This article comes from the Rev. Mike Tanner, Vicar of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Holy Comforter is a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. About 60% of the congregation live with mental illness, and most of that number are very poor, receiving only a small disability check.
Holy Comforter opened its Friendship Center in 1997 in response to reduced availability of day programs for people living with mental illness. It now serves from 90 to 125 people each Tuesday and Thursday. Through the Friendship Center, Holy Comforter offers day programs for persons with mental illness or other disabilities. These programs include a variety of activities, such as painting, music and movement, ceramics, weaving, woodworking, gardening, and games, as well as lunch.
The Friendship Center has recently added a Wellness & Recovery Coordinator to manage and enhance its various wellness and recovery activities, such as its foot and hand clinics, flu-shot and eye clinics, yoga, and support groups.
Holy Comforter is supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and by various parishes, foundations, and individuals. The Georgia Mental Health Consumers’ Network provides funds for our art and gardening programs, and Woodland Hills Baptist Church provides space for our art studios.
Holy Comforter has recently received good publicity on national TV with an episode on PBS’s Religion and Ethics.
Rev. Tanner was interviewed on the PBS program. Here’s what he said about the participants in its programs: “What I see coming to us and joining us is a group of people who have been knocked down all their lives and who are just remarkably joyous and remarkably full of faith. They get it that God loves them and that their suffering is just part of life, and God loves them through it, and they love each other through it.”
For more of the PBS episode: PBS – Holy Comforter