By Karen Whistler
When we lived in Vancouver, BC we knew a number of people who collaborated with or had affiliation with an organization called Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries.
“Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries equips the Church to support mental health and wellbeing.”
They ask the question: “How can a church become a sanctuary? A place where people with mental health challenges can feel safe, supported, and a sense of belonging?”
Sanctuary has developed useful curriculum in the intersection of spiritual formation and mental health. The Sanctuary Course is available for free on their resource portal. Admittedly, I signed up for the course years ago but failed to completed the coursework. The content is well crafted and delivered from an organization that tenderly holds space for all experiences under the umbrella of faith. Writing this is a good reminder to myself to dig back in!
Over the past year, Sanctuary has been collaborating with the music collective The Porter’s Gate. The final album was released last month. A few singles were shared leading up to the full album launch (some, featured on the Awakened Brains Playlist! Many of these songs already feel like old friends.
With stylistic variety, the album reiterates again and again God’s endless pursuit of us within our darkest thoughts and places. The lyrics remind me that I am held. They carry a weight that transcends abstract notions of God’s love to a tangible sense of belonging to one another.
Stream on their website. https://sanctuarymentalhealth.org/sanctuary-songs/
Additionally, “Since 2020, Sanctuary has devoted October to running a month-long mental health awareness campaign. With this week being Mental Illness Awareness Week in Canada and the U.S., and World Mental Health Day on October 10, it is a time of year with increased public interest in mental health.”
Access their 5-day devotional here.
Sanctuary will also be releasing content on social media channels throughout October. More information available on their blog. As we enter into the darkness of fall, I implore us all to consider holding space for the mental health of ourselves and others as a part of our spiritual practice.
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