The Crowded Bed
The Crowded Bed

Home But Not Alone
Home but Not Alone

Our Children are Not Alone
Our Children are Not Alone

Living Hope for Africa
Living Hope

A New Direction
A New Direction

Traditional Birth Attendants

Wholeness and Healing


Karl Dortzbach

June 2002

Wholeness and Healing is a PhD research project analyzing effective community interventions following violent conflict. Complete text at Wholeness and Healing(1.5m pdf))


Wholeness and Healing In Community is a study that seeks to understand what are the effective interventions, which the African church has made and is able to make in bringing healing to a community gripped by violent conflict. In this study it is assumed that the church is an existent and potentially effective institution with infrastructure that stretches from the smallest community to an international web. In the midst of Africa’s social, political, and economic turmoil there lie both causes and consequences, which are the brokenness of body and mind, emotions and choices. This woundedness, which is both individual and collective, needs to be made whole or the next generations are likely to continue a cycle of violence, hate and mistrust. The biblical concept of shalom is developed and used as the vision toward which interventions must attempt to move. The qualitative methodology and process of this work sought to not only study church interventions but to assist in the transformation of church leader thinking about their role.

This study has three primary strands: 1) the individual background and experiences of the researcher who has spent nearly thirty years in the midst of conflict on the African continent, 2) a literature review that surveys literature from several disciplines and, 3) a field research. The field research consisted in the filming (or securing already made films) of nine situations in which there was a claim made that community healing had either occurred or had been assisted through a specific set of interventions. The film from these nine situations in five countries (eight in Africa) were then edited into nine 15-30 minute film documentaries which were screened in their entirety to four different focus groups of African church leaders for their evaluation and reflection. Their evaluations are reported and evaluated in this study. In order to comprehend the study and its findings, it is strongly recommended that the films be viewed even though they are summarized here in written form.

A list of effective interventions is the outcome of this study. This is perhaps the most comprehensive listing of holistic healing interventions. A potential use for this catalogue is suggested. It is recommended for church leaders as well as Non Governmental Organizations, which seek to work in situations of violence on the African continent.