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      How to Care for Those with Mental Illness:  New courses provide practical help   – By Hayley Lukabyo   When friends confide about their struggles with a mental health challenge, it’s not always easy for Christians to know how to respond. Beyond dropping off a casserole, what practical ways can we offer genuine love and Christian care?  Considering almost half of all Australians experience a mental illness in their lives, the question is both timely and relevant, reflecting an ever-growing need for Christians to have biblical and practical ways to address such challenges. Sarah Condie, co-director of ADM’s Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute (MHPCI),  notes that  “with mental health challenges on the rise – whether depression, loneliness or more difficult illnesses ­– Christians are increasingly faced with questions of caring more deeply for those in our midst.”  Several new short courses, then, have been created with these questions in mind. Co-sponsored by the MHPCI and Mary Andrews College, a variety of upcoming short courses focus on equipping church members, ministry staff and leaders to care for those in their congregations facing mental health challenges:      Mental Health 101 on 27th March      Mental Health Masterclass on 3rd April     Times and fees vary and enrolment has filled up quickly for this term; however, some spaces are still available through:   www.mentalhealthinstitute.org.au/shortcourses    “There is great encouragement when a group of like-minded people gather around a topic that is significant for them, and that is why I’m excited to be a part of the short courses developed here”, says Kerrie Newmarch, ADM Director of Church Engagement and Training. “These new courses provide a great opportunity to develop our understanding and compassion of areas for well being, which can be difficult.”   The Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute takes a holistic approach to addressing various challenges and aspects of mental illness, combining elements of pastoral care with current research in psychology.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Rev. Dr Keith Condie  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     “Our starting point is God’s loving concern for the spiritual, mental, emotional, physical and social well being of all”, says Rev. Dr. Keith Condie, co-director of the MHPCI. “We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks into all life contexts to provide grace and encouragement, and to alleviate distress.”    Mental Health 101  provides participants with an overview of common mental health disorders, how the mental health system works in Australia, the role of the church and how to respond to a crisis. Dr. Condie will conduct the course, which is open for all church members seeking to understand the needs of those within their communities.    Dr. Condie, alongside Jackie Stoneman, Director of Studies at Mary Andrews College, will also run a  Mental Health Masterclass  for ministry staff and pastoral care workers, which provides a theological and practical framework for navigating mental illness and church life with wisdom.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Rev. Jackie Stoneman  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Rev. Stoneman will teach  People Matters , introducing specific and practical skills for all church members who want to build effective and caring relationships that honour Christ. Grounded in biblical principles, the course deepens participants’ understanding of people and knowledge of what makes healthy relationships while carrying out God’s work in caring for others.   To find out more about the Institute’s ongoing short courses, or other new initiatives such as the Building a Safe and Strong Marriage course and the Raising Resilient Parents course, visit the website  here .

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How to Care for Those with Mental Illness: New courses provide practical help

When friends confide about their struggles with a mental health challenge, it’s not always easy for Christians to know how to respond. Beyond dropping off a casserole, what practical ways can we offer genuine love and Christian care?

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      ADM Celebrates Launch of “Building a Safe & Strong Marriage”   Five-Part Video Enrichment Course Highlights Research and Biblical Perspectives       by – Jo Kadlecek         Sometimes even the best marriages need a little help. Whether they’ve celebrated their first or their 25th wedding anniversary, many couples today live very busy lives and time to connect and talk openly and honestly can be missing.  To that end, Anglican Deaconess Ministries has created a new marriage enrichment course called,  Building a Safe & Strong Marriage , to be launched on 28 February and available for purchase through ADM’s BuildingMarriage.com.au. Drawn from the work of Sarah and Rev Dr Keith Condie—who have spent the past 15 years facilitating marriage workshops in churches, theological colleges and small groups— Building a Safe & Strong Marriage  is a five-part video course for couples in church or group settings or at home and includes accompanying workbooks and resources.       
   
     “ Building a Safe & Strong Marriage is a unique approach in that it draws on biblical truths and wisdom, as well as leading marriage research ” 
   
  
 
     “Building a Safe & Strong Marriage is a unique approach in that it draws on biblical truths and wisdom, as well as leading marriage research,” said Dr Condie. “We’ve brought these elements together for couples to strengthen and develop their relationships, but we’ve done it through an Australian lens and a Christian perspective.”  The course encourages couples to do “little things every day” to keep them well connected.  ADM’s Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute developed the course in response to increasing challenges for today’s marriages. Statistics show that approximately one in three Australian marriages end in divorce.  “There has never been a more crucial time for Christians to lead the way in helping to build healthy marriages, both within our churches and in our communities,” said Dr Kate Harrison Brennan, ADM’s CEO.             The  Building a Safe & Strong Marriage  course was created by Keith & Sarah Condie, who have successfully helped thousands of couples build their marriage over the 15 years they have been running the course.         The video course is designed for flexible use in small or large groups. Facilitators are provided with a comprehensive manual for hosting a course in their local church or community setting.  During the course, couples have time to talk together on their own in response to the video content. Topics explored include: God’s design for marriage, what damages connectedness, building the positives of friendship, communication, sex, spirituality, and managing conflict gently.   Responses to the content in  Building a Safe & Strong Marriage  have already been positive. One couple said that though they have been married twenty years, the course “gave us a chance to set aside a night for five weeks to focus on ‘us’ and talk about things we don’t normally talk about. Our marriage was going well, but this course helped us not to take that for granted, to value doing the daily things that keep us connected.”   “The legacy of strong, healthy marriages will benefit children, church communities and the wider society,” said Sarah Condie. “We know from our own experience that building a strong marriage is not easy but with the right tools and support, it’s not only possible, it’s worth every effort.”       
 
	 visit www.buildingmarriage.com.au 
      Word is getting out about the course!  Read the Eternity News article and watch their interview with Keith and Sarah.

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ADM Celebrates Launch of “Building a Safe & Strong Marriage”

Five-Part Video Enrichment Course Highlights Research and Biblical Perspectives

Sometimes even the best marriages need a little help. Whether they’ve celebrated their first or their 25th wedding anniversary, many couples today live very busy lives and time to connect and talk openly and honestly can be missing.

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      Key Findings for ADM and the Church at Mental Health Conference       Keith and Sarah Condie, Co-Directors of the Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute at ADM, were privileged to attend ‘The Struggle is Real’ – a conference on mental health and the mission of the church, at California Baptist University at the end of March. Keith and Sarah report on their time at the conference and their learnings:    The conference was run by the American Association of Christian Counsellors. While most of those attending were psychologists and counsellors working in a variety of settings, a good number of delegates were ministers and others with pastoral responsibilities in churches. The particular focus of the conference was how the church might assist those struggling with their mental health.  Statistics were shared on the extent of mental health concerns in the USA, but one of the most powerful aspects of the conference was the willingness of some of the speakers to share so openly about their own experiences. It was deeply moving to hear Christian leaders speak about the impact upon them of a family member’s suicide. One speaker shared that youth suicide in their local community was a stimulus for their church to reach out with help to the local schools. Another shared how, as a young man, he had had to flee the family home due to abuse from his alcoholic father. The love he had received from Christians at this time changed his life and shaped the way he conducted his academic work and therapeutic practice.  In addition to the plenary sessions, we also participated in numerous workshops. At a number of these, we heard some thoughtful consideration about how Christian faith relates to psychological theory and practice.  Overall, one of the key positive messages we heard throughout the workshops was that gracious, compassionate relationships provide the sense of safety that facilitates positive change and provides the support that is needed by all of us for our mental wellbeing. Churches, therefore, have much to offer and, by working in partnership with mental health professionals, can assist in achieving positive outcomes.  We left the conference with much to reflect upon. We were inspired by what some are doing to fight stigma and to educate churches in how to provide an effective pastoral response to mental health concerns. We were challenged by how much more still needs to be done. But, above all, it deepened our conviction that the Christian gospel and the community of the church can make a positive contribution to mental health.   Learn more about ADM's Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute ...

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Key Findings for ADM and the Church at Mental Health Conference

Keith and Sarah Condie, Co-Directors of the Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute at ADM, were privileged to attend ‘The Struggle is Real’ – a conference on mental health and the mission of the church, at California Baptist University at the end of March. Keith and Sarah report on their time at the conference and their learnings…

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      ‘Raising Resilient Parents’ Course Expands  Sarah Condie, Co-Director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, recently received the good news that more churches will have the chance to implement the ‘Raising Resilient Parents’ course, thanks to funding from Fuller Seminary in the United States.  The course – which is particularly aimed at first-time mums – was designed by Sarah in collaboration with Lyn Worsley, a clinical psychologist and director of The Resilience Centre. They have already successfully trialled the course at Church by the Bridge in Kirribilli, where Sarah is the part-time Women’s Minister and Lyn is also a congregation member.   Now, with the help of an extended grant from Fuller, the door has opened for the course to be run in other churches.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Lyn Worsley (left) and Sarah Condie (right)  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Sarah says,  “Lyn and I are very encouraged by this support from Fuller Seminary. Their interest in the project was sparked by the lack of similar courses (even in the US). So they saw a huge need for the course that we have developed.”    Sarah outlines how the funding could be used to further develop the course: “We would like to use this money to go towards funding our first ‘scholarship’, where we train a woman to run the course in her own church and partner with her in this training for 12 months.”  In the long term, Sarah and Lyn hope to equip and train many more churches to implement the course and to extend the four-week intensive course into a 12-month program that provides longer-term support and connection for parents through monthly discussion groups.  Please continue to pray with us for Sarah and Lyn, and for all the first-time mums who will experience this program – this year and in the future.    Find out more about ADM's Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute ...   

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‘Raising Resilient Parents’ Course Expands

Sarah Condie, Co-Director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, recently received the good news that more churches will have the chance to implement the ‘Raising Resilient Parents’ course, thanks to funding from Fuller Seminary in the United States…

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      Building A Safe & Strong Marriage in 2018        ADM's brand-new marriage course ­– Building A Safe & Strong Marriage – will be launched in 2018, created by our Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute. Co-Directors of the MH&PCI, Keith and Sarah Condie, give a sneak peek into this home-grown course, which combines strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research.              

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Why did you develop the marriage course?    We believe, both from our experience and from others approaching us, that there is a real need for such a course.  As we set out to design the course, our focus was particularly upon youngish couples. There just did not seem to be many resources to assist couples who wanted to strengthen their relationships. We had seen a number of marriages end and other couples struggling in their relationships. We continued to develop the material over many years.  As we get set to publish the course next year, we hope it will help couples to establish healthy patterns of relating, particularly in the early stages of marriage.       Who is the course designed for?    The course is for couples of any age or stage of marriage who experience the usual ups and downs in their relationship. It is not a substitute for professional counselling where serious difficulties exist. It is also not suitable when domestic abuse is present in a relationship – such couples need professional assistance.        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       How does it differ to other marriage courses ?   The course is a home-grown Australian product. It stands out from other courses by combining strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research. The sessions include input from us (Keith & Sarah Condie), interviews with a number of couples on a range of relevant topics, some role plays using professional actors, and activities for couples to work through together.     When and how will it be released?    We hope to launch the course in the first half of 2018, after running a few trials early in the year. It is designed to be user-friendly and easy to run in a variety of contexts – in a large setting with numerous couples; in a home with a small group of couples; or even just one couple working through the course in their own home. It will be available as a DVD or online resource. There will a facilitators’ guide and a workbook for participants.       What do you hope that participants will get out of the course?    The title of this course was carefully chosen. We hope each couple completing the course will come away with the sense that their marriage is stronger and healthier. We hope the information and activities in the course will draw a couple closer to each other in a way that enables them to feel safe, to share openly and honestly, and to support each other through the challenges of life that we all face. Ultimately, we hope the legacy of the course will extend beyond the participants and bring blessing to all who are influenced by these safe and strong marriages.   

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Building A Safe & Strong Marriage in 2018

ADM's brand-new marriage course ­– Building A Safe & Strong Marriage – will be launched in 2018, created by our Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute. Co-Directors of the MH&PCI, Keith and Sarah Condie, give a sneak peek into this home-grown course, which combines strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research.

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      Ministry and Mental Health  Keith Condie, Co-director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, spoke  to all clergy and licensed ministry workers across the Anglican Diocese of Sydney at the Faithfulness in Service conferences in June 2017. Keith explains why he is tackling the issue of stress and ‘core strength’ at the conferences.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Keith Condie, Co-director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


       How does your involvement in the Faithfulness in Service conference tie into your role with the Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute?    One of the key ‘take home’ messages from our study trip last year was that pastoral staff, especially senior ministers, shape the way that churches respond to those struggling with mental illness. Ministry staff play a vital role in reducing stigma, modelling helpful responses to those in need, and creating a climate where the networks of relationships that exist within churches are able to bring such benefit to those in mental distress. But another message we came home with was that many pastors are under significant stress, which is impacting their own mental wellbeing. We see the Faithfulness in Service conferences as great opportunities to help ministry staff understand stress and its affect upon us, and to build their ‘core strength’ so that they will be able to bounce back from the demands that are inevitable in ministry life.    What do you hope ministers will take home from the Faithfulness in Service conferences through your talks?    We realise that only so much can be achieved in the space of a few hours. But we hope that the information we present and the exercises they complete will be an opportunity for some honest self-assessment. We hope that each participant will leave with an understanding of the strengths that are presently sustaining their ministry life and what small steps they might take to continue to grow in resilience, so that they can push on in faithful, joyful service of our Lord.    What are some of the future initiatives you at working on at the MH&PCI?    The next big project on our agenda is creating an online/ DVD marriage enrichment resource. With the help of a project manager, plans are well underway for this and we hope to launch the resource early in 2018.

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Ministry and Mental Health

Keith Condie, Co-director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, is speaking this week to all clergy and licensed ministry workers across the Anglican Diocese of Sydney at the Faithfulness in Service conferences. Keith explains why he is tackling the issue of stress and ‘core strength’ at the conferences...

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      Raising Resilient Mums  A new project to help build resilience in first-time mums is being launched this month by Sarah Condie, Co-director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, who is also Women's Pastor at Church by the Bridge in Kirribilli, Sydney. Sarah is working in collaboration with Lyn Worsley, Clinical Psychologist and Director of The Resilience Centre, and member of Church by the Bridge.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Sarah Condie, Co-director of ADM's Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, & Women's Pastor at Church by the Bridge, Kirribilli.    
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     The project has become a reality thanks to a grant from Fuller Seminary. It will run for nine months and offer a series of three short courses to a large group of first-time mums, who already meet on a regular basis at Church by the Bridge. The courses include: ‘Resilient Mums’, ‘Attachment and Mental Health’ and ‘Emotional Coaching’.  Later in the year, Sarah and Lyn also plan to run a parenting course called ‘Circle of Security’. It is hoped that this model might help other churches learn how to better support and care for first-time mums as they adjust to this new season in their life.  Lyn and Sarah are both excited about the possibilities of this project. Lyn says: “Resilience is a skill that works best when there are already strong social connections provided by a family or a supportive community. Churches do community really well, so it will be exciting to help this church community develop skills in what The Resilience Centre does well.”   Sarah says: “In my role with the Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, I am acutely aware that becoming a mum is one of the most challenging seasons women face. Many women suffer from isolation and loneliness, as well as depression and anxiety. If we are able to do anything that equips women to face this season of life better, it is worth doing. If this project is seen to be successful, it may be something we can replicate in other church settings. That is exciting!”   Click here for more information and to receive updates about ADM’s Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute.    

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Raising Resilient Mums

A new project to help build resilience in first-time mums is being launched this month by Sarah Condie, Co-director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, who is also Women's Pastor at Church by the Bridge in Kirribilli. Sarah is working in collaboration with Lyn Worsley, Clinical Psychologist and Director of Resilience Centre and a member of Church by the Bridge.

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