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FaithNet Newsletter: September 2008

In this issue:

  • Craig Rennebohm on "Grace Matters"
  • Teaming up to Bridge Differences in New York
  • New SAMHSA Toolkit Released
  • National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding

Craig Rennebohm on "Grace Matters"

Craig Rennebohm, a street chaplain who has ministered for 21 years with people who have mental illness and are homeless, will appear on "Grace Matters," the radio ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In an interview conducted by host Peter Marty, Craig will share his own journey, the gift of companionship, and the healing presence of God in all our lives, together with a vision of faith congregations as centers of compassion and support for those facing mental illness. Craig and Peter's conversation is meant to encourage us to open up the topic of mental illness in our congregations.

Craig is the principal author of a new book, Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets, a resource on spirituality and mental illness.

The interview will be aired on stations around the U.S. and internationally Sunday, October 12 (date may vary from station to station). To locate a radio station in your area and find out the time of the broadcast, visit Grace Matters.

Teaming up to Bridge Differences in New York

For the past three years, the Free Synagogue of Flushing, New York, has organized a choral concert featuring not just Jewish music, but also music of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and Muslims.

The concert is one of several interfaith activities that take place in Flushing. In addition, a team of interreligious leaders also works to run Queens Counseling Services, a program of the Foundation for Religion and Mental Health.

Mental health professionals and pastoral leaders provide services to people of various faiths. Supported by roughly a dozen community-based organizations, the program offers counseling in English, Persian, French and Spanish. In the past, providers have also spoken Chinese, Russian and Korean.

"I have worked with people of Catholic, Christian, Muslim and Hindu faiths," Paul Engel, executive director of the Flushing Jewish Community Council, said. "We work with everyone and have used their religions as a strength in their therapy." Read the full story on-line.

New Toolkit Aimed at Supporting Community- and Faith-Based Service Providers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new toolkit, "Sustaining Grassroots Community-Based Programs: A Toolkit for Community- and Faith-Based Service Providers." Grassroots community- and faith-based treatment and recovery providers are concerned about continuing critical services for people affected by substance abuse and mental health disorders. This toolkit is designed to help these organizations plan for long-term survival.

The toolkit contains useful tips and planning worksheets within six booklets that cover:

  • Strategic planning
  • Organizational assessment and readiness
  • Effective marketing strategies
  • Financial management
  • Fund development and fund raising
  • Results-oriented evaluations

Click here  for the link to the downloads

National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding

October 7, 2008 (Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week)

The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understandinghas been designated as the Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is first week in October of each year. Mental illness networks and faith leaders are urged to work together so that they may recognize and prepare for this day in a way that works best for each faith community.

The prayers and actions of both faith communities and secular organizations (e.g. NAMI, NMHA, DBSA, OCF, ADAA, etc.) are needed to restore mental wellness in America. In seeking God's guidance, we can recommit ourselves to replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth and love in order to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness.

For more information, visit Mental Illness Awareness Week


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