UCC Disabilities Ministries and UCC Mental Illness Network
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Coordinator: Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary
Widening the Welcome: Inclusion for All Pre-Synod Event, To Be Held June 27, 2013
Movement for Inclusion Hopes to Welcome Synod Attendees
The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) and the United Church of Christ Mental Illness Network (MIN) will offer a fourth Widening the Welcome (WtW) experience. The Fourth Widening the Welcome Conference will be held as a one-day Pre-Synod Event on Thursday, June 27th, 2013. This event is scheduled to be held in Long Beach, exact location TBD.
The theme for Widening the Welcome 2013 is “God’s Vision: The Great Dinner is Open to All” (Luke 14:15 ff). Two keynote speakers are expected. The Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroder, Founder Mental Health Ministries, will speak on “Mental Health as a Spiritual Journey” and offer a workshop on “Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond.” The Rev. Kathy Reeves, Coordinator for the Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network-North America, a program of the World Council of Churches will also offer a keynote address/workshop. Both keynote speakers have self-identified as persons with disability and/or a persons in recovery.
Workshops focusing on how congregations can become Accessible to All (A2A), how congregations can develop mental health ministries will be available. Workshops such as “Prison Ministry and Mental Health as a Justice Issue,” “Cherish the Parents, Care for the Child: Supporting the Emotional Well Being of Families from Birth to Young Adulthood,” “Pastoral Care with People with Disabilities & Brain Disorders of Aging”, and topics not previously presented at WtW conferences are planned for this conference.
“Widening the Welcome” was termed “a movement within the movement” of the UCC by General Minister Geoffrey Black. WtW continues with its vision/mission:
- to educate about mental illnesses/brain disorders and disabilities;
- to teach how to develop Mental Health Ministries and A2A (Accessible to All) Covenants in your congregation;
- to share best practices by telling stories, learning from each other, and networking;
- to equip pastoral leaders to understand and provide quality pastoral care to men and women addressing these concerns; and
- to offer spiritual support group experiences and worship together.###