Friday, May 11, 2007

An amazing meeting

Living Room met today and the afternoon had a party atmosphere. So many of us were there. We had set up four tables joined to each other to make one huge table that will seat 18 people. My co-facilitator thought that perhaps I was overdoing it - and I kind of wondered that as well. Usually we put up three tables which will seat 16. But we ended up with 20 in attendance, an all-time record for us. We had to squeeze a couple of people in on the corners, uncomfortable for them and not something I like to do.

The two ladies who spoke at the service last Sunday told us how they had felt when they shared their story with the congregation. One told us that she had found the experience freeing. Both speakers had received a lot of affirmation after. I know that they were popular after the service ended, with many wanting to speak with them. We celebrated by bringing out a cake with sparklers on it.

Although I'm happy about the success of our support group, I also feel overwhelmed. How long can we continue doing this before it becomes unwieldy? We usually like to have some discussion based on the devotional, but had to forego that today because of lack of time. With ten people in each sharing group, there isn't a lot of time to spare.

I very much want to encourage the formation of more faith-based groups like this and will now have to do some serious work on this. The need is greater than my church and I can respond to adequately. I've decided to write a manual/guide as a tool for churches who wish to do what we have done. But to do a proper job of this I will have to try and get some funding from an organization that shares my vision. I'm working on that.

Please help me pray that I will find a way to spread the Living Room concept to other areas. People who suffer from mood disorders need to have a place where they can get support from others who share their faith in God. It is important to have a place where they discuss both: their mental health issues as well as how God works in their life.

7 comments:

Di said...

God has big plans - Praying for you as you expand his vision in YOU! Last week was a great start!
WAHOO - glad to hear the meeting went so well, despite the challenges of many people!
Love you

zawadi said...

This Group you speak about sounds great, and it's the people who make it wonderful.

Sarah said...

i'm a little late in asking this but is living room only for people with a mental illness or...?

marja said...

Thanks for your encouraging comments Di and zawadi.

Sarah: Living Room is for people with mood disorders. That covers anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders. We also welcome supporters. So far we have one supporter as well as our pastor who usually attends. Twenty is quite a number of people like that to come together. But the feeling in the room is great. We support each other wonderfully.

Syd said...

Marja,

The work you are doing is wonderful. I know that God will continue to richly bless you and you bless others in this marvelous way.

Please keep us posted on your progress in sharing this program with others. I, for one, would like to see it implemented at my church and I know there are countless others who would too!

Oh, and thank you for message on my blog. I know I haven't posted in a while, but I tried to make up for it today! :)

Blessings,
Syd

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
That's great news about your group. And I know the feeling of succeeding at something and then thinking that it may be overwhelming. These days, I just try to be grateful that it worked out, and ask for help so that I don't feel overwhelmed.

That would be great to get funding for your book. I hope you have some good ideas of who might provide it. I'm a former grant writer but I've only done grants for non-profit organizations. Best of luck with this.

Susan

marja said...

Thank you, Syd. When my manual is ready, your church could use it as a tool to help you set up a group. Keep in mind that the facilitator of such a group should have a mood disorder him/herself...yourself maybe?

And thank you, Susan. I have two or three non-denominational organizations in mind who I'm approaching. Their one function is to help faith communities learn how to respond to people with mental illness. Just don't know if they would have money for such a thing as this. I'm not looking to earn anything on it. But I want to use a good editor and there will be the design and production of the thing.

Also, having the backing of such an organization will give the booklet and the whole Living Room concept credibility.