More than likely, you have witnessed the church’s silence on mental illness firsthand. If your church is anything like mine, you hear lots of requests during Sunday services to pray for “Aunt Judy who’s having surgery next week” or for “My neighbor who just found out she has cancer.” But you rarely hear prayer requests for someone who is clinically depressed or hospitalized for mental illness or struggling to pay for out-of-pocket therapists. We do not talk about the father with a newly diagnosed panic disorder or about the teen who tried to take his own life. Few people share these stories because we have not established the necessary bonds of trust within our congregations. Our churches don’t feel safe, or perhaps aren’t safe, for these concerns. We have work to do.
—Elizabeth Hagan, Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together (Upper Room Books, 2021)
What might it look like for your faith community to build trust and enable more honest conversation about mental illness? Join the conversation.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
—Psalm 9:10 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Lord, grant me the patience and grace to listen, the courage and wisdom to question and speak; and the bravery to create safe space for tough topics.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Churches are not immune to violence, as we have seen from shootings at houses of worship across the nation. The challenge for faith communities is how to prepare for and respond to potential violence. In Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, author Rosalind Hughes asks congregational leaders to examine whether their operational and security policies are consistent with gospel values. Learn more here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.