On the Way Together: Resources for Addressing Mental Health
The Saint Paul Area Synod is pleased to announce receipt of a grant from ELCA Disability Ministries to expand access to educational opportunities for our rostered ministers around mental health. These are live concerns in every ministry context, and clergy are often the first point of contact. These grants are designed to help you and your congregation stay current with lay education about mental health.
Our grant creates a resource pool for mini-grants to our rostered ministers, and centers on this set of learning goals:
- Rostered and lay leaders learning together: Because rostered ministers and their congregants share in the work of being a community marked by dignity, justice, and care for one another, the pastor or deacon would be required to participate with at least one lay leader from their congregation, whose registration would also be covered by the grant.
- Learning to teach: The attendees will develop a plan for how to share what they learn with their congregation. (This could take a variety of forms: sharing resources; facilitating conversations with youth, adults or across generations; developing resources for worship; making a covenant as a community to talk more openly; hosting listening sessions to learn from people living with mental illnesses; learning how to advocate for more robust mental health care, etc.)
- Connections between congregations: We often talk about our life in the Saint Paul Area Synod in terms of the Greek meaning of the word “synod”—on the way together. Part of what it means to be synod, then, is to share our journeys with one another. The final piece of this grant would be plan how you will share what your congregation learned and is learning, sharing resources so others can learn from your experience. This could be done as a blog post or brief video wrap-up posted to the synod's website, a Zoom call or other idea. Our goal is to become a more aware, more just, more connected community of faith.
There are numerous potential scenarios for mental health training in our area. For example, a faith community might attend a workshop, contract with an organization or professional to present a workshop or a series of Zoom conversations with interested members and staff, or host conversations based on a book. This year's pandemic, economic and societal concerns have heightened the need for mental health resources in congregations. In light of that, applications can also be made to have a pastoral care or counseling professional work directly with a congregation, tailoring the learning to the specific congregation related to trauma, grief, etc.
As you begin to plan your grant project, you may wish to consider these potential resources:
How to Apply:
Applications for grant funds must be submitted under the name of a rostered minister on the synod's active roster. A successful application for grant funds will include:
- name and contact information for the primary contact (rostered minister)
- amount requested (up to $500)
- a description of the proposed content
- the cost of the training/workshop
- any costs associated with sharing the learning with the congregation
- comments on how you plan to achieve each of the learning goals listed above
Note: Grant plans may be subject to further conversation with synod staff.
SUBMIT APPLICATIONS TO:
Michael Gold in the synod office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Call 651-224-4313
A Final Note:
As we deepen our commitment to being a synod that learns together, these mini-grants will help raise awareness and reduce stigma, which also leads to more connectedness, less isolation and shame, and, ultimately, healthier congregations. There is so much that a grant like this cannot address, but it is a start. It can help bring the gifts of openness, connectedness and hope to communities.
As the ELCA's social statement, The Body of Christ and Mental Illness (2011) puts it: “Individually and collectively, ELCA members have the power to proclaim God’s love, fight for justice, give care, and change the way people with mental illness are treated.” We are on the way together.