The Diocese of Fort Worth has done more than give lip service to its call to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Each year, the diocese awards a grant to the Episcopal Counseling Center located at All Saints Church in Fort Worth.
And, as a result, each year hundreds of people who would not otherwise be able to receive counseling have a place to go to help them straighten out the complications of their lives.
The Episcopal Counseling Center was founded in 1991, a time when many Texans were experiencing great financial problems, which lead to many other family problems as well. The diocese recognized that many of its members were in great personal turmoil and unable to pay for counseling services. So it included the funding of the Episcopal Counseling Center in a capital campaign and has been making regular contributions to the center ever since. People who are able to pay for their care do, many on a sliding scale, but no one is ever turned away. No one.
Lynn Busch, director of the Center, says that many of their clients are Episcopalians but many are not. She adds that it has been a good tool for evangelism because sometimes clients end up making All Saints their church home.
Says Busch, “This is an incredible ministry within the diocese. No one is turned away. Unlike many HMOs, we have no limits to the number of visits people can receive because we know the human mind doesn’t work that way.
“Just the fact that people receive counseling within the setting of a church sets a very different therapeutic tone. It’s soothing here, quiet, and the atmosphere is very different than a regular office setting. Often times, people ask to start their therapy session with a prayer. We don’t insist that people weave their religious beliefs into their therapy, but we don’t ignore that important aspect of people’s lives either.”
If you are interested in finding out more about how to start a counseling service in your church or diocese, Lynn Busch would be glad to share her experiences. She can be reached at:450 Little Valley Court
Fort Worth, TX 76108