Fall Ventures series kicks off Sept. 18 with course on supporting those with mental illness

By Kendra Flory

The Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College begins its 2023-2024 season with a two-part course on “Supporting Those with Mental Illness in Your Congregation and Community” presented by Intersect director David Eckert and held online on Sept. 18 and 25 at 6 to 8 p.m. (central time). Part 1 of the course is not required to attend Part 2.

The second course this fall will be presented Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon (central) by the McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren Welcomers Group, sharing their experience helping settle refugees from Ukraine.

The final course this fall on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (central) is presented by Bobbi Dykema, speaking on the biblical matriarchs.

Continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. During the registration process, participants have the opportunity to pay for CEUs and to give an optional donation to the Ventures program. To learn more about Ventures in Christian Discipleship and to register for courses, visit www.mcpherson.edu/ventures.

Please pray… For the Ventures in Christian Discipleship and all of those who present and who attend courses to learn more about ministering in Jesus’ name.

“Supporting Those with Mental Illness in Your Congregation and Community”

On Sept. 18, at 6 to 8 p.m. (central time), Part 1 will provide clergy and faith community members approaches to making their congregations welcoming and supportive spaces for people with mental illness. Particular attention will be given to public communication, relationship development, and partnering with external mental health providers.

On Sept. 25, at 6 to 8 p.m. (central), Part 2 titled “Ministering to Those in Crisis: Creating an Internal System of Care” will equip church staff in developing an internal process for supporting people in their congregation or community impacted by abuse, mental health struggles, self-harm, or thoughts of suicide.

Eckert is founder and director of Intersect, an initiative within Access Services that supports those at the intersection of faith and mental health through consultation, training, and the fostering of collaboration between faith communities and mental health providers. He has spent more thn 20 years working for Access in various roles including director of a Mobile Psychiatric Rehabilitation program and agency chaplain. He is an ordained minister, serving as one of the pastors at Grace Community Church in Chalfont, Pa., for the last 15 years. He is a certified trainer in the areas of suicide intervention and psychiatric rehabilitation. He has co-authored the Opioid Response Network’s “Opioid Use Disorder Toolkit for Faith-Based Community Leaders.” He holds degrees in social work, biblical studies, and divinity.

— Kendra Flory is advancement assistant at McPherson (Kan.) College.


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