Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Our WISE Team will meet for the first time on Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30 pm. WISE means Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged for mental health. There are nine steps to becoming a WISE Congregation:
Step 1: Consult with your faith community leaders.
Step 2: Form a WISE Team.
Step 3: Connect with the UCC Mental Health Network and examine available resources.
Step 4: Become educated about mental health and offer educational events for the community. - There are a variety of ways to create an atmosphere of understanding about mental health challenges and, in the process, overcome stigma: host educational programs about mental health, bring in outside speakers, use videos and/or have study groups on relevant books that address this topic.
Step 5: Draft your WISE Covenant. - Your WISE Covenant for Mental Health fleshes out the concrete actions our congregation will take to become welcoming, inclusive, supportive, and engaged for mental health in your congregation and community.
Step 6: Vote.
Step 7: Certify and celebrate becoming WISE. - The UCC Mental Health Network will certify our church as a WISE Congregation for mental health when they receive a copy of our adopted WISE Covenant and a summary of the process our church followed to become WISE. Once our WISE Covenant is certified by the UCC MHN board of directors, our church will be officially listed as WISE on the UCC MHN and national UCC website, and we will receive a signed certificate.
Step 8: Publicize. - Share our WISE Congregation commitment via local media, our association, and our conference. You are now community leaders who can offer a welcoming place for often-marginalized members of the community. One of the easiest ways to proclaim our leadership as a WISE Congregation is through drafting and emailing a press release to local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations.
Step 9: Turn to the future. - As we live into our WISE covenant, new opportunities for mission and ministry will emerge. To keep our mental health ministry growing, we may form a standing WISE team to explore ways our congregation can transform and expand over time. And share our successes and our lessons learned with other faith communities and with UCC MHN. Our experiences will inspire the next faith community walking the steps to become a WISE Congregation for Mental Health.
We have already completed steps 1 and 2. If you are interested in helping us become a WISE Congregation please join us on Tuesday, November 20 at 6:30 pm.
Blessings on the journey,