Workshop on Mental Illness in the Church

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Corinthians 12:24-26

Right now, LCMS Life Ministry is getting ready for our busiest season.   The Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States, was passed on January 23, 1973, and January has long been designated “Sanctity of Human Life” month. We are gearing up for the March for Life and for Life Sunday, both very relevant and worthwhile causes. You can find resources for both events at our website, www.lcms.org/life.

However, being pro-life is about more than abortion. LCMS Life Ministry carries that banner that all life is sacred—from conception until natural death. This certainly includes abortion and reproductive issues, and end of life issues such as euthanasia, but it is much bigger than that. Life Ministry is also about everything in between—the life issues that affect us every day—at work, at church, in our families, and with our friends.

Under the broad umbrella of Life Ministry, we address things such as marriage and family, human sexuality, stem cell research, and adoption. We also provide resources for ministry to people with disabilities, helping congregations welcome all people to worship, regardless of physical, mental, or developmental ability.

As part of our continued programming, LCMS Life Ministry is hosting a one-day symposium on mental health in the church, focusing on providing resources for congregations and pastors who are helping families navigate mental illness. This event will be held on Saturday, April 9, at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. There is no cost to attend, and lunch is provided.

The tentative schedule for the day is:

8:00 a.m.             Registration

8:30 a.m.             Opening chapel–(Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus, LCMS 3rd Vice President)

9:00 a.m.             General Overview of Mental Illness–(Dr. Beverly Yahnke, executive director DOXOLOGY and department chair, Concordia University, Wisconsin)

10:30 a.m.           Break

10:45 a.m.           A Theological Perspective on Mental Illness–(Rev. Todd Pepperkorn, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Rocklin, CA)

Noon                    Lunch

1:00 a.m.             Pastoral Care for Those Experiencing Mental Illness–(Rev. Jeffrey Pflug, Faith Lutheran Church, Madison, IN, and LCMS Disability Task Force member)

2:30 p.m.             A Practical Approach to Mental Illness–(Deaconess Dorothy Krans, LCMS Director of Recognized Service Organizations and LCMS Disability Task Force member)

4:00 p.m.             Discussion panel

5:00 p.m.             Closing chapel

We hope that this will provide a good starting point for families and congregations, and look forward to discussion and conversation beyond this one day. For more information, or to register, contact tracy.quaethem@lcms.org.

Our Heavenly Father cares about each of us, every day. He cares for us when we are tiny babies in our mother’s womb, and he cares for us as we prepare to leave this life and enter His heavenly kingdom. He also tenderly guides us each and every day, through all stages of life. What a blessing and honor this is! I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming March for Life, and at our April 9 workshop on mental illness in the church.

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Note: LCMS leader blog articles express the personal experiences and views of our ministry staff and have not been subjected to the LCMS doctrinal review process. Readers are encouraged to leave questions in the comment section or consult their pastor with any queries related to this content.

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