Each year, the United Church of Christ designates one Sunday – usually the last Sunday in January – as a day to recognize the ministries in health and human services provided by the members of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries as well as those supported by our local churches, ministries which respond to human need with compassion and justice. This Sunday is an opportunity for congregations to lift up our common ministry of healing and service to others in Christ’s name.
I have been with St. John’s United Church of Christ in Rosenberg, Texas, for 3.5 years now. In this short time frame I have accompanied 5 families who lost a loved one to suicide. It is time we react to this health crisis in our church. That is why we decided to utilize this year’s Health and Human Service Sunday as a Sunday for Suicide Prevention. For our 10 am service on January 28, 2018, I invited Dr. Amy Harkins to co-preach with me.
Dr. Amy Harkins is a licensed psychologist working with Easter Seals of Greater Houston in their Mental Health Program. She is able to meet with adults one-on-one for talk therapy that is goal directed, strengths-based and aims to make small, yet meaningful and sustainable changes to improve the well-being and quality of life of her clients. She has worked with elders, Veterans and their loved ones and is currently responding to the emotional healthcare needs of people recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Dr. Harkins has specialized skills in working with clients who have survived traumatic life events and can assist them in healing the emotional wounds that linger after trauma has occurred. Dr. Harkins earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University in 2005. Dr. Harkins is a wife, mother of two young children and a Monarch Butterfly Rancher.
Right after church we will have a table talk in the parish hall. Then and there everybody will have a chance to reflect on their experiences with suicide. Also we will learn how to recognize and support people who are struggling. Please come and learn how to safe lives!