Amidst the cultural shift of the ecclesial landscape evidenced by diminished church attendance and facility decay, it is necessary to revision ministry. In doing so, underutilized buildings and low performing real estate assets will be reconfigured for multiple usage, i.e. housing, health care, educational opportunities and nutrition. This will allow for broader impact on the communities where we are located and serve. Additionally, it diversifies the sources of receipts, other than tithes and offering, which positions churches for sustainability and elimination of generational poverty.
MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE
The Mental Health Awareness Initiative (MHAI) of the Western Episcopal District (WED) was launched in September 2016 by the newly elected Bishop Staccato Powell and Missionary Supervisor S. Nicole Powell as an Initiative of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society (WH&OMS).
The MHAI exists to make a difference in the lives of our communities, from the inside out. It is our prayer that as we strive to reach out and touch our communities through this Initiative, we are simultaneously reaching inward to uplift and support each other in our own churches and families.
The MHAI consists of numerous ministry activities that are encompassed in three broad categories:
- Mental Health Education and Training
- Community Service and Outreach
- Mental Health Facility Development
Stigma surrounding mental health conditions and mental health treatment is ever present in faith communities. Still, individuals and families afflicted by such conditions are constantly seeking refuge and guidance from communities of faith.
- EDUCATION & TRAINING: The MHAI team distributes mental health information and resources monthly to every local church covering areas of mental health including, but not limited to Autism Awareness, Pastoral Self Care, Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Teen Pregnancy. Past areas of focus included Depression, Child Abuse, PTSD, Teen Suicide, and Homelessness. Workshops and seminars are also offered on a consistent basis. Past workshops included “Intro to Mental Health First Aid”, “Mental Health & Law Enforcement”, and “Clothed and In My Right Mind: What Mental Illness is, Isn’t, & What the Church Can Do About it.”
- COMMUNITY SERVICE & OUTREACH: Missionary Mass Meetings (quarterly) and Annual Conferences are the central launching pads for large-scale ministry activities. Past projects included a Mobile Prayer Breakfast for the homeless, Community Carnival and Mental Health Fair, donation drives for women’s and homeless shelters, and a mental health booth with brief mental health screenings in an urban downtown city center and business district.
- MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY DEVELOPMENT & SERVICE DELIVERY: The WED is establishing Mental Health Resource Rooms in each local church that provide free referral and supportive services to the community. Services are provided through volunteers from local training programs, agencies, organizations, and/or licensed practitioners.
- WHERE WE’RE GOING The MHAI intends to expand its influence beyond the WED. It is expected that the MHAI will become a national Initiative of the AME Zion Church as well as other denominations. Additionally, the MHAI will make its footprint on a macro level, embedding itself and its operations into the broader fabric of society. Establishing Mental Health Resource Rooms is a major catalyst in this process. Within the next few years, Resource Rooms are expected to expand to onsite full-service clinics. Since communities of color often rely on faith/spiritual communities for support and guidance with health issues, having these clinics in place will help to increase healthcare system utilization, reduce stigma toward mental health, reduce the onset and progression of mental illness, and improve the quality of life for communities by creating stronger, more effective alliances between communities, the church, and the healthcare system. The incoming WED headquarters will aid in the overall goal of MHAI ministry expansion by housing a number of mental health facilities, including inpatient and outpatient treatment centers.
For more information, contact Dr. Reshale L. Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org; 559.960.9328
KIDZ FOR CHRIST
Kidz4Christ focuses on developing the spiritual, mental and physical growth of all children from birth through young adulthood. We implement a Christian based curriculum in our Early Learning Centers to education the young child and prepare our children for school readiness. Children in our centers learn by doing. The program ensures that children experience spiritual and cultural opportunities in their communities. Oftentimes, children have not visited the local museum or attractions in their communities. Our programs require proper exposure to these experiences to facilitate school readiness. Bridging the community stakeholders and families together for the ultimate Christian education experience, will also grow the body of Christ.
The concept of Kids4Christ is assisting to create and sustain growth within the AME Zion Church. Sustainable growth with a spiritual foundation at an early age is key to retaining and continuing growth in Christ through the natural life of the family. Connecting families to a spiritual life will provide a nurturing and positive growth experience for children and their families for generations to follow.
Our future locations for implementation are Hilliard Chapel AME Zion Church, Stockton, California; Logan Temple AME Zion Church, San Diego, California; First AME Zion Church, Pasadena, California; First AME Zion Church, San Bernardino, California; Kyles Temple AME Zion Church, Sacramento, California and Kyles Temple AME Zion Church, Vallejo, California.
For more information, contact Mario Powell at email@example.com; 301.254.2184
COMMUNITY IMPACT - SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
Adequate And Affordable Housing
Adequate housing is recognized as a human right and part of the right to an adequate standard of living. Individuals and families suffer from inadequate food, clothing and housing. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, widely considered as the central instrument for the protection of the right to adequate housing, refers to the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.
According to research of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, millions around the world live in life-or health threatening conditions, in overcrowded slums and informal settlements, or in other conditions which do not uphold their human rights and their dignity. Individuals and families suffer from inadequate food, clothing and housing. Further millions are forcibly evicted, or threatened with forced eviction, from their homes every year.
The Western Episcopal District has adopted as one of its visionary priorities the right to adequate housing and housing-related issues and is committing itself to not only protecting the right to adequate housing but to also with a development plan of action that promotes revitalization and regeneration of neighborhoods where WED has a presence and beyond. Adequate and affordable housing provides for a renaissance in a manner that respects and balances the economic needs of the neighborhood with its unique and physical characteristics. The quality of life is improved when housing needs for families, seniors, students, the work force, veterans and homeless neighbors are achieved. Adequate and affordable housing helps achieve balance and better position the neighborhoods we serve to benefit from the added social and economic value of sustainable communities.
Nutrition, Health And Wellness
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20: you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
Healthy and Nutritious Living is a lifestyle based on the belief that sustainable communities are best when what enters the temple is life sustaining. Healthy food and living communities have grocery stores, fresh fruit and vegetable stands. Western Episcopal District believes that feeding oneself through self-care, spiritual care nutritional care is a wholesome way of creating sustainable communities.
Nutrition, health and wellness is a major area of focus for ministry in the Western Episcopal District. The ministry work in this area aims to provide health education, advocacy and programs to communities served by local churches. With a vision to augment a healthy lifestyle, a key component of building sustainable communities, the Western Episcopal District is committed to developing lifestyle ministries that lead to improved physical, emotional and mental health that are in balance and functioning well together, healthy overall lifestyles that can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses.
Male Investment Plan (MIP)
The Male Investment Plan (MIP), a partnership ministry of the AME, AME Zion and CME, is a series of empowerment, healing and spiritual enrichment sessions designed to enlighten, motivate and educate a target group of African American males ages 5-25. MIP is an initiative of Back Methodist United of which the AMEZ is a part.
The launching point of the MIP is the Saturday Academy, which is designed to address the economic, educational, spiritual, and health & wellness needs of high poverty communities across the nation. Participants of MIP, who are from partnering churches and local communities, are paired with a mentor who will work with them for at least one year and develop a covenant to reach stretch goals and objectives for the participants.
Often engaged in national conversations with media exposure, participants of the MIP session topics may include: Social Justice (Advocacy, Prison Reform, etc.), Education/ College Prep / Mentorship, Workforce Development/Training, Healthy Living / Relations and Fitness, Spiritual Enrichment; Financial Literacy and fiscal management; On Site Job Training & Hiring; Voter Registration, Entrepreneurial Training, Foundation Development, Onsite Entrepreneurial Opportunity for young Black Males to earn entrepreneurial , ACLU Community Advocates and Black Bar Associations, and Mental Health Awareness Additional topics important to young black males are also encouraged.
For more information, contact Rev. Aaron Crutison Sr., Male Investment Plan Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-290-1256
Under the leadership of Bishop Staccato Powell, the Western Episcopal District is involved in several national initiatives that focuses on people of faith’s environmental responsibility and obligation to care for, respect and protect God’s creation. Currently, the WED is affiliated with Creation Justice Ministries and eco-America.
Creation Justice Ministries
Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program) represents the creation care and environmental justice policies of major Christian denominations throughout the United States. Creation Justice works in cooperation with 38 national faith bodies including Protestant denominations and Orthodox communions as well as regional faith groups, and congregants to protect and restore God's Creation.
Doing "creation justice" means protecting, restoring, and rightly sharing God's creation. Those involved seek justice for all of God's creation, including the human beings who live in it. The approach to creation justice is informed by respect and love for our Creator. It draws on the rich heritage of Christian scriptures and traditions which call us not only to till and keep the Earth, but also to act for racial, economic, and environmental justice. Read more about the concept of Creation justice.
eco-America is missioned to build a critical mass of public support and political will for climate action in the United States by developing a network of trusted leaders and institutions who will commit to and advocate for climate solutions with their stakeholders and policymakers.
Faith communities are uniquely positioned to lead on climate change — and they will have a determining impact on solutions. ecoAmerica works individually and collectively with nearly 20 national denominations to connect climate change with their core values, and help them lead on climate solutions. They don’t join us, we join them. Through their clergy and places of worship in virtually every community in America, ecoAmerica helps faith organizations to lead on mitigation and to advocate for action with their congregations and communities.
The AMEZ-WED has collaborated with ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program, a multi-faith initiative that empowers people of faith to care for God’s creation through climate action and advocacy. This is a program by people of faith, for people of faith, offering ideas, tools, and language that are familiar, compelling and effective in addressing climate change.
To gain a better understanding of the depth and scope of ecoAmerica’s work and it partnership with faith organizations, take a moment to review The 2018 Impact Report which focuses primarily on the organization’s mission, goals, objectives and programmatic thrust. https://ecoamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ecoamerica-2018-impact-report.pdf
Helpful guides for churches and congregations to engage can be found here by clicking on the links below
We invite you to attend the American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 – May 1-2, 2019 in Washington DC