Tag Archives: conference


Faith Connections on Mental Illness

Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the organization describes itself as “an inter-faith coalition of faith communities dedicated to increasing understanding of mental illness through Education, Advocacy, and Support.”

Faith Connections on Mental Illness sponsors an annual, one-day conference—usually on a Friday in March.

Widening the Welcome 2013

Recordings Available On-Line

The theme of this year’s Widening the Welcome conference was “God’s Vision: The Great Dinner is Open for All.” If you would like to hear any of the presentations, go to www.wideningthewelcome.com and click on “Resources.”

Widening the Welcome is an annual conference of the United Churches of Christ ministry for people with mental illness or disability.

Creating Hope: The Power of Faith Communities in Mental Health Recovery—A Conference

Save the Date: January 15, 2014

Hosted by Pathways to Promise and other co-sponsors

Keynote speakers:

  • Nanette Larson, Director of Recovery Support Services for the Illinois DHS/Division of Mental Health
  • Craig Rennebohm, Executive Director, Pathways to Promise

Panelists throughout the day will represent:

  • Persons in recovery and family members describing their journeys of recovery in relationship to their faith communities
  • Mental health professionals describing their integration of spirituality in the treatment process
  • Faith community leaders describing ways to make safe spaces for persons in recovery
  • Persons organizing companioning programs in faith communities to reduce isolation


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Churchwide Office,
8765 W. Higgins Rd, Chicago, IL 60631
(near O’Hare airport)

You will come away with resources and contact people.

Minimal cost to cover food.

Scholarships will be available.

CEUs offered.

For more information contact: Robert Skrocki, Pathways to Promise, bpskrocki@comcast.net

2012 Interfaith Conference

Faith Communities & Mental Illness: Tools for Response and Care

by The Rev. Karen MacDonald

May our faith communities be sanctuaries of hope and support for those affected by mental illness.

The 2012 Interfaith Conference was a success in Tucson.

It was a day of information and inspiration. Over 400 people of varying faiths came together around a common cause on Friday, April 27: better responding to mental illness and exploring local resources for care.

This unique conference, hosted by Interfaith Community Services and held at St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church, included presentations by noted local and national experts in the faith and mental health fields. Attendees packed workshops and breakout sessions exploring such topics as being an advocate for a loved one affected by mental illness, understanding depression, suicide prevention, mental health issues in the aging and youth/young adult populations, and successful care models being utilized by faith communities to be more welcoming places for congregants struggling with mental illness.

A resource fair featured informational tables and hand-outs from over 20 local agencies and organizations providing mental health services. Go to Interfaith Tucson for a listing of local care resources.

One attendee came away with “…the overwhelming sense that together we can make a difference. Clearly there is much work that we still need to do,” she added.

According to the Surgeon General, one in five Americans will suffer a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Many will first turn to their faith leader for help and guidance. The conference was designed to equip attendees with information for understanding mental illness and the role of faith in the healing process. It also provided tools for being better prepared to relate to congregants coping with mental illness.

“What can we, as faith leaders, do to better help someone who is struggling with mental illness?” asked one lay leader to a presenter who had shared her personal story of caring for her mother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “Be there” was the answer. “Be compassionate. Be available.”

“I’ve been dealing with my husband who has bi-polar disorder,” said one attendee. “I’ve been shouldering this alone. You’ve inspired me to call our family priest.”

Added one speaker, “I’ve learned that mental illness is a part of you. It doesn’t define you.”

Faith Communities and Mental Illness: Tools for Response and Care was made possible by funding from The David C. and Laura M. Lovell Foundation. Additional support was provided by more than a dozen churches, community agencies, and businesses.

Conference Follow-up

Additional efforts will continue the momentum from this inspiring conference:

  • A “how-to” manual is available for communities interested in providing a similar conference to raise awareness of mental illness in congregations and to facilitate interaction between the faith community and the mental health provider community.
  • A resource kit is being distributed to congregations throughout Tucson. These kits include a series of flyers addressing various aspects of mental illness and faith communities, worship resources, a listing of mental health agencies in Tucson and Pima County, and information on activities for Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 7-12, 2012.)
  • A Lunch and Learn gathering, “Becoming a Welcoming Community” will take place on October 11, 2012, 12:00-1:30 p.m. at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (2331 E. Adams St., Tucson). Dr. Peter Likins, president emeritus of the University of Arizona, will speak about his family’s experience with mental illness. Also, members of two congregations which are providing support and education around mental illness will share their insights for open discussion. Anyone interested in receiving a “how-to” manual, resource kit, or in registering for the Lunch and Learn are invited to contact Interfaith Community Services at 520-297-2738 ext 233 or talexander@icstucson.org.

The Rev. Karen MacDonald is the Faith Community Engagement Manager at Interfaith Community Services in Tucson, Arizona.

Widening the Welcome

November 1-3
Holiday Inn
Columbus, Ohio

Everyone is welcome at this UCC sponsored conference

For complete information, registration, hotel and more — head to wideningthewelcome.com

Churches usually have a welcome sign outside their building. What we want to demonstrate and encourage is the welcome that is experienced inside the church and as a result, that transformative power will be released into the world. As we read, “practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13b),” this conference seeks to build up our churches to be welcoming and inclusive communities. This includes people who have been touched by or have experienced a mental illness/brain disorder and/or a disability, apparent or unapparent.

Pathways to Promise

Interfaith Ministries & Mental Illness 2009 National Summit

September 29-October 1

Pathways to Promise was formed to mobilize national faith groups and local congregations across the United States to reduce stigma and to support people with mental illnesses and their family members in the process of recovery.

As a result, the last two decades have seen exemplary models of ministry emerging in congregations across the country.

At the National Summit, come learn from the successes and help us establish new pathways for progress and collaboration.

The conference is co-sponsored by and will be held at The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL, 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. For hotel reservations call (800) 682-2879.

For Shrine info visit www.snows.org.

Registration deadline is September 15.

For more information, visit www.Pathways2Promise.org or call (314) 877-6489.

From models of ministry & collaboration
Pastors, mental health professionals, lay leaders, those who now experience recovery from a mental illness
Resources and tools for mental health ministry

Pathways to Promise Schedules First National Conference

“Companions on the Road to Recovery”

Trusting that the necessary major funding will come through, Pathways to Promise is planning it’s first national conference. Entitled, Companions on the Road to Recovery—New Pathways for the 21st Century. The conference will take place on September 29, 30, and October 1, 2009 at the convention facility of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows located in Belleville, Illinois just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.

Faith group delegates, consumers, advocates, clergy, and mental health professionals are all welcome. The planning committee hopes that Teams from different faith groups will be able to use the time to set goals for future collaborative efforts. The convention plan also calls for showcasing models of cooperation among mental health centers/providers and faith groups. The term “Companions” refers not only to being a companion to someone experiencing a mental illness, but to the collaboration of all involved—congregation and community.

According to Bob Dell, Pathways executive director. This re-enforces the original vision of Pathways—that we can do more cooperatively than alone.

For more information on all aspects of the “Companions on the Road to Recovery” conference watch the Pathways to Promise Web site for further details.

The Rev. Bob Dell

Chair, and Acting Executive Director

Pathways to Promise, Ministry & Mental Illness



EMIN-Arkansas Plans First Diocesan Conference

Save the Date!!

We are coming together for the first time as a diocese to begin building our base of Arkansas parishes that are caring communities of faith for people with mental illnesses. The one-day conference will be held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Together, we will explore spirituality and mental illness from the perspectives of persons with such illnesses and their families, mental health professionals and lay and clergy advocates. The workshop participants will identify actions to help their parishes become welcoming faith communities that minister to people with mental disorders and their loved ones.

“We want to take a realistic look at what the Church has done and not done to help parishioners facing problems with mental illness. I hope that we can come away from the workshop with a spirit of commitment for every parish to be a safe and welcoming place,” says EMIN co-coordinator Deacon Bean Murray.

Registration is free. In addition to Arkansans, all EMIN News readers are invited to attend. Plans for the conference are incomplete at this time. Details will be posted at www.eminnews.org as they are finalized.

EMIN-Arkansas is deeply grateful for the grant we received from the Keller Fund for Mission to fund this conference.