A Lenten Offering "with Hope in Mind"
Lent- (in the Christian Church) is the period preceding Easter, which is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church, it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, and so includes forty weekdays (Oxford Dictionary).
Lent is upon us, and with it comes the opportunity to practice a spiritual discipline: to repent, and/or fast/abstain from some habit. But did you know it can also be a time to take up a new habit or spiritual practice? The 40 days of Lent can be a commitment to participate in a charity, or offer help to a neighbor, learn about social justice, attend meetings or classes, anything to help us grow more like Christ, deepen our compassion, and put into practice the faith we proclaim.
With the recent, tragic death of Shelley Thompson, the Memphis woman who had been staying in a care home and was found frozen to death in front of City Hall last week, this is an appropriate time to offer help to persons or families dealing with mental health issues, and to raise awareness of the many problems surrounding access to care and treatment for persons living with these disorders. This is a good season to take on acts of kindness and compassion for those whose lives are impacted by mental illness.
There is help available; it is just not yet accessible enough to everyone who needs it. It is difficult to navigate the healthcare system, especially so for those without health insurance. For persons struggling with a mental disorder, without an advocate working on their behalf, they fall through the cracks, and in these cases, to fall through the cracks can be fatal. We need advocates, education and training and of course, more accessible healthcare. One of the best advocates we currently have is NAMI –the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Throughout this season of Lent, St. John’s will be offering a class from the National Alliance for Mental Illness. The local Memphis chapter of NAMI will be presenting “With Hope in Mind” on Monday nights at 6:00pm in The Room outside the Chapel. This class is for anyone who has a friend or family member with mental illness, and could benefit from training, education and support to cope with the impact it can have on our lives.
Additionally, this training aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to raise awareness of the support that is available to all who are impacted by these disorders. There will only be eight sessions, and you are encouraged to attend them all. They will begin on Monday night, Feb. 5 and end on Monday night, March 26. You will receive a certificate of completion for having attended this training. Call Marcus Boyd at NAMI to sign up for this class at 901-725-0305. **Space is limited – you must register with Marcus to attend.
It could be life changing for you or someone you love. Hope always is.
Blessings and Peace,