Fuller Theological Seminary is excited to announce the first annual Fearmakers Conference, a conference exploring the intersection of fear, horror, and faith taking place on October 7, 2023 in Pasadena, CA. The conference is being hosted by the Uncommon Film Collective, Fuller Brehm Center, and Reality LA church. Uncommon Voices Collective was started in 2016 by Fuller Trustee, alumnus, filmmaker, and businessman Daniel Fong and has since become a hub for discussing unusual and stimulating theology.
The conference will feature sessions with speakers from a range of backgrounds, including mental health professionals, theologians, movie directors and other Hollywood industry experts. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions, small group discussions and large group gatherings. The event is free and we invite all members of the community to join us for this thought-provoking evening.
As an institution, Fuller Theological Seminary is committed to addressing mental illness and spiritual struggles, and this conference aims to provide a safe space to discuss some of these issues. The conference will feature a screening of the short film, REFUSE, followed by a dialogue with film’s co-directors Kenneth Chang and David Lee. This dialogue will provide an opportunity for the audience to engage with the filmmakers on the topics of mental health and addiction in the Asian American community. In commenting on the film, Chang said, “We were hoping to unlock these conversations through storytelling…Jesus could have taught using oration or lectures. But instead he told stories. So I thought storytelling might be the best way to start conversations within my community about mental health.”
REFUSE tells the story of Jonah Chung, a Korean American man who turns to drug use as a way to cope with the grief of losing his father to suicide. Fong hopes to use REFUSE as a catalyst for good and has shared “If I can create a conversation around these issues and inspire someone to get help or reach out to someone, it brings me joy.”
According to the CDC, the leading cause of death for Asian young adults is suicide and yet it is the least likely group to access and use mental health services. Also, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Asian Americans are three times less likely than white Americans to seek help with mental health issues , while suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among Asian Americans. Through REFUSE, UVC and Fuller Seminary hope to raise awareness and generate conversations about these issues.
Fuller Theological Seminary supports a partnership between the City of Pasadena and the County of LA to support mental illness. Uncommon Film Collective is also working on a devotional book about horror stories in the bible, with the aim of encouraging readers to address fear in a positive way. The title of the devotional is “Don’t Look Away: The Horrors of Holy Scripture”. After launching its kickstarter campaign, the book was fully funded in 7 hours and is now promoting a stretch goal.
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Fuller Seminary is one of the largest nondenominational seminaries in the world with a global enrollment of more than 3,000 students in its master’s and doctoral programs. Fuller Seminary students may take classes in person, online, or through a hybrid of the two via campuses in Pasadena, Houston, and Phoenix. Founded in Pasadena, California, Fuller Seminary is committed to providing indispensable, formational education to diverse Christian leaders everywhere. Responding to changes in the church and world, Fuller Seminary is transforming the seminary experience to create a global learning community where leaders can access Fuller Seminary’s traditional graduate programs, as well as non-degree courses through the digital learning platform FULLER Equip, and free resources created by FULLER studio. Fuller Seminary’s distinctive integration of its four major disciplines—housed in the School of Mission and Theology and the School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy—is evident in its range of master’s and doctoral programs, uniquely equipping leaders for innovative, nuanced, and intellectually grounded service in a variety of roles and settings.