What a weekend we just experienced! The Ordination and Consecration of our new bishop, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie Perry was just extraordinary!! I hope that you all had the opportunity to attend or were able to livestream the service. If by chance, you missed it, you can find it on the EDOMI website. Welcome, Bishop Bonnie!!
This week’s blog comes to you from Luke Thompson of the Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council.
Resolution Number: 2015-C020 – Increase Ministry and Mission to the Mentally Ill
Resolved, That the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church calls upon dioceses, congregations, schools and other entities of the Episcopal Church to explore and adopt best practices for the vitality and increased capacity of their mission and ministry in the inclusion, support, and spiritual care for persons with mental illness and their families; and be it further
Resolved, That dioceses, congregations, schools and other entities of the Episcopal Church increase understanding about mental illness by providing educational material and training; utilizing existing programs such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, veterans groups, governmental departments of mental health, local organizations, and other programs and organizations; and sharing the information so that it is readily accessible.
Citation: General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of…The Episcopal Church, Salt Lake City, 2015 (New York: General Convention, 2015), p. 369.
Striving for an Inclusive Community
When you hear these words: JUSTICE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, and DOING GOOD TO OTHERS, what comes to mind? Those words are emblematic of what our marginalized communities are not experiencing. One such marginalized community is our sisters and brothers who are living with mental health conditions. Whether it is anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, etc., these people have yet to get the kind of care and attention that they deserve. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,” injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Are we not good at giving labels to things, people, groups that separate us? Are we not forgetting, we are all human beings and have to live, worship, eat, work and play together? The diocese of Michigan has many communities; we all work, worship and live together. But do we do this in harmony?
What is the Beloved Community? Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
One cornerstone of the Beloved Community is inclusiveness, both economic and social where no one is left out. There is enough for all to share. Economic and social justice are necessary for a healthy society. We know that the lower one is in society, the lower one’s life expectancy. This improves as one goes up the social ladder. This is just one repercussion to being part of a marginalized community. We are sensitive and pay attention to our social standing. That is how we are. I bring this up because studies have shown that this is a powerful factor of health for a wide range of outcomes: access to healthcare, quality of healthcare and life expectancy. How illness from cardiovascular, pulmonary, rheumatologic and psychiatric conditions are managed is determined by where we find ourselves in society. It is not academic, it is not high sounding, it is not theoretical, it is real!
Where we live becomes an issue – it’s important to be in the “right” zip code to have access to good schools, good libraries, grocery stores that carry good food, well-lit streets. You see where I am going with this. Where we live is an issue when we want access to good healthcare. I am not saying there aren’t good health care providers in rural areas and communities of color. After all, I have helped periodically at a clinic “off the beaten path” where people with mental health conditions quickly congregated knowing that they would get the help they needed. The staff was trained to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Everyone was a president, everyone was a prime minister. Everyone was treated like a king! No one was turned away. Our providers saw patients with no insurance and patients with insurance. Sometimes patients had insurance that the clinic was not credentialed for which meant the clinic would not get paid for services rendered.
Some argue that in countries where healthcare is a right for all and where there is more income equality, the outcomes are much better. JUSTICE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, DOING GOOD TO OTHERS – Can we not take that out of the area of argument and make it real?
The King Center addresses this very important issue: the elimination of poverty and homelessness. Since social causes determine how long we will live and whether or not we will get ill, economic and social inclusiveness are likely to lead to better outcomes. Dr. King said, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
JUSTICE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, DOING GOOD TO OTHERS – these principles are unstoppable, just like everflowing waters.
Let us pray,
Lord guide us as we strive towards making our community a healthier home for all. Amen
Luke Thompson, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council