art by: Jerome Lawrence shadow voices: finding hope in mental illness
 
Role of Church & Faith : Worship Resources

These worship resources were compiled by Susan Gregg-Schroeder in a Resource Guide to accompany the video, Mental Health Mission Moments. (To order the complete Resource Guide and a VHS or DVD copy of the video, contact Mental Health Ministries). Used by permission. If printing any of these resources, please credit the source found at the end of each.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Let us worship God who wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves;
the one who is weak and the one who is strong,
the one who is happy or sad,
the one who is blessed with mental health and the one who is not,
the one whom we understand and the one we don’t,
the one who is embraced or the one who is shunned,
the one who is like us or the one who is different.
Let us worship God who desires our love.
Let us worship God with our thoughts, prayers and songs.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.17. Adapted from the Arvada Mennonite Church Bulletin, “Call to Worship,” June 20, 1982 by Susan Gregg-Schroeder in Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide. Used by permission.


LITANIES

Leader: We pray for those who are affected by illness, anguish and pain.

Response: Heal them.

Leader: Grant courage to those who are struck by mental illness.

Response: Encourage them.

Leader: Grant strength and compassion to families and friends who give their loving care, support and help.

Response: Strengthen them.

Leader: Grant wisdom to those educating themselves about mental illness.

Response: Inform them.

Leader: Grant perseverance to those in search of compassionate care and treatment.

Response: Inspire them.

Leader: Grant clarity of vision and strength of purpose to the leaders of our institutions and our government. May they be moved to act with justice and compassion. May we all find the courage to overcome fear and ignorance.

Response: Guide them.

All: Bless and heal us all. Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.11. Adapted from A Service of Healing, March 1992. The Jewish Healing Center of San Francisco by Susan Gregg-Schroeder in Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide. Used by permission.


Leader: Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are suffering.

Congregation:  Give us the wisdom to know what we can do to comfort them and be with us as we attempt to do so.

Leader: Today, we especially ask that you be with those with a mental illness. Help them to have faith that you are with them even in their most difficult times.

Congregation:  Guide us as we show them love and compassion.

Leader: We beseech you to provide understanding and direction to the leaders of our nation. Help them to recognize the needs of those who are suffering and have the desire to respond with justice and compassion.

Congregation:  Lord, help us all to do the same.

All: Bless, guide and heal us. We pray in the name of Jesus, who has shown us the way. Amen.

Copyright FaithNet NAMI. Used by permission.To read a presentation made by Susan Christiansen to her congregation (Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Santa Ana, Cal.) preceding the reading of the above litany, visit this link. (Faith Reading) Susan’s adult son has schizophrenia.


PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Leader: We confess that we are still uninformed about mental illness and how it impacts person and their families.

Response: At times, because of our lack of knowledge and understanding we find ourselves separated from our sisters and brothers with mental illness, their families and ourselves.

Leader: There are lines drawn between us because we may define wholeness and normality with different words, but not a different spirit.

Response: Because of our lack of knowledge we live cut off from sources of strength and power that would help us be present to people with mental illness. This lack often makes us feel that we cannot act.

Leader: So many events, meetings and needs call to us, grabbing for our attention, that we find ourselves stretched to a fine, thin line.

Response: In the face of all this, we continue to seek knowledge and understanding of mental illness that will bring liberation and shalom to us and those we serve.

All: O God, our liberation and shalom, we seek the power of your Spirit, that we may live in fuller union with you, ourselves and our sisters and brothers with mental illness. Also grant that we may gain courage to love and understand each other. Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.17. Adapted from “A Litany of Closing, Confession and Hope” by Chaplain Patricia Robertson, Brook Lane Psychiatric Center, Hagerstown, Maryland by Susan Gregg-Schroeder in Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide. Used by permission.


PASTORAL PRAYER

Loving Creator and Guiding Spirit, we invoke your presence and guidance for all who are gathered here today. For those of us who suffer from some form of mental illness, we seek your presence in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. Give us courage to face our challenges and open us today to the many ways you are already working in our midst.

Help us to identify mental illness as the disease it is, that we might have courage and wisdom in the face of ignorance and stigma. Inspire us as we seek to overcome fear, acquire knowledge, and advocate for compassionate and enlightened treatment and services.

Lead us as we open our hearts and homes, our communities and job opportunities, our houses of worship and communities of faith. Enable us to find ways to be inclusive of persons living with mental illness in our everyday lives. Be with doctors, therapists, researchers, social workers, and all those in the helping professions as they seek to overcome ignorance and injustice with care and compassion.

Sometimes, Divine Spirit, it is difficult to feel good about ourselves. Help us to see ourselves as you see us…persons of value and worth…persons of creativity and potential. May we come to understand the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit in bringing about health and wholeness. And may we go forward from this place today with a renewed sense of vision, hope and possibilities for the future. Amen.

Reverend Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.


PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

O merciful God, we know that nothing can separate us from your love. Hold us and our loved ones as we may suffer from mental illness. We know you perceive us as we are. You hear the desires of our hearts. Give us courage to face the challenges of mental illness. Grant us hope in communities that care and trust. We draw strength from you as you offer us new opportunities, even when we cannot envision them for ourselves. Teach us to reach out to people with mental illness and their families in the spirit of your love. In God’s name, Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.29. Taken from Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.

God, help people to respect persons with a mental illness and their families rather than to ignore or pity them. In difficult conditions, be with us all. In darkness, grant us wisdom that we may know your will. In times of intense emotions, grant us calm that we may know your peace. In the light, grant us awareness that all may know your love. Unite us as caregivers, family members, consumers and professionals. Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.36. Dan Halwe. Taken from Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.


PRAYERS OF COMMITMENT

Leader: O Creator, we pray for all who suffer in mind or spirit. Grant them your peace.

People: Help us identify mental illness as the disease it is. Help us share our knowledge with others.

Leader: Grant us the courage and wisdom to help remove the stigma of mental illness from those who suffer.

People: Give us understanding and openness that we might reach out in love to persons who are ill and their families.

Leader: Make us channels of care, communicating the needs of those living with mental illness to our faith communities, helping them respond with compassion.

People: Strengthen us in our efforts, empower us for our task, unite us for action.

Leader: Let us join in saying,

People: Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p. 12,13. Missouri Religious Network on Mental Illness, 1993. Taken from Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.


(In Unison) Holy Spirit, Fire of Life and Fountain of Blessing, as you have promised to comfort the sick, the lonely and the depressed, incline your ear to your children who live with mental illness and speedily defend and deliver them.

Guide us in a commitment to people with mental illness and their families. Let compassion and truth be our constant companion. Inspire us as we overcome fear, acquire knowledge and advocate for compassion and enlightened treatment and services. Give us courage to stand and speak forthrightly in the face of ignorance and stigma.

Finally, O God of Promise, fill us today with the fire and love which only you possess, that your will may be done here, and your name glorified forever. Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.18. Adapted from a prayer by the Reverend Richard L. York by Susan Gregg-Schroeder in Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide. Used by permission.


PRAYER OF INVOCATION

O Holy God:

Our congregations are filled with persons whose lives are challenged by mental illness and families who struggle to meet the ongoing medical and physical, emotional and spiritual needs of their loved ones.

Create in us an openness to their gifts, a commitment to their struggle for justice, and tenderness to their need. Take away our fears and timidness, replacing them with courage and advocacy.

As people of faith, rooted in your love and guided by your grace, make us strong to serve, that all creation may know fullness and satisfaction of a life of faith and service.

Shifrin. Worship Resources, p.42. Father James Betz-Interfaith Service at the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Conference, 1992. Taken from Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.


BENEDICTIONS (In Unison)

God, hold us and our loved ones who live with emotional and mental illness.
Give us courage to face our difficulties and to overcome fear.
Assist us to walk humbly and act justly and love tenderly every day.
Give us knowledge to understand mental illness. Give us strength to advocate for just and compassionate treatment and services.
Grant us hope in communities that care and trust. Give us inspiration as we go from this place proclaiming love and healing for all.
Spirit of Life, bless us and keep us always. Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources. p. 19. Taken from Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.

Lord, grant courage and faith to those with mental illness and their families.
Grant strength and understanding to us and all who love them.
Grant empathy and insight to those who bring healing.
Grant openness and compassion to our congregation as we reach out to those who are ill and their families.
Grant us the perseverance to fight against ignorance and injustice.
May we continue to find within ourselves the will to reach out to those in need.
And in the love of others, may we know the blessing of community and the blessing of renewed faith. Amen.

Shifrin. Worship Resources. p. 25. Taken from Mental Health Mission Moments Resource Guide by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. Used by permission.

RESPONSIVE READING

Leader:
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are suffering.

Congregation:  Give us the wisdom to know what we can do to comfort them and be with us as we attempt to do so.

Leader: Today, we especially ask that you be with those with a mental illness. Help them to have faith that you are with them even in their most difficult times.

Congregation:  Guide us as we show them love and compassion.

Leader: We beseech you to provide understanding and direction to the leaders of our nation. Help them to recognize the needs of those who are suffering and have the desire to respond with justice and compassion.

Congregation:  Lord, help us all to do the same.

All: Bless, guide and heal us. We pray in the name of Jesus, who has shown us the way. Amen.

Copyright FaithNet NAMI.  Used by permission.  

BULLETIN INSERTS

Bulletin insert from Mental Health Ministries

Bulletin insert from FaithNet, NAMI.