Rev. Alan Johnson, Chair of the UCC Mental Health Network, was First Church’s guest preacher on Mental Health Sunday. He encouraged the congregation to “not shrink back” from the reality of mental illness—our own stories, those of our family members and our church family. The stigma around mental illness is strong. By breaking the silence and stepping forward we can offer and get support.
Shame, silence and stigma can lead us to believe that we can't be our whole selves and be beloved. When we are in "over our heads" because of grief, pain or trauma, we may not be able to sense God's presence on our own. Yet, faith community can provide a place where our pain can be shared and held.