A group of approximately 12 Old First affiliated folks joined on Saturday for a three-hour Zoom meeting on what it means to be a welcoming, inclusive, supportive, and engaging congregation (W.I.S.E.) as it pertains to those with mental health disorders. This meeting couldn’t have been timed better, as May is Mental Health Awareness month and Sunday, May 17th is Mental Health Sunday. The current working group consists of psychologists, writers, parents, medical affiliated folks, clergy, and members of our community who have personal experience or interest in mental health disorders.
There are a few action steps that our group is working on to start this process of moving towards becoming W.I.S.E. Some of these steps include shaping language within our working group and then sharing that with the wider congregation so that we are respectfully discussing mental and emotional illnesses. We are considering a Sacred Conversation on Mental Health book club that would function similar to the Sacred Conversation on Race book club. One of our other ideas is a “mental health moment” on a regular basis during worship to help connect the wider congregation with the personal experience of those willing to share. As this was our first meeting, we are still coming up with our covenant, goals, timeline, and the needs of our group to start the work with the congregation.
If you are interested or would like more information about the W.I.S.E. process or what a WISE congregation is, you can talk to me or email the office and be in touch with another member of the team.
You can also look at the UCC’s Mental Health Network page through this link:
Thank you and look for more information soon!