Reducing kids’ stress, addiction recovery will be discussed at free lunches integrating science, faith

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sweet young little schoolgirl pulling her hair desperate in stress while sitting on school desk doing homework tired and exhausted screaming crazy isolated on white background in education concept

Contrary to a popular slogan, there is a free lunch—at Bethany Theological Seminary, on April 5 and 9. The two lunches, which are open to the public, will feature talks and discussion that integrate science and religious faith.

On April 5, Beth Mechlin, associate professor of psychology at Earlham College, will speak on childhood stress, including its causes and ways that parents, grandparents and other caregivers can help children.

Emotional stress can be caused by a child’s daily routine as well as traumatic events, Dr. Mechlin noted. “High levels of stress in childhood are associated with a greater risk of developing a variety of psychological and physiological disorders in adulthood,” she said. “However, research has indicated that there are a variety of ways—such as diet, exercise, and a nurturing environment—to reduce the negative impacts of early life stress.”

On April 9, Steve Stoller will speak on the topic of Hope and Healing for Those Who Struggle with Addiction. Dr. Stoller is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine and a fellow in the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

“Drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions afflict over one person in nine, plus many more via collateral damage,” he said. He plans to speak on “what works and what doesn’t work” for addiction recovery, by offering seven specific ways that people can help friends or family members who struggle with addiction.

Both talks begin at 11:30 in the seminary’s building at 615 National Road West in Richmond. Both are free, but registration is required four days in advance, by calling 765-983-1800 or online at FaithAndScienceMeet.com.

These two lunches are part of a larger project for integrating faith and science, which Bethany Theological Seminary has undertaken with a financial grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS is the world’s oldest and largest general scientific society, and it publishes Science magazine.

Based on research showing that many people go to their pastors with questions about science, the AAAS decided to offer funding to Bethany and other seminaries, in order to educate clergy and congregations on issues of faith and science.

As part of this effort, Bethany will host a conference with short TED-style talks by both scientists and Bible scholars on April 25-27. More information is available at FaithAndScienceMeet.com.