Concordia Deaconess Conference presentation

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This coming week I will be speaking to the Concordia Deaconess Conference about the topic of depression and mental illness.  I’ll have about four hours with these fine ladies, and I am really looking forward to the opportunity.

My plan right now is to divide the presentation into two parts.  The first part will be on living with depression.  This section will be an overview of the book, and trying to provide some insight into the mind of the depressed and/or mentally ill.  The second part will be on how to serve those who suffer with depression and/or mental illnesses of various types, and how to serve their families.

So my question for you today is this: if you had this opportunity, what would you want to teach about and why?  How do you see the role of deaconesses and others in your congregations when it comes to serving those in need, especially with mental illnesses?  Do they have a place?  What is the place?  Are they better suited to serve the family, or the person directly?  I have my own ideas on these subjects, but I would love to hear yours as well.

-DMR

 

 

4 thoughts on “Concordia Deaconess Conference presentation”

  1. I think "insight into the mind of the depressed and/or mentally ill" is priceless. It is so hard to understand how depression changes everything about how a person sees the world. I imagine you will also discuss the spiritual confusion that depression/mental illness can create. My relationship with God has been deeper, more primitive, more fraught, and sometimes so painfully distant in the midst of depression. The law is misery to me when I am deeply depressed; grace absurd and lifegiving.

  2. Great question. I think I would talk about pain. How do you listen to someone in pain. Patience is important and lots of time. Listen and point to Christ (psalms and prayers).

    How can a deaconess help? I think they can do many things to let people know that the church does care about them even when it seems they don't. They can drive or organize drivers so people can get to the doctor appointments. Check up on them frequently. Organize congregation members to help out. Are they warm enough, bills paid, medication taken.

    Don't really think that is an answer. I would recommend that deaconesses be prepared to face people with chronic suffering and that they be prepared to care for themselves against Compassion Fatigue. Since they are not doctors, nurses, or pastors, I think their role would be confusing in a congregation. Communicate well with the pastor and set up some clear boundaries.

    Those are just a few ideas. God bless.

    -oms

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