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John Swinton - May 15

Interpersonal Relationships and Mental Health

The Church is called to be a place of healing and hope, particularly for those who are struggling or suffering. Unfortunately, the stigma and silence surrounding mental health problems often inhibit our attempts at cultivating redemptive and inclusive faith communities. Many people experiencing mental health problems feel misunderstood and overlooked by the Church, and this leads us to wonder: How can we challenge the perception of “otherness” within the Church? How can we overcome the stigma that surrounds mental health problems in order to engage in authentic and loving interpersonal relationships? Can the Church become a place of inclusion and healing for everyone?

John Swinton, an internationally-recognized expert on the intersection of faith and mental health care, will help us explore the answers to these questions and more. This seminar will also include the stories of individuals who have experienced mental health problems and become advocates in their faith communities, working to make the Church a safer and more caring place.

Hillary McBride - June 10
Healing Our Relationship with Self

Christianity has always called us to care for others and practice selflessness. Indeed, we are exhorted to sacrificially lay down our lives for each other. However, many of us wonder: Is it okay to care for myself, or is doing so selfish and indulgent? These questions are further complicated by a theological heritage that often promotes a deep distrust of the body through unhelpful spirit/flesh dichotomies. As a result, many of us engage in intellectual and disembodied expressions of faith that lack fundamental self-care practices.

Therapist, researcher, and author, Hillary McBride, will help us understand the importance of caring for ourselves, particularly as it relates to our faith. Then we will explore how to reconnect with, be present to, and care for our whole selves--especially our bodies. This seminar will include experiential learning through mindfulness practices and will also feature individuals sharing their own journeys of reconnecting with their ability to care for themselves.