Pastor’s Corner (5/6/2021)

 In Pastor's Corner

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

May is Mental Health Awareness month. While this awareness is always important, it seems particularly important these days. We have all had a number of challenges this past year with the pandemic and strife in our communities, nation, and world. As the church we are called to stand with one another in challenging times. We are also called to share one another’s burdens. We do this incredibly well when it comes to physical challenges, but it is often more challenging to share the burdens we face when they are mental or spiritual ones. As one who has struggled with clinical depression I am keenly aware of how important mental health and well-being are for us as individuals and as members of faith communities.

This was really brought home for me this past weekend. On Saturday May 1st, Elaine Parman and I participated in a training event entitled “Adult Mental Health First Aid.” The introduction to our Participant Processing Guide said:

“When you use the skills learned in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) you are the first line of support for a person in need. You are there to help them feel less stressed and you can be a vital resource in helping them seek further assistance. Your body language, what you say, and how well you listen can have a powerful impact. The quality and type of support you offer through listening can enhance coping and self-esteem. With an accurate view of mental health challenges and using a strengths-based holistic perspective you can help others. You can also be an advocate, empower your community, and improve self-care. As a Mental Health First Aider you can be the one to make a difference in the life of someone with a mental health challenge. Your actions can be a first step in someone’s recovery journey.”

Our trainer Teri Effle (the name may sound familiar to many of us) reminded us of the statistic that 1 in 5 people will face a mental health challenge at some point during their life. I suspect this number may grow as we continue to move through this time of pandemic and protests. Elaine and I took this training as an outgrowth to our previous training with Faith Partners. As a part of this training we learned an important acronym to help us as we strive to help others. This acronym is ALGEE.

A stands for Assess

L stands for Listen

G stands for Give reassurance, encouragement and information

E stands for Encourage referral to someone who can help

E stands for Encourage self-help and support from others as appropriate

I think ALGEE can be a helpful guide for us all. The foci are on listening and encouragement. Even in the best of times, we all need to listen and encourage one another. All of us also need times when we are listened to and encouraged as well.

If you would like to learn more about this training please feel free to contact me or Elaine. You can also find resources on the National Benevolent Association site at: During this month of Mental Health Awareness may we be empowered to give our burdens to Christ and to share our burdens with one another knowing that we need not carry them alone.


With hope and joy,

Pastor Karen


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