Ex-pastor marries ACE concepts, Bible studies to heal wounds of childhood trauma

It wasn’t your everyday experience, hearing Bible verses mixed with particulars from epidemiology and neurobiology in the same breath. But that’s what Dave Lockridge was doing as the 20 people in his Monday night ACE Overcomers class at Gateway Community Church in Merced, CA, busily scribbled in their workbooks.

Lockridge – a grandfather, and former pastor and businessman – is executive director of ACE Overcomers, an organization he created to provide programs to “overcome addiction, depression, anxiety, and anger caused by a childhood filled with abuse, neglect and household dysfunction.”

He was pastor of a small church in nearby Atwater, CA, when his wife, Susan, director of medical staff services for Mercy Medical Center of Merced, invited a guest speaker to describe the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACE Study). That got him thinking about the lifelong consequences of childhood trauma. What sealed his fate was a speech by Dr. Vincent Felitti, co-founder of the ACE Study, at a meeting sponsored by the Family Resource Council of Merced a year later, in 2005. Felitti did a presentation about his groundbreaking epidemiological research project, and related neurobiological research.

After Felitti’s presentation, Lockridge realized that in his efforts to help his most troubled parishioners, he’d been doing everything wrong. He decided that he needed to do something about it, not only for himself, but for other clergy.

“Over more than 20 years, I’ve buried way too many 35-year-olds and 40-year-olds who should have lived longer,” he says. “That’s what motivated me -- the fact that I could go 20 years in the ministry and be ignorant about this.”

“This” was the research showing that early childhood trauma causes much of the adult onset of chronic disease in the U.S.

For the rest of the story, head to the ACEsTooHigh.com news site.

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