Mental Health Ministry
What does it mean for a UCC church to be a W.I.S.E. Congregation for Mental Health? “W.I.S.E.” stands for welcoming, inclusive, supportive, and engaged. The W.I.S.E. process has been evolving since 1995 when the UCC Mental Health Network was formed. In 2015, General Synod adopted the W.I.S.E. Resolution.
Ainsworth United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon became a W.I.S.E. Congregation for Mental Health in March 2019. To become W.I.S.E., a congregation proceeds through a series of steps. We created a task force, wrote a Covenant Statement, and had three consecutive worship services focused on mental health. Becoming W.I.S.E. means the church is even more committed and dedicated to the issue of mental health.
We, the people of Ainsworth United Church of Christ, know we are graced by the gifts, stories, and experiences of all our members, including those living with mental health challenges. We know these challenges can profoundly disturb our feelings, thoughts, and behavior. We care about the whole person: body, heart, mind, and soul. We affirm the deep and constant movement of God’s Holy Spirit, seeking to bring us to the fullness of life. We believe that all people are beloved by God, and, if a person has a mental health challenge, that person has a right to be seen as a person first. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus made no distinction between various members of society; he did not show any partiality. He included all people in this commandment.
Our Covenant Statement is as follows:
Ainsworth United Church of Christ of Portland, Oregon, in covenant with the United Church of Christ’s Thirtieth General Synod, will adopt covenants to be a WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) congregation for mental health. We join in covenant within the congregation and with other United Church of Christ congregations. We acknowledge that many people are touched by mental health challenges and we, therefore, work to reduce the stigma of mental illness. To do this, we provide support, education, advocacy, and outreach to our members and the greater community.
Our Commitment to Action:
- Create a welcoming (W) environment for people with mental health challenges and their families.
- Include (I) people with mental health challenges in the life, work, and congregational leadership.
- Support (S) people in our congregation who have mental health challenges and their families.
- Engage (E) with other organizations that work at the intersection of mental health and faith, spirituality, and religion.
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