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NAMI FaithNet Newsletter: January 5, 2007

In this issue:

  • The Reverend Chet Watson: Warrior and Saint
  • Grassroots Strategy: Focus on Caregiving Ministries
  • An Open Letter to Pastors
  • Wanted: Interfaith Resources

The Reverend Chet Watson: Warrior and Saint

Since his son was diagnosed with a serious mental illness 17 years ago, Rev. Chet Watson has been both warrior and saint on behalf of those with mental illnesses and their families.

Whether he is soothing the battered hearts of those with mental illnesses or challenging policymakers or fellow clergy to open their eyes to how critical mental health issues are, Fr. Chet leaves a big wake wherever he goes.

In a recent interview, Fr. Chet talked about how individuals and churches can have a greater impact in the lives of those affected by mental illness. Read more

Grassroots Strategy: Focus on Caregiving Ministries

NAMI member Carlene Byron has developed a two-hour training course for helping congregations respond to mental illness. However, as she notes, it takes somewhat of a "sideways" approach. Instead of trying to reach general audiences, the training is targeted toward a particular group: lay people already involved in caregiving ministries.

These people--Stephen Ministers, diaconates, and so forth--are already committed to caregiving as a primary form of service within the congregation, she says, but often feel unequal to the task of helping congregants challenged by their own or their relative's mental illness.

That's where her training course comes in. Read more

An Open Letter to Pastors

Marja Bergen recently had a friend with bipolar disorder say to her, "I've gone to church nearly all my life and I've just heard about mental illnesses mentioned once, and just in passing. When I was hospitalized, some people came from the church, but they just prayed for the devil to leave me."

As a person with mental illness herself, and a person of faith, Ms. Bergen found this tragic. So she posted a letter on her blog calling for congregations – specifically, pastors -- to do something about it. Read more

Wanted: Interfaith Resources

The mission of NAMI's FaithNet is to support people of all religious faiths in mental illness outreach, education, and advocacy. In order to fulfill that mission, we need information and resources from a broader variety of faith traditions than we currently have.

If you are aware of materials, publications, events, Web sites, or persons that address mental illness from a faith perspective, please let us know about them by replying to this newsletter or e-mailing This might include articles, sermons, blogs, presentations, courses, newsletters, etc. We need you to be our eyes and ears so we can truly support the entirefaith community.

Pass It On!

Know of someone who could benefit from the information in this newsletter? Please forward it on, and encourage them to sign-up for their own subscription by visiting New editions are published every 3-4 weeks. 

To learn more about NAMI FaithNet, visit their Web site.

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