During our last staff meeting, we debriefed about the recent wholeness service that was held in the sanctuary on August 29th. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and when asked if we would like to keep having these services the answer was yes. As we brainstormed about the future, one idea stuck out to me. What if we set out sidewalk chalk and encouraged those who pass by to write prayer requests on the concrete? Well? Let’s talk chalk! Since our Lakota small group is studying mental health, and the first week in October is mental health awareness week; I thought it would be great to start out our chalk prayer ministry on the topic of mental health. With one in five Americans being affected by mental illness each year, odds are that you know someone who is struggling in this area, or someone with a relative who is. If you know me, then you definitely do. My father was an alcoholic (a mental illness) and committed suicide when I was ten years old. Losing my father in this way and struggling with my own anxiety have forced me to face these issues head on. Because of my own struggles, I am passionate about helping others to get the help that they need. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, please know that you are not alone. The staff of First Presbyterian Church will do everything in our power to be there for you in this time of need and to help you in any way that we can. If you are in need of mental health support for yourself or someone you know, click the following link to find resources that are appropriate to your situation. If the situation is potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911.
This subject may be uncomfortable to talk about, but that is the reason that we need to talk about it. There is a stigma surrounding mental illness in our culture. People are becoming more open to discussing it, but there is still a barrier that keeps many in our midst from seeking the help that they need. As the restorative community of Christ, we can be the instruments to help break down these barriers. We can be the instruments to remove this stigma. Writing prayers in chalk may not seem like much, but it is a place to start. So, starting Sunday, October 1st we will have sidewalk chalk out in front of the church, with a sign encouraging people to write down any prayers related to mental health. The hope is to leave it up through Sunday, October 8th and to pray for the requests each day. If you are able, please join in and help us to spread mental health awareness in our community. If you cannot stop by throughout the week, I would happily scribble your prayer requests on the concrete. If you have any ideas for future chalk ministry events or would like to be involved, please let me know! Grace and peace. Health and happiness, Jon Ludwig email@example.com