Grace and peace to you, in Jesus’ name.
Grace and peace to you, during a time in the world and in many of our lives that the stresses with which we are living are often heavy, and sometimes overwhelming.
During the past few weeks, I’ve found myself returning, over and over, to stories of healing in the scriptures. I’ve found myself coming back to two of them as I struggle with my sense of inadequacy, my bouts of depression, my own mental health. The first tells of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and couldn’t find help, reaching out to touch Jesus’ clothing that she might be healed. The other is of a man who was paralyzed, whose friends ripped open a roof so they could get him close to Jesus. It’s not the healing or wholeness or depth of their faith that is speaking to me right now. In this time, what brings tears to my eyes and hope to my heart is the image of the woman’s hand reaching out for help and finding it; of the friends using everything they had to get the man to the healer. Sometimes I can reach out, and I pray the help is there. Sometimes I can’t move, and I have to trust that those who love me will get me there.
The first week of May, with The United Church of Canada’s first Mental Health Sunday (May 2), the Service of Apology for Forced Adoptions (May 9), all under the restrictions imposed by the third wave of the global COVID-19 pandemic, may be a time of particular stress for you and for members of your community of faith. General Council staff have worked to bring together a number of resources to support you and the people with whom you are in ministry. You’ll find a list of these below.
Please know that, in all of the ups and downs, in all of the times of struggle, I am holding you in prayer, and my tiny amount of love is added to the infinite love of God that surrounds you and keeps you, every moment of the day and night. When you’ve got it in you, I’d ask you to consider doing the same for me and for all of your siblings in faith.
The peace of Christ holds us,
the love of God enfolds us,
and the Holy Spirit keeps us―
now, and always.
Thanks be to God!
The Right Rev. Richard Bott
- A new worship resource package: Radical Belonging: Mental Health Sunday Liturgies and Resources for All
- A webinar series: May 3–7 at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Facebook Live
- A Round the Table blog series
- Websites for Canadian mental health and wellness resources:
- LifeSpeak wellness platform for ministers and staff
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) for active members of the United Church benefits plan
- Mental Health Commission of Canada: a federal organization developing a national mental health strategy, offering support, and programs
- eMental Health: to find mental health services in your community
- Crisis Services Canada: Suicide prevention and support
- Canadian Mental Health Association: local offices offer services and support