Journeying together in Christ

Mental Health Awareness Workshop With Dr. Mike Condra, Director of Counseling services at Queen’s University

Saturday February 7th, 2015
9:00 am – 12:30 pm (coffee at 8:30 am and with mid morning break)

Cost:  by donation

(Please note that there is a significant cost associated with putting on this event.  We want to make it accessible to all people, but if you are able, please consider a substantial donation to this vital investment in our ministry.)

 Purpose:  to help the people of St. James’ be equipped to welcome all people who live with mental health issues; to be a church who welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ which does not discriminate on any level, including on grounds of mental health; to help reduce the stigma of mental health challenges within our own community; to become aware of some resources available to assist people who are experiencing these issues; and to understand more deeply that to offer and receive friendship with people experiencing mental illness is to walk with Jesus.

 Who is it for:  This workshop is relevant to every aspect of our parish life:  to people of every age, gender, and every group. We hope that everyone will consider participating.  (Please note, while this event is appropriate for mature teenagers, it is not appropriate for children.)  You are welcome to bring friends to this event.

Registration:  Please let Val Michaelson or the parish office know you will be attending.  This will help us make our set up match the number of participants who are coming.  Please register by Wednesday, February 4th.

Contact Val Michaelson:  Email:  or telephone the Church Office 613-548-7254

Questions?  Please talk to someone on the St. James’ Mental Health team: Barb Biagi (family doctor); Bev Goodwin (psychiatrist); Rick Rowland (family doctor); Sharon Duce (mental health nurse); Val Michaelson (clergy).

You can also talk with Bob Hales and Don Ford (clergy) and Nancy Marlow, Andy Brooke and Steve Tripp (St. James’ wardens).

**Participants will receive a certificate from St. James’ Church acknowledging their participation, which can be used for resume purposes.

Giving People Back Their Names:

    The following Excerpt from:  Mental Health: The Inclusive Church Resource   by Drs. Jean Vanier & John Swinton

 The Church is not called to become a community of psychiatrists; it is called to become a community of persistent, patient love.  Psychiatry and the mental health professions have their place.  But their tasks are different (although complementary) from the tasks of the church.  The church’s task is to give people back their names.

Stigma occurs when we name things wrongly.  The world of stigma is ugly.  It destroys and caricatures people and leaves them lonely, isolated and lost.  This is why the apparently small gesture of giving some back their name is profoundly powerful.  It is a way of making people who have been deemed to be ugly beautiful again.  To name things properly is to act humanly and to bring ‘non-persons’ back into the community of humanness.  The task of the church as it meets with people experiencing mental illness is to model Jesus’ renaming of the disciples: ‘I no longer call you mentally ill, a schizophrenic, bipolar or any other destructive name.  Now I call you friends. John, Jean, Fritz, Mary Bindhu, Salma, Lee – I want you to be my friends and I hope that you might considers allowing me to become yours.’

When the world backs away and refuses to name people properly, the church must join in with Jesus’ words ‘I call you friends.’  When people are excluded from communities by the fear of difference, pushed out into the darkness of loneliness, exclusion and isolation, their identities hidden behind names that terrify the world and themselves, the church is called to give people back their names, to whisper or shout, ‘I call you friends.  I know that you are loved and I want you, not others, to tell me your names.’  It is in small things such as this that the face of Jesus is revealed to the world.




Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.