Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mental health week at church

This Sunday's church service is one I very much look forward to. In honor of Mental Health Week (May 7 - 13) our pastor will present a sermon with the title "Out of the Shadows." He will talk about being a caring community for those who are dealing with mental health problems. Three of the members of our Living Room group will talk about their experience with depression and bipolar disorder.

I am so very grateful to have this pastor who has been enthusiastic to learn about mental health problems. He is eager to help in any way he can to provide a church that will give a Christ-like response to those dealing with such problems. Because of his encouragement, and the encouragement of others in the church, Living Room came about and has become a thriving support program, one that is now benefitting over 25 individuals. This support provided me with the courage to facilitate the group.

It is the love and support of this church community, as well as the inspiration provided by Pastor Don's weekly sermons, that encouraged me to write my book, A Firm Place to Stand.

What my pastor and my church, Brentwood Park Alliance Church, is doing to be supportive of people with mental health issues is an example of how well followers of Christ can be of help. For a Christian who struggles with such problems there is nothing as important (next to medication, that is). When I struggle with depression I know there are friends who will be there for me and pray for me. I know they won't be judgmental or say that I'm not right with God. That is great comfort.

If you are reading this and would like to attend our mental health service this Sunday (May 6th) you would be very welcome. The address is 1410 Delta Avenue, Burnaby (close to Brentwood Mall). Service starts at 10:30. And there is no need to dress up.

8 comments:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
Very uplifting post! What a nice idea to have a mental health week at church. How nice to be surrounded by caring people. How great that you can help each other!

Susan

Sarah said...

if only i was still living there.... your pastor rocks you know...

Syd said...

Marja,

I wish I could be there. It sounds wonderful. Fortunately I've found a church in my town that brings a loving, Christian perspective to mental health, all types of addictions and relationship issues. It's a shame that people have to search all over town to find these types of church services - isn't this part of what all churches should be doing?

Keep up the great work. You are tremendous blessing!

shebee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shebee said...

Sorry Marja, I just wrote a comment and then realised that it wasn't very anonymous. I just wanted to thank you for your prayers about this Sunday...I'm sure it will go well if God is on our side (and I know that He is!) Could you also please pray for chal and I tonight as we practise the song and hopefully perfect it? We're having a few timing issues (and I'm having proper breathing issues). That would be of great help! Thanks again Marja
Love Shebee

marja said...

I surely will pray, Shebee, for you and Chalexa, as well as the others who are speaking. I'm so very excited about what is happening tomorrow, feeling very grateful for the three of you who are being so courageous. And I can hardly wait to hear you sing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for doing this.

Love you - Marja

Dream Writer said...

That is so great! There is no support system here like that. I met a woman who has Bipolar and we talk about starting a Support Group but I think the both of us are nervous to get it out there and tell the world that we have bipolar.

I live in a very different lifestyle here...people are very Clicky and a lot of Status baloney goes on.

marja said...

Thank you all - Susan, Sarah, Syd, Shebee and Dream.

Dream: Coming out of the dark and talking about your bipolar disorder does take a lot of courage, especially when you do it the first time. It takes commitment to the cause of reducing stigma. And because of the stigma that is such a reality in our society, not everyone can afford to do it, especially those who need to have careers. It's not always a wise thing to do.

Our church group, Living Room, is a safe place where everything is kept confidential. I don't even let others in the church know who the members are.

It would be possible for you to start a group in your community by advertising in your community newspaper and using a pseudonym. ...just an idea.