Classis Alberta North has appointed a task force to investigate how to equip churches to care for and serve people who struggle with issues related to mental health. The task force was formed after the Christian Reformed Church of St. Albert began a dialogue with classis at the fall 2019 meetings. Classis is a regional group of Christian Reformed congregations that meets two or three times per year.
“Our Council thought we should approach Classis to bring them into this conversation,” said Tony Maan, pastor of St. Albert CRC. The idea was “to share some of our struggles and questions, to give opportunity for other churches to share theirs, and to begin supporting each other.”
The task force has three goals: to “ascertain the role of the church councils in helping members with mental health concerns; explore how the church community [and] respective congregations can walk alongside those suffering with mental illness and their families; [determine] the limitations and boundaries of our role as churches."
The task force, which has met twice already, hopes to finish its work in one year and report back to classis in the fall of 2020. Members of four different churches have been appointed, and they include two teachers, two pastors, and two professional counselors.
Loretta Stadt, pastor at First CRC in Edmonton readily volunteered to participate. She told The Banner, “The question of how do we respond to those who are living with mental health challenges/illnesses and what is the most effective way to walk alongside them and their families is something I’ve thought a great deal about over the years.”