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Monthly archive: September 2014

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.”

The Richmont Community Counseling Center Welcomes New Bilingual Therapist

CHATTANOOGA, TN (September 10, 2014)

In August, the Richmont Community Counseling Center (RCCC) hired Rebeca Durand as the Center’s new bilingual counselor. Durand will fill Ani Hernandez-Johnson’s role at the RCCC as Johnson transitions to serve clients at Richmont’s Henegar/CBI Counseling Center. This summer, Rebeca has assumed the responsibility of caring for new Latino clients who are seeking services at the RCCC.

“We are excited to welcome Rebeca to the RCCC team and look forward to seeing how God uses her talents in the lives of those she works with through counseling,” said RCCC Director, Michelle Shelley. “We are grateful that the Lord continues to bless RCCC with qualified and gifted therapists.”

R. Durand 2Raised in Miami, Florida, Rebeca holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Lee University. She is half Chilean, half Puerto Rican, fluent in Spanish, and a Certified Pregnancy Coach (CPC). Her clinical background includes serving individual bilingual clients (in international and domestic settings), conducting couples therapy and group therapy, and pre-k/kindergarten counseling. The wife of an Air Force pilot, she is also comfortable working with military personnel and their families.

“I am so glad to be serving clients and providing community services through the RCCC that would otherwise be challenging for many individuals and families to access,” said Rebeca. “This new position allows me to reach a population that has traditionally been underserved due to lack of resources. Being at the RCCC gives me the ability to serve as well as fulfill a calling I believe I was meant to do. It has been a blessing to accept this position and I know great things will come of it!”

Currently, Rebeca is accepting new clients. Individuals, couples and families of all walks of life and insurance status are encouraged to seek reduced-fee counseling and mental health services through the RCCC. To schedule a session, please call (423) 648-2423 or visit the RCCC web page.