On Monday it was World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues.
This week, St David’s Uniting Church hosted Radio 4’s Sunday worship programme, which was led by one of our members, Beverley Humphreys. Beverley is an experienced radio presenter and is Chair of the mental health project ‘Growing Space’, based at Tredegar House in Newport.
The service explored the light and darkness of human experience through the ‘prism of faith’ – in particular through the experience of the psalmists. It included three short extracts from an interview which Beverley recorded with one of the clients of the Growing Space project, giving a real example of both the depth of pain and isolation and the possibilities of healing for people experiencing mental health problems.
The hymns, beautifully sung by the BBC National Chorus of Wales, and the prayers, written by our minister the Rev Simon Walkling, were carefully crafted to complement Beverley’s words and create a wholesome experience of worship.
Some of the choir members afterwards told me they had found the service moving and had to make an effort to ‘pull themselves together’ for the next item they were singing!
You can read the transcript of the service in the Sunday Worship archives on the BBC website.
I’ll end with one of the prayers used toward the end of the service:
We pray with hope for people seeking recovery
we give thanks when conversation and care from family and friends makes a difference;
we give thanks when medication lifts mood and changes outlook;
we give thanks when therapies change the spiral from down and inward to looking out and up;
we give thanks when the therapy of talking deals with problems from the past and gives direction for the future;
we give thanks when prayers are answered.
So we offer these prayers, for those who suffer, for those who support, for those who research more effective treatments, and we pray for your kingdom community of healing and hope. Amen