Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A powerful and moving Interfaith service at New Hope

All the candles lit at Sunday's service at New Hope Methodist Church.

“What lies before us and what lies behind us
are small matters compared to what lies within us.

And when we bring what is within
out into the world, miracles happen.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Candle lighting and heartfelt testimonies lifted our Interfaith Service for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding at New Hope Methodist Church to a truly transcendent level. Organized and conducted by New Hope Pastor Kim Kie with help from the Rev. Peter Elvin, of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown and the Rev. Dave Anderson of the First Baptist Church of North Adams, the service exceed expectations.

About 40 people attended on Sunday evenning, Jan. 27, filling most of the sacntuary of this unique, storefront church. The event was so well-attended, well-planned by Pastor Kie and others, moving and appreciated, that we will no doubt continue it in the future.

After Pastor Kie offered words of welcome, Marilyn Moran and Donna Turner of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County Chapter gave moving introductory remarks. Donna read a great prose poem titled “Let Go....” (See text below)

During the service there were readings from various traditions, followed by each reader lighting a candle. The themes were Truth, Healing, Understanding, Hope, Thankfulness, Faith, and Love. Robin Kibler played fine muisc. I was privileged to read and light the candle of Hope. What I read, “Drawing Near--A Blessing to Begin Advent,” by Jan Richardson is below.

Later in the one-hour service, people came forward and lit candles in honor and/or memory of those in their lives affected by mental illness. This was profoundly moving. The Spirit seemed to be thick in the air during this time. Among the testimonies, Rachel Branch read a poem she wrote for the event, “NUTS & BOLTS.” It begins:

“Holy, Holy, Holy
Someone things I’m crazy

Local NAMI Support Group

Among information shared at the meeting were details about a local support group:

The NAMI of Berkshire County North Berkshire Support Group, a peer-led group facilitated by trained NAMI member volunteers. The group provides insight, empathy, and experiences as well as education, support and advocacy to help family members. It is open to anyone who has a family member, friend, neighbor, or special person who has a biologically based mental illness.

The support group is held the second Thursday of every month from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 35 Park St., Williamstown, in the library room. (Come in through the end doors of the Church School building. The library is on the right).

Thanks to all who in any way took part in this event. 

Pastor Kim Kie hosting the service at New Hope

“Let Go....”

To let go does not mean to stop caring. It means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off. It’s the realization I can’t control another.

To let go is to allow someone to learn from natural consequences.

To let go is to recognize when the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to expect miracles, but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody, but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more.

Drawing Near--A Blessing to Begin Advent by Jan Richardson

It is difficult to see it from here,
I know,
but trust me when I say
this blessing is inscribed
on the horizon.
Is written on
that far point
you can hardly see.
Is etched into
a landscape
whose contours you cannot know
from here.
All you know
is that it calls you,
draws you,
pulls you toward
what you have perceived
only in pieces,
in fragments that came to you
in dreaming
or in prayer.
I cannot account for how,
as you draw near,
the blessing embedded in the horizon
begins to blossom
upon the soles of your feet,
shimmers in your two hands.
It is one of the mysteries
of the road,
how the blessing
you have traveled toward,
waited for,
ached for
suddenly appears
as if it had been with you
all this time,
as if it simply
needed to know
how far you were willing
to walk
to find the lines
that were traced upon you
before the day that you were born.

We light the candle of Hope for persons and families living with mental  illness, for better treatment, for steadier recovery, for greater opportunity to work and serve. 

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