Sunday, May 2, 2010

Talking story at Harris United Methodist Church

Today I had the opportunity to speak at one of the oldest Methodist churches in Honolulu, Harris United Methodist Church. This wasn't the normal Sunday gig though. The topic was mental health and what role faith communities can play. What made today unique is that I also invited two persons to speak who also have children with serious mental illnesses. I met Audrey Chandler and Jim Mahalke in my work with NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and both were instrumental in bringing the "Family to Family" program to both the Veterans Administration, and to another nearby church. I wanted the congregation to hear their stories. As Audrey and Jim both spoke, I felt their honesty and compassion extend out to the congregation, and connect in a wonderful way. It was something great to be part of.

Churches are places of healing, communities of love, and a natural fit for events such as "Family to Family" or workshops on mental health and the community. Churches are places for honest sharing and sharing from the heart. Moreover, Jesus calls us to be loving neighbors in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We fulfull a meaningful role by being welcoming to strangers, and caring for them.

Today was a wonderful start, and hopefully in the future, there will be greater links between organizations like NAMI and the church near you.  Thanks to the clergy, Noboku and Rona, and the congregation!


1 comment:

  1. Dear Andy,

    Thank you for participating in this wonderful talk story event on mental illness at Harris United Methodist Church. Events like these featuring family members sharing from their experience are powerful ways to get our message across. Cultivating alliances with the faith community are important means of building understanding and support in the community for people living with mental illnesses.

    Thank you Audrey and Jim for sharing your stories.