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NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE: Call 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial:
You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area. With over 120 crisis centers across the country, providing immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is free and confidential.
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS:
Are you looking for an Orthodox Christian Counselor? We are currently putting together a referral list of Mental Health Professions (psychologists, family therapists, counselors and social workers) soon to be released. Please contact your priest for guidance and direction when seeking a qualified therapist to meet your needs. Don’t wait until your marriage is broken beyond repair or your family is in turmoil. Speaking with a mental health professional can make all the difference.
“EQUIPPING THE SAINTS”
STARTING A FAMILY WELLNESS MINISTRY
IN YOUR PARISH
Take time to read: Starting A Ministry
Implementing Family Wellness Ministry in your parish can be fun, easy and fruitful. Our Metropolis Family Wellness Ministry Team is dedicated to helping you through each step.
- Identify Need
- Appoint Leader
- Create Plan
- Garner Support
- Deliver Quality
- Communicate Results
- Show Appreciation
Connect with your priest and receive his blessing to gather a team of people interested in supporting a Family Wellness Ministry in your parish.
Invite interested people to get involved in establishing a Family Wellness Ministry. Set a meeting date, time, place.
During your first meeting
Vision Planning for your Family Wellness Ministry:
“Connecting individuals, couples, families and clergy through the heart toward healthy Christ-centered relationships.”
~Our Family Wellness Ministry Mission Statement“Face to Face ~ Heart to Heart”
~ Our Family Wellness Ministry Motto
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.” –Matthew 6:33
~ Our Family Wellness Ministry Scripture Verse
Take a LOOK at YOUR PARISH NEEDS: What ministries are working well within your parish? Discuss strengths – How do these ministries connect under the umbrella of Family Wellness? (i.e.: a vibrant Sunday School, Youth Group and Senior program connects our community into healthy Christ-centered relationships)
BRAINSTORM: What are words that come to mind for your HOPES for the Family Wellness Ministry in your parish?
Discuss ideas for Family Wellness Ministry activities that interest your group. Ideas like: Date Night Challenge, Christmas Fellowship for Families, Lenten Godparent Program, Activities focusing on Seniors… See many ideas below.
Leadership will emerge from your small group to take on one or two projects/events to start. Family Wellness Ambassadors take responsibility and invite involvement. Never tell your priest “We need to do this.. or we want you to provide that…” The Family Wellness Ministry is about “equipping the saints” (That’s YOU) Our priests are overworked and over scheduled and we don’t want to add more responsibilities to their workload. We must have a clear plan for execution, we need a blessing from our priest, and when all are working together a Family Wellness Ministry will blossom in the church community!
Your Metropolis Family Wellness team is willing to help you though each step of planning and preparing for your activities and events. Currently, we are working on developing several resources to support clergy, families and individuals.
FAMILY WELLNESS BULLETIN INSERT:
Here’s an example of the bi-monthly Family Wellness bulletin insert we will be producing to share with church communities throughout the Metropolis:
IDEAS FOR FAMILY WELLNESS ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS:
Family Dinner Challenge– Outreach project encouraging families to prioritize family dinners. Pray before meals, build connections, disconnect to reconnect (put away all electronic devices). Provide questions for family dinner conversations. Decorate Question Jar and ‘Cell Phone box’ for family table (where all electronic devices go during dinner time and before bedtime) Post reminders on posters and in church bulletin about “Family Dinner Challenge”
Click here to download Family Dinner Questions:
Family Dinner Questions
Week 1. Couples experience a lovely meal together followed by activities for couples to connect with not only with each other but also with couples in the church. Give out conversation starters, prayer for couples, homemade soap and candles. Weeks 2 & 3 – Couples are encouraged to drop off kids for free childcare and go out on dates. (Couples post pic. of date nights, names placed in drawing for restaurant gift cards)
Family Craft Day– Afternoon of ART projects for parish families to enjoy creativity together. This is especially meaningful when decorating your church hall for the Christmas season. Children decorate and make ornaments for the Parish Christmas Tree.
Financial Peace University– A 12 week program (Dave Ramsey) designed to help families and individuals to become debt free, prepare for the future, create a budget together and restore financial peace in their lives.
Family Game Night –Social Connections for church community and family bonding through game playing (families bring favorite board games) FWM team provides pizza, salad and beverages and initial icebreaker to connect groups. Families bring desserts and games to share
Parish Family Movie Night– Fun evening for families in the church to gather together for fellowship and discussion. FWM provides
Suggestions: (Teens/Parents) WONDER, COCO, The Greatest Showman,
‘Cloud of Witnesses’– Grief Support for those who have lost loved ones. (8 week series including video, discussion, prayers, support) “GRIEF SHARE” is an excellent grief support program to order online
Lenten Godparent Project – Parishioners sign up and are paired with children in the parish to become “Lenten God-parents” encouraging kids and teens to walk the Lenten journey together as a church family. Goal: Attend a few weekday services together, build relationships within the parish family, provide support and encouragement for all family members. Lenten Godparents write personal weekly letters throughout the 40 day fast, commit to praying for their Lenten God-child, and work to have weekly communication – “face to face / heart to heart” connection. Click on this link to see a sample of our Sign Up Sheet:
Lenten Journey to Pascha–The Pascha Passports are intended to help family’s journey to Pascha. They are used as a means of enrichment and education about the Lenten season to be used by the entire family or individually by children. Your Sunday school program along side Family Wellness Ministry can support this program. You can order through St. Spyridon’s Church Website
FWM Family Retreat– A two-day retreat dedicated to family wellness and connecting. Guest Retreat Leader, Speakers, Crafts, Games and Activities for kids and parents alike. Your Family Wellness Ministry Team will help you along the process of planning this extraordinary Family Wellness Event!
6-8 Week Family Wellness Book Group
Discussion of various books that encourage faith, family, and healthy relationships. In both small and large groups, communities gain insight, direction, and fellowship shared in book groups.
Genesis Process: Small Groups for Change
Give Back Group- A support group for those struggling with addictions. This group evolved out of Holy Apostles’ parish need to address issues and support families who were dealing with children and parents involved with drugs, alcoholism, gambling, depression, sex addiction and other issues. (Needed: Skilled counselor as a leader) If you are interested, please contact Fr. Tom Tsagalakis for more information. He allows for people from outside Holy Apostles’ parish to find support by Skyping in to a meeting and providing help to parents and families struggling with an addiction. Check out the Give Back Group Website. http://www.givebackgroupha.org
Parenting Workshops : FWM Speakers George Papageorge, Pres. Pat, Fr. Tom, Fr. Jim and Pres. Donna – address important issues impacting marriage and family relationships
Prepare and Enrich – Pre-marriage Counseling Tools for clergy and laity.
Journey of Marriage in the Orthodox
Mom and Tots Group– Encouraging moms and tot to connect with one another providing fellowship and support. (bi-monthly)
Fall Health and Wellness Month – Church nurses provide Flu Shots for those interested in participating during the month of October/Nov. Connect with local nurses in your church community and invite them to get involved.
Aging with Grace– Provide fellowship opportunities for Seniors. Engage in conversations to help those who are caring for aging parents and find support. Seek out leadership from a trained social worker who can walk side-by-side families dealing with elder care issues. The key is finding parishioners to join the family wellness ministry to share their wisdom and talents.
Family Wellness Outreach to Sick, Shut In, and Lonely: Partnering with Philoptochos, the parish Family Wellness Ministry provides “Thinking of you” baskets. Items: Prayer Rope, Prayer Book, Icon Night Light, Prayer for Healing, Lotion, CD of Orthodox Music.
Outreach Comfort Kits for Homeless: Partner with your Sunday School program or your local Philoptochos chapter to gather items for “Comfort Kits” for homeless: In a Gallon size Zip lock bag put items such as: Hand Warmers, Hat, Glove, Granola Bars, Juice Box, Small Flashlight, Icon, Prayer, Personal Hygiene products) After Comfort Kits are assembled, hand them out to parishioners to keep in their cars and distribute to those in need.
Women’s Health and Wellness Fellowship meets to exercise, plan meals and discuss issues around women’s health. Consider going on a weekend retreat together and enjoying the fellowship of other women in your parish!
Family Prayer Partners -families within the parish exchange names and prayer requests of loved ones. Family Prayer Partners commit praying for one another throughout the year
Divorce Care–is a divorce recovery support group to receive help and healing for the hurt of separation and divorce.
Click on this video to hear from our Family Wellness Divorce Care Coordinator Joe Borgonia
Godparent Sunday –Emphasizing the importance of our spiritual family connections. A special Sunday designated to honor godparents, receive community together and receive a special prayer blessing from your priest.
Men’s Group Ministry: Encouraging the fellowship of men to grow in faith, love, commitment to Christ and their families. http://myocn.net/be-a-man/
OTHER IDEAS? Seek out resources, gifts and talents of people in your community. Share your ideas with us! We want to hear about what you are doing in your parish. Please contact us.