This week I attended a training for Mental Health First Aid with the Community Counselling Centers of Chicago - ‘a behavioral health advocate and social service provider, that offers quality, comprehensive customer-oriented services tailored to the diversity of its consumers.’ One of the topics discussed in our training was suicide.
Did you know that, according to World Health Organization- more than 700,000 people die of suicide every year globally and that it is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. In the Americas, every year 98,000 deaths by suicide were reported on average from 2015 to 2019 and is the third-highest leading cause of death among young people aged 20 to 24 years of age. Suicides are preventable but because there is so much stigmas attached to mental health, disorders and suicide that people hesitate to speak about it or seek the help they desperately need.
Christopher LeMark, founder of Coffee, Hip Hop and Mental Health has been serving the Lakeview community for a few years now. Learning from his own life and being able to turn it around, Christopher now runs a cafe and uses the funds to pay for group therapy and individual talk therapy for community members who need it. to have access to group and at no cost to them. This year they are organizing ‘The Yellow Walk.’ on Sunday, September 24th to remember all the people who could not receive the mental health care they needed, who suffered in silence and so no other way but to end their lives. You can register here to walk. The money raised from the walk will be used to pay for therapy.
Beloveds, mental health care is a necessity for all of us so I ask that we all do whatever we need to do to take care of ourselves- whether it means taking a walk for a few minutes or getting professional help. We need to talk about it more so mental health care conversations become normal, and we also need to stay awake and open to those around us- who might be showing signs of depression or crying for help. Your friendship, your presence, your hug just might be what saves them.
Speaking of self care- I am taking some vacation time and going to India to visit my family. In my absence-
Rev. Lou Pence, Lee Rollins and Rev. Miranda Denler will be preaching,
Lee Rollins, Rev. Lou Pence and Rev. Miranda Denler will be available for all pastoral emergencies. You can contact them directly or through the main office,
Moses and Mudit will be available for any building related issues or concerns/questions around building security monitors (since they live close to the church),
Rebecca, Alexia and Jon will handle all financial issues,
Jon will organize the last meal for outside worship in September,
Woo and Mark will be available for any personnel issues,
Rebecca will be the point person for any technical issues, and
Woo and Rebecca will be available for any worship related issues.
I also want to share a few other dates to remind us that-
Children’s Sunday School starts this Sunday, September 3rd after worship,
Adult Bible Study resumes on zoom on Wednesdays at 7pm, starting September 6th.
By the end of September, we will start a new sermon series on the “7 Deadly Sins.” Thanks to Lee Rollins who challenged us, and yes- we preachers are looking forward to it.
Our Annual Church Conference is scheduled for Monday, October 2nd at 7:00pm. Alexia will be sending out forms that need to be filled to prepare for this Conference.
We will have a “Blessing of Pets” on Sunday October 8th @ 2pm. We will have information available for you next week, to share with friends and in your buildings.
That’s it for now friends! I am blessed to a part of this community and to witness to the love of God through this congregation. Remember that we are God’s beloveds, and we must continue to do our best, be our best and do all we can to create a braver and safer place for all God’s people, and remember a simple smile can go a long way and might be exactly what someone needs in that moment.
Be blessed beloveds, and I look forward to seeing you in church.