This month there is an interesting coincidence taking place. On May 20 we will celebrate Pentecost within Christianity and within the Disciples of Christ we will mark Mental Health Sunday. This struck me as I prepared worship material for the month of May and prepared for the work of the Mental Health Initiative workshops that take place this Saturday at the Regional Assembly in Columbus, GA.

The Mental Health Initiative is a pilot program of the National Benevolent Association partnering with the Georgia Region for 2 years. The second year ends at the end of this year. We have constructed a framework for the MHI team in Georgia to continue to work and prepare new participants to become involved.

The Mental Health Initiative seeks to “cultivate welcoming, educated and inclusive congregations by countering the stigma of mental illness and raising awareness of mental health. By providing care and support for clergy and seminarians. By providing resources and educational support for Disciple congregations, clergy, seminarians, and community members. Encourage collaboration, sustainability and innovation of mental health ministries in congregations and the Georgia region.”

Within the life of a congregation we always remember those who need prayer for health crises. We pray for people fighting cancer, heart problems, injuries of the body and many others. We are more reticent to mention family and friends who struggle with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety issues among others. We pray for the health, total health of people and acknowledge that we need God’s help in our health care, physical as well as mental. Let us set aside our discomfort regarding mental health and acknowledge that discomfort so that we may offer true welcome to people who seek God’s presence in their struggle for full health.

Pray for the Georgia Mental Health Initiative. If you would like to become involved in this work, email GAMHIteam@gmail.com. We need clergy, laity, mental health professionals, and anyone passionate about helping in this mission. Currently we have 6 teams composing the GAMHI team; Executive Administration, Clergy Care and Renewal, Events, Resources, Mental Health Justice, and Communications preparing to carry on this mission within the Disciples of Christ in Georgia.

Shalom, Darrell