Our call is to connect to God, to connect to each other, and to connect to the “Other.”
–Heartland Presbyterian Church Mission Statement
“What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief—for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?”
Recently I shared our mission statement with visitors and friends of our church in order to explain a little about how we see our calling at Heartland Church. As we were talking about the meaning and importance of connection in today’s world, one of them shared with me the title of a book “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and Unexpected Solutions” by Johann Hari. I have only just begun to read the book but have found Hari’s insights to be profound and challenging. He argues much of the cause of depression and anxiety is less about chemical imbalances in our brains and more about a pervading sense of loneliness we all experience in our society today. We are not broken machines but humans in need of real connection.
I was reminded of another conversation I had with a social worker who oversees a number of the mental health services in our county. I asked her what ways churches could help with the current crisis of mental illness in our communities. She replied it was as simple as embracing people with mental illness and welcoming them into your church. Too often, people with mental illness are isolated and alone without the healing power of a supportive community. There is a simple power in just connecting that heals the mind and soul.
This coming Sunday, February 17, following worship, we will be starting a new Mental Health series as we explore how we can understand and respond to mental illness. This week’s theme is how to be with emotional pain. A light lunch will be provided. I hope you can participate and lend your presence to this important time of connection.
Grace and Peace,