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Helping Churches Deal with Mental Illness in Ontario


More than 200 people attended a conference in Cobourg, Ontario, to learn more about being a supportive Christian community for individuals and families affected by mental illness.

The conference was organized by Faith & Hope Ministries, a ministry of Classis Quinte (a regional group of churches).

Winnie Visser, a member of Fellowship CRC in Brighton, Ontario, and resource consultant for Faith & Hope Ministries, said the response to the conference was very positive. She thought it was hopeful that “people don’t feel so alone in their journey.”

According to Rev. Mark Stephenson, Director of Disability Concerns for the CRC, there is an increasing awareness of mental health concerns in the church. Visser is also encouraged. “We are finally allowing ourselves to talk about [mental illness],” she said. She hopes that similar conferences can begin bridging the gap between churches and other mental health resources.

This year’s Disability Concerns emphasis week in October will focus on mental health, if approved by Synod 2010 (the church’s annual leadership meeting).

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