Friday, October 21, 2011

How things are changing!

I remember a time not too many years ago, before I wrote A Firm Place to Stand, before Living Room, when I tried to interest various seminaries in town in having someone speak to their counselling students about mental illness. Nothing happened. There was no interest - or maybe I didn't have the credentials - no clout to have my thoughts seriously considered.

But how things are changing!! On November 9th Dr. Sharon Smith will be presenting a three-hour lecture at Regent College in Vancouver on mental health recovery in the church. Caroline Penhale and I will be speaking as well. I will tell my story and will talk about the Living Room support ministry.

Faith communities are more and more starting to see that they have a role to play when one of their congregants struggles with mental illness. And the medical community is more and more starting to recognize that a person's faith plays a big part in his physical and emotional well-being. Sharon Smith of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries is playing a big role in creating better understanding in both worlds.

How I welcome these changes!! Thank you, God!!


Brenda said...

Congratulations Marja, I know that your talk will be informative and uplifting. And it is so true, the role the church plays when someone is struggling needs to be acknowledged and encouraged.

marja said...

Thanks for visiting and for the comment, Brenda. All the best!

Anonymous said...

that is so amazing! I hope that this message will impact future/current christian workers so that there can be a listening ear and understanding when before there was only stigma

Anonymous said...

marja, that is so amazing. the word needs to get out there and I hope this presentation will be very impactful to future church workers of the need for understanding and not stigma

marja said...

Yes, Anonymous, the times are truly changing. If you get a chance to see the fall edition of the bp magazine, much of it deals with the importance of faith. I had a chance to talk about my faith in an interview with Robin Flanigan for the article she wrote, "Have a Little Faith."

An example of how the secular world is starting to get serious about the importance of faith.

This is all very exciting!

Anonymous said...

Having come from a family where my dad suffered from depression and the church's response was to ignore or pray for her unconfessed sin, I am beyond happy this is scheduled.

Is this a public lecture that non-Regent students and staff can attend?


marja said...

Hi Gus,

I believe this lecture is for Regent students - not for the public.

ge' said...

gene said

this is refreshing and encourageing to stay part of God's family and teaching others so we can reach out to them when we need help thank you

marja said...

Hi Gene,

Yes, I believe we as people living with mental illness need to gradually, and with patience, help those who don't understand learn more, though they'll never completely understand. Thing is, we'll have to be willing to come out and be honest about what we deal with. And that - for most people - takes a lot of courage.