This one is mostly going to be my thoughts regarding Convention – attending for the first time as clergy, rather than as normal, everyday, person from the congregation. The experience is definitely different. There is a distinct feeling of collegiality and *oh, I’m among those who know me and love me and understand me because I’m one of them!* We have similar issues with our congregations; we worry about attendance and money and the various services that need to be done; we steal (borrow, copy) ideas for outreach; we pick each other’s brains for details; and even though we’re among the Bishops and have to do services for a large number of people, it still seems rather relaxed. Getting vested, we’re all gathered in a separate place and it’s like being backstage before a play – people are sewing things and pinning things, fixing collars, admiring stoles, telling stories and catching up. I was terribly amused. 🙂
The first thing we did Friday afternoon was attend a Suicide Prevention seminar. Given that Montana has one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation, this was an eye-opening seminar. Per capita, Montana has *the* highest rate of suicide, and the number of suicides by veterans per capita is three times the national rate. This is a significant problem, and one to be well aware of. Mary Alice and Jim Jones (the opening joke is that he’s not allowed near the Kool-Aid) give the seminar and provided excellent information. They focused on two acronyms, and covered myths and facts about suicide quite well.
QPR – standing for Question, Persuade and Refer
A – Assess
L – Listen, non-judgmentally
G – Give reassurance and information
E – Encourage them to get appropriate help
E – Encourage them to use self-help and other strategies
So, after consulting with our visiting priest who actually lives part-time in Troy, we’ve decided to try doing a full-day Suicide Prevention Workshop, hopefully holding it at the Senior Center, encouraging in particular seniors, high school kids, veterans, healthcare workers and emergency first responders to attend. We’d like to do this in conjunction with Mary Alice and Jim as the facilitators, Rainy (who works with a different group on the same thing), and have the VFW and Holy Trinity sponsor the event. I’m hoping to aim for April for this one.
I also spoke at length with Deacon Connie, whom I believe I’ve mentioned before – I’d like to grow into a deacon just like her. She’s awesome. In any case, I picked her brain with regard to the Healing Ministry they run at St. James. They do it under the auspices of the Order of St. Luke the Physician. The training is extensive, taking about 6 months of once a week get-togethers, which I’m not going to object to. It covers the healing miracles of Jesus, teaches prayers and laying on hands techniques. I asked Connie about the various healing modalities (reiki, quantum touch, pranic, sacral-cranial, etc., etc.) which when done in the name of Christ are the same thing as prayers. She’d not heard of anyone doing it, but said she didn’t see a problem with it. I am reminded of a New Testament reading I heard recently: “But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.” (Mark 9:39). So, I have more to say on this, but I’ve run out of time to talk. To be continued…