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Father Paul Abernathy

Guest expert/host for Session 8

Just a few days before we invited Father Paul to contribute to the Adaptive Space Learning Group, we listened to a panel discussion on “Community as Nexus: building healthy and resilient communities”–part of Pitt’s week-long Civic Action Week series of events. The whole panel was wonderfully insightful and experienced, and their commitment and seasoned wisdom came through in every minute of the session.

In addition to his clearly-communicated passion and clear-sighted practicality, the thing that made us reach out to Father Paul for Adaptive Space is the way he sees the capacity for long-term leadership and thriving community as a guiding principle for choices about near-term action. We can’t wait for his time with us.


Father Paul Abernathy is an Orthodox Christian priest and the founding CEO of the Neighborhood Resilience Project. Since 2011, Fr. Paul labored with the community to build this ministry to address Community Trauma with Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD) – A framework that transforms Trauma Affected Communities to Resilient, Healing and Healthy Communities so people can be healthy enough to sustain opportunities and realize their potential. Under Fr. Paul’s leadership, millions of dollars in food, clothing, furniture, transportation assistance, identification, free health care and emergency relief has been distributed to the Greater Pittsburgh Community. The framework of TICD also includes a Trauma Response Team and Micro-Community Interventions. Community groups from all across the nation have worked with Fr. Paul to be trained in the TICD Framework.

He has a B.A. in International Studies from Wheeling Jesuit University, and holds a Master in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a Master of Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. A former Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army, Father Paul is a combat veteran of the Iraq War.

In addition to his work with the organization, Fr. Paul is and has been a member of multiple community boards and committees to include the Trauma-Informed PA Think Tank, PA State Parole Citizens Advisory Committee, Allegheny County Health Department’s Violence Prevention Community Advisory Board, and is a Foundation of HOPE, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy & Practice board member. He has received numerous community awards to include Eagle Scout, the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 Award, Larry Richert’s Hometown Hero Award, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, and Wheeling Jesuit University’s Fr. Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Alumni Award.

Fr. Paul is the pastor of St. Moses Orthodox Church, a husband and father of two children.


By and about Father Paul

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Trauma is the lens through which many in our community see the world.”

A Post-Gazette story describing the block-by-block approach to “trauma-informed community development” by Father Paul and the Neighborhood Resilience Project.

New York Times: “I won’t be used as a guinea pig for white people”

A New York Times story, headlined “I won’t be used as a guinea pig for white people,” describes attitudes toward early trials of COVID-19 vaccines in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, and the work of Father Paul and other volunteers from the Neighborhood Resilience Project.

Racial reconciliation interview with Fr. Paul Abernathy

Video of a conversation between Father Paul and Dn. Adam Roberts, as part of a series of interviews.

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