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ELCA, LMNS Renews Dedication to Mentally Ill

( [email protected] ) May 13, 2004 02:54 PM EDT

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod renewed their dedication to the Lutheran Network on Mental Illness/Brain Disorder (LNMI), during the annual network meeting at Chicago, April 29-May 2.

The Rev. Stewart D. Govig, LNMI chair, said the two churches have continued in the efforts for the disabled, as seen through their involvement in the network.

The Rev. Lisa T. Cleaver, director for disability ministries and deaf ministry, ELCA Division for Church in Society, noted the joint participation in the All-Lutheran Candelighting for Mental Illness.

"The group has ongoing joint projects like the All-Lutheran Candlelighting for Mental Illness, and it's beginning new joint projects," said Cleaver “One of the new projects is a brochure that describes the work of LNMI, what "mental illness" is -- the signs and symptoms -- and the church's role.”

The Candle-lighting liturgy for Lutheran Congregation took place every October for the past eight years.

Govig elaborated on the future plans of the Network, saying that education can come from personal relations to mentally ill family members and friends.

"Lutheran pastors learn more from family members affected by mental illness than from anywhere else," Govig said. "We want to educate clergy. We want to educate congregations. But what does that mean? How does that take place? What's the content of that? We are still searching.”

The Rev. Bob Dell, a pastor from the United Church of Christ, Sandwich, Ill., spoke with the participants about possibly extending the network beyond Lutheran churches. Dell chairs the board of Pathways to Promise: Interfaith Ministries and Prolonged Mental Illness, St. Louis, a resource center offering information to promote ministry with people with mental illness and their families.

The next meeting for the LNMI has been slated for May 2005 in St. Louis.