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Sunshine from Darkness: The Pathways to Promise Poster Project

May 5, 2006

During the past two decades, Pathways to Promise has been a leader in educating the Faith Community concerning the biologic basis for and associated stigma of serious mental illness.  As well, it has provided resources for aiding congregations that desire to improve their ministry with people living with these disorders. In recognition of the significant role that Pathways has played in helping congregations understand the challenges associated with mental illness and the potential positive effect that congregations can play in recovery of those affected, it has received financial assistance for providing a new, unique resource that may soon be available to all congregations.

A small "start up" grant from NAMI FaithNet Orange County,  CA permitted the development and initial distribution of a poster-packet for use by congregations.  The packet includes a color print of a painting obtained from NARSAD (National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression) titled "Sunshine from Darkness."  Also in this packet are poster-sheets, which can be placed on bulletin boards with the "Sunshine from Darkness " print.  These poster-sheets contain useful information for people living with a mental illness, caretakers, and congregations.

This "start up" grant also made two pilot projects possible.  Poster-packets were supplied to the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Chicago Catholic Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness.  In turn, the UCC distributed the packets to 300 of its congregations and 275 congregations of the Disciples of Christ.  The Chicago Catholic Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness distributed the packets to 300 congregations. 

The following note to NAMI FaithNet from Deacon Tom Lambert of the Chicago Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness (Tom is also past president of NAMI Illinois) indicates the usefulness of Pathways' poster-packet:

“The poster-packet is great! Everyone thinks the image on the poster and the information provided is an excellent way to get our message across. We, through the great efforts of Pathways to Promise and the FaithNet grant, have sent a poster to every parish in Chicago along with information about Pathways to Promise and our Chicago Catholic Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness.

I have been asked by Pathways Awareness Foundation of Chicago, through their "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" program to make presentations to Chicago Archdiocesan Parish "inclusion reps" on the issues facing people with mental illness. Pathways Awareness Foundation works with the Archdiocese on making churches more physically accessible as well as more welcoming to people with disabilities. They have identified inclusion reps at almost every parish in the Archdiocese and meet with them annually. Our commission has been partnering with them lately to include mental illness as a part of their information on disabilities. They have made mental illness their primary topic this year at all their meetings. There are six meetings scheduled throughout the diocese (two counties) over the next six months covering all the parishes in the diocese. The posters will be handed out at the meetings with other information from Pathways to Promise and our Commission. This is a great opportunity for us to raise the awareness and needs of persons with mental illness and their families. The posters are a great visual to bring home the message. 

Thank you for making this possible through your grant. May God continue to bless you and all your good work.”

Tom
Deacon Tom Lambert
ChicagoArchdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness

The quality of these packets and the expressed appreciation for them by the UCC and the Chicago Diocese were significant factors in Pathways receiving a subsequent major grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation, which hopefully will result in this material being placed on the bulletin boards of congregations throughout the United States

To obtain a poster-packet, visit the Pathways' website, www.pathways2promise.org.   


From the NAMI FaithNet Newsletter


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