Companionship Training Saturday Nov. 8, 2014

On Sat. Nov. 8, from 9-12, the Chaplaincy will be doing a Companionship Training at the Ignatian Spirituality Center, located at St. Joseph’s Church, 732 18th Ave. E. Seattle, 98112. The ISC is sponsoring and especially inviting congregations and individuals who are involved in community service programs – food banks, meal programs and shelters – or providing any kind of assistance or visits with individuals in need. Companionship is a basic way of being present and sharing the journey with another person. This training explores the five basic practices of hospitality, neighboring, sharing side-by-side, listening and accompaniment. Companionship is simply a way of growing a caring relationship among ordinary human beings. We will also cover how to develop a companionship support group in your program or congregation. For more information, or to be placed on a list to be notified when registration opens, email Carolyn Hickman, Outreach Coordinator, or call 206.329.4824


From the Chaplain…

A Call for the Friends Assistance Fund

Recent work of the Chaplaincy has revealed the prevailing need for an Assistance Fund for those experiencing life on the street. Try as you might, you never have enough socks; nor can you seem to pull together the $80 needed for your driver’s license to secure that delivery job; or the bus ticket home to Montana; or to replace the broken window in your van before winter sets in. 3rd world problems in a 1st world setting, the most basic needs of survival.

Friends of the Chaplaincy:

This is a particular project for you!

We have set up the Assistance Fund on your behalf. Please donate, as you are able, whatever funds your heart desires, and note “Assistance Fund” on your gift. In so doing, you are designating that it is to be used specifically for those living on the street or those who are experiencing ongoing severe mental illness with limited funds for treatment or critical needs. In addition, know that this is your fund, and if you are aware of a need, please be in touch and we will administer these funds faithfully, as they are available.

All Pilgrims Church on Capitol Hill

New Chaplaincy Office: Soon to Open

Many of you who were at our annual May event heard Kae speak of a dream to have a street presence on Capitol Hill. Thanks to one of our attendees at that event, we have been hard at work with the leadership at All Pilgrims Church to open an office on site, where we can see and be seen doing the work on the street, encouraging Companionship in and among the neighbors on the Hill, and hosting and training others interested in doing this work as well. I am always stunned by the visions created, and by the dreams evolving into reality when people of common concerns come together, side-by-side, listening and accompanying one another on behalf of those in need. Companionship on all levels. Wow. Stay tuned!

 Mental Illness Awareness Week

The first full week in October is Mental Illness Awareness Week, authorized by Congress and resourced by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The NAMI website has a special section of MIAW resources – downloadable posters, fact sheets and handouts which you can use to help educate your community. Set up a table, get permission to have a shelf in your library, put an announcement in your bulletin or newsletter, make yourself known at coffee hour or set up an informal discussion time for people to share their stories or talk about mental illness. One of the most effective ways to address stigma is meeting someone who has experience with mental illness personally or as friend or family member.
 A Word from Scott Kovacs, MHC Recovery Support Specialist

Over the years, the chaplaincy has worked with a variety of programs to provide outreach to individuals who are homeless. Scott reports on a new downtown partnership

We are now in our second month of providing Companionship support for the Immanuel Community Services, Hygiene Center located in the Cascade District at Immanuel Lutheran Church. I spend three to four mornings a week sharing the journey with neighbors experiencing homelessness, walking the neighborhood and spending time with the 35 or so men and women of the ICS community While much of my work at ICS is simply hearing people’s stories, I am also coming alongside seeing their strengths, listening to their needs, and modeling hope for them. It is a joy to do the work of accompaniment and help them access services available to them.

The work I have entered into on behalf of the Mental Health Chaplaincy with ICS and in the community at large is a blend of what we all know as The Way of Companionship along with Peer Support, a model of recovery support that uses people who self-identify as having experience with mental illness to support and coach others by modeling hope, coping skills, and creating a safe relationship with a peer in recovery.  Bringing these two models together is a powerful tool for change.  One of the best parts of this paring of ideas and people is that it strengthens both of the participants in their recovery and their spiritual wellness.

Understanding Trauma

“This changes everything…” was one response to Barbara Bennett’s workshop on Understanding Trauma at St. Mark’s. Barb began by noting that our most sacred writings are rooted in events of personal and social trauma, overwhelming moments of suffering and struggle. Her presentation described how our brain and body respond, how we develop patterns of freezing, flight or fight that can be triggered again and again throughout our lives. Barb took us through the symptoms of trauma and in a series of exercises together we began to use person first language, a strengths based approach, power sharing, and mutual goal setting to become more trauma informed in our life as congregations and organizations. Workshop participants included clergy and congregational leaders, teachers and youth leaders, parish visitors, service providers, and many of us who had our own experience as individuals and family members with trauma. We thank Barb for creating a safe and welcoming space for learning and conversation and to Neal Bernstein for offering a wonderful lunch with options for everyone’s diet.

Chaplain Kae Eaton noted that this was a revival of the Chaplaincy’s history of helping provide community education events. We look forward to more opportunities to share wisdom and practice helpful to building caring congregations and compassionate community.

 Become a Friend of the Chaplaincy by donating $25. Friends of the Chaplaincy will receive a quarterly mailing (email or US post, you choose) with practical information, inspiration, and notices of trainings and other events.



Resources on Trauma, Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness

September 13, 2014 9:00am to 2:00pm

Bloedel Hall at St. Mark’s Cathedral 1245 Tenth Avenue East 

Clergy, congregational members and the wider community are invited.  A $25 donation is suggested, scholarships available, a light lunch included. To register, email us at or call 206-322-6030.

The Chaplaincy is organizing a major fall community educational event. On Saturday September 13, Barbara Bennett, will present a workshop on “Understanding Trauma Informed Care.” Barb has worked across the country with teachers, social service staff, mental health providers, public officials, first responders, corrections officers and others who are on the front lines with individuals and families who have experienced trauma. Barb opens the conversation with recognition that all of us can be overwhelmed and deeply vulnerable. She offers practical wisdom on how to respond to fear and anger, how to build trust and develop a relationship supportive of healing and growth. Barb explores how to create an environment that is respectful, safe and welcoming for all, and helps participants develop healthy approaches to self-care.

September 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Resources for clergy and congregations will be available at the workshop, and on the Chaplaincy website.

October 5-11 is Mental Illness Awareness week. Resources for congregations will be available at the workshop and on line.