The following discussion is from the second part of a session led by Dr. Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Rev. Cindy Holtrop, Dr. Warren Kinghorn, and Dr. John Swinton at the Calvin Symposium on Worship in January 2018. The first section appeared in Reformed Worship 129 and dealt with the promises and pitfalls around public worship and mental health. The rest of the session focuses on prayer.
The following is an adapted transcript of the first part of a session led by Dr. Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Rev. Cindy Holtrop, Dr. Warren Kinghorn, and Dr. John Swinton at the Calvin Symposium on Worship, held in January 2018 at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this first section they discuss together the promises and pitfalls of worship and mental illnesses. The remaining portion of this session focuses on prayer and will appear in RW 130.
I work as a chaplain at a private, nonprofit, intentionally Christian agency that offers residential treatment for boys and girls ages seven to nineteen. The majority of the residents are wards of the state, waiting to be adopted or to enter foster care. On average, the youth stay in the program six to eighteen months, allowing for significant relationships to be built. I offer spiritual care to the clients through pastoral counseling, weekly worship services, Bible studies, and off-campus volunteer opportunities.
Most worship services regularly include preaching examples and prayers for people living with physical illnesses. Do your worship services regularly include people living with mental illnesses in these same ways? If not, why not? If so, what language is used for people who live with mental illnesses? Are psychological disorders or symptoms named? Are themes of human struggle and resilience, lament and hope included in your services?