curricula has focused on African-American and Latino communities, as well as policing issues. The group committed to reconvene in 2018 in a public and online forum with the hope of exponentially multiplying the impact of their work and research."

AACC President Tim Clinton told The Christian Post that the 2017 focus on racial reconciliation had its roots in 2015, when the AACC established a Multicultural Division "to help strengthen our commitment to understanding diversity and cultural competency."

"We formed our very first commission on racial healing and reconciliation at the 2015 World Conference and established goals and priorities to help influence the association," explained Clinton.

"Our initiatives at that time included, but were not limited to, the development of racial reconciliation training coursework, international simulcast webinars, a strengthening of the AACC's Multicultural Division and resources, increased dialogue and communication within the organization and more."

Clinton also told CP that by the time of this year's conference, the AACC had taken steps to foster racial reconciliation, including the completion of a course on the matter and partnering with the American Bible Society, which included screening the documentary "Unchained," which focuses on the enduring legacy of American slavery.

"Our leadership team is very proud of the efforts within the division, especially for such a time as this, with the recent challenges experienced in Charlottesville and across the U.S.," added Clinton.

The AACC's World Conference drew attendees from 40 countries and all 50 states.

In addition to racial reconciliation matters, the conference also addressed sex trafficking, abuse and trauma, and featured around 250 workshops on 26 different areas of mental health issues.

In addition to racial reconciliation highlighted at the 2017 conference, AACC Multicultural Division Executive Director Dr. Mark Crear will prepare a report on the issue for the AACC's next organizational meeting, the "Speak Life" National Conference, scheduled to be held in Dallas, Texas, in September 2018.

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook