Steps of Ministry
As we attempt to establish or expand ministry with those affected by a mental illness in our congregations, it is helpful to remember the importance of the simple things. A hug and a smile are worth a lot. Paul Tournier, the famous French theologian and physician, made the following statement in A Listening Ear:
"We are always looking for a grand program of action, full of great ideas, when the thing is to begin by obeying the little ideas."
As you read this discussion of eight steps in establishing ministry given at the 2003 NAMI Oregon Convention, it is important to note that a successful program requires ministry to, with and from those with a mental illness.
Mental Illness and Faith Community Outreach
Deacon Tom and Rita Lambert of the Commission on Mental Illness of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago have produced a brief but comprehensive booklet for equipping faith communities for mental illness ministries.
Sections within this 22-page guide include an overview of the need of people and families affected by mental illness, the role that the faith community can play, theological bases for a faith response, and practical resources such as sample prayers, newsletter articles, and workshops
What the Faithful Can Do
Although this excellent booklet is written for Christian congregations, almost all of it is applicable for those of any faith. It has been prepared for your use by Tess Halle of Wheaton, Illinois. It is the prayer of Tess, who has a mental illness, that all congregations will be more supportive with those living with one of these disorders.
This booklet is presented as 4 separate sections. Click on any of the links below to access each section:
The “Do”s and “Don’t”s of Ministry
NAMI member and advocate Jan Lutz shares this list of guidelines for how faith communities can provide care and support to persons with mental illness and their families.
These questions posed by the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network (PSMIN) are pertinent for congregations of all faiths.
These succinct nine suggestions are useful as an insert in bulletins for worship services any time, but particularly during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October and during Mental Health Month in May.