When Rose Hardy was ordained a minister in the Unity Fellowship Church a few years ago, she hoped to hide her collar at her day job.
As coordinator for outpatient mental health care at Barnert Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, she feared that the two worlds didn't mix. "I was clinically trained not to go there, to stay away from religion," she said.
And likewise, on Sundays, attending her Newark church was a time to refuel spiritually, to leave her workweek at the door.
But one afternoon in 2000, while volunteering at her church's drop-in center, she clearly saw the need for bringing the two sides of her training together. Since then, a pilot program in New Jersey called PEWS -- Promoting Emotional Wellness and Spirituality – has enabled her to do just that. Read more…
Rev. Barbara F. Meyers leads a mental health ministry based in her congregation, Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont, California.
She says she is called to do this work largely because of her own personal experience as a mental health consumer.
She has written the curriculum The Caring Congregation Handbook, a program for educating a congregation about how to be more intentionally supportive of people with mental illnesses and their families.
The program, suitable for adults and youth, has both an abbreviated 2-workshop version and a more comprehensive 7-workshop version. There is also a workshop for children, as well as one designed to train people who will become leaders and teach the workshop series to others.
This program has been pilot tested in Barbara’s congregation and at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley. Several other congregations have begun to teach it. To find out more, visit Caring Congregation Curriculum Web site. The 2-workshop version can be downloaded for free.
Streaming video previews are now available for the following resources from Mental Health Ministries:
The above clips are taken from their Mental Health Mission Moments resource. MHMM is an ecumenical resource to help clergy and lay persons address mental health issues in the context of a worship service or with small groups.
Each of the nine 2-3 minute DVD segments presents a mental health issue, puts a face to the issue, and ends with a message of hope.
There is an accompanying Resource Guide with sermon starters, liturgical material, additional scriptural references and other resources to help educate congregations about mental illness.
To preview the videos or access other resources, visit www.mentalhealthministries.net.
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