W.I.S.E. in June

by Pastor Jim Alexander

June 2021 promises to be a month of continued healing and hope as we emerge from quarantine and return to in-person learning opportunities and worship at The Palms. There is excitement and joy as we do so. But, there is also a bit of anxiety and nervousness, too.

When you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed or overcome by the stress that the “return to a new normal” may bring, there are members of our WISE Mental Wellness First Aid Team standing ready to assist. They can be identified in the wearing of buttons as pictured above. This Team, along with Pastor Jim can provide a wide variety of tools and information that may bring relief and assurance that no one is alone on this journey. You will also find various Tools2Thrive materials available on the website.

Another Tool2Thrive beginning in June and lasting through this summer will be a meaningful devotional series presented by Kay Klinkenborg. Exploring Meditations for the Lazy Hazy Days of Summer is an immersion into Lectio Divina, Lectio Visual, and Lectio Musica. Video and Audio versions, along with printed materials, will be posted on our website and found in the Summer Devotions tab. A new devotion will be posted each week, with the idea that participants will practice and grow within each type of meditation that is presented. Each week within our June Order of Worship pages, you will find information regarding PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and PTRS (Post–Traumatic Racism Syndrome). It is important to recognize that trauma comes in many different forms. People with differing backgrounds experience symptoms associated with PTSD and PTRS above and beyond the general stresses of living in these days. Included in this series will be articles written by Kay, where she will provide her insights on the long-term impact this type of stress is having on our black and indigenous brothers and sisters. Andrea Stefanov will also have an article summarizing the history of Juneteeth.

Another highlight during the month will come as we observe Open and Affirming Sunday, June 27th. As a part of the day, Rev. Erika Allison, queer interfaith minister, spiritual counselor and author will share her story of recovery from conversion therapy. Rev. Erika’s book, Gay the Pray Away, is available now on Amazon.com. Conversion/ reparative therapy is based on the premise that homosexuality and same-sex attraction is a mental disorder, abnormal, or somehow unhealthy. If you or someone you know has been subjected to the harmful effects of reparative or conversion therapy, you may find the book, Rev. Erika’s printed article and video presentations helpful. These Tools2Thrive will be accessible during our OnLine worship service on 6-27-2021, in our Tools2Thrive page of the website. Pastor Jim also has several copies of Gay the Pray Away available for you to check out.

Finally, Pastor Jim will be attending (virtually) the Mental Health America 2021 Annual Conference from June 10-12. The theme this year is From Resiliency to Recovery. He will bring back helpful tools and tips related to:

  • How our faith community can address lingering mental wellness challenges after a pandemic
  • How our faith community can engage in the lives of those who experience mental health trauma
  • How our faith community can engage in meaningful mental wellness ministry of marginalized people
  • How our faith community can support and empower the caregivers of those who suffer from mental wellness crises

Thank you for your support and encouragement as we continue to become a WISE Congregation for Mental Wellness. If you are interested in joining the WISE Steering Committee, please contact Pastor Jim at 623.792.5295.

Spiritual Connections Offered by WISE

Beginning April 12, we will be offering “Spiritual Connections” weekly on Mondays at 1:00 p.m. This is a recovery group which will seek to offer a safe space for support of people who are suffering from addictions, abuse, or other traumatic events through a variety of techniques based on Spiritual Principles. Gordon Street, Commissioned Minister from First Phoenix UCC, will be facilitating.

We will also be offering a Spiritual Connections session on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. for those in our community who are still working and would like to have opportunity to attend this type of support group.

Both groups will connect on our Bridges to Learning page. If you’re interested in attending, please email or call Pastor Jim to confirm.