The Florida Conference became the first WISE Conference in the UCC in 2018 and is committed to extending an extravagant welcome to people with mental health challenges and those that care for them.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that impact an individual’s ability to think clearly, experience emotions, regulate mood, or maintain healthy relationships.
No population is exempt; people across all ages, economic and educational levels, ethnicities and religions are affected. Some commonly held beliefs are that mental illnesses are a result of personal weakness, lack of faith, or poor upbringing.
These misperceptions detract from the fact that mental illnesses are brain disorders and require medical treatment.
Becoming Part of the Movement
There is no better way to engage in this important ministry than for local churches to take the steps to become WISE, a designation that will send an intentional message to those who are affected by mental health challenges that they are indeed welcome in our congregations.
What does this mean?
This means speaking, preaching, praying and learning more about mental health in our congregations, and working toward eliminating the barrier of stigma that often silences those with mental health challenges.
What is a Mental Health Challenge?
Here are some examples of mental health challenges experienced by those in our congregations:
Serious mental illness diagnosis
Caregivers of those with mental health challenges
Which congregations in our conference are already WISE?
UCC of St. Augustine
Faith UCC of Dunedin
Coral Gables UCC
The Villages of Oxford
First United Church of Tampa
Interested in Becoming a WISE Church?
Through the UCC Mental Health Network (MHN) there are many resources to help your church community explore what it means to be WISE and how you can get there! This brochure can give you some quick answers and suggestions!
Contemplating Becoming a WISE Church
1. What it means to become a wise church
2. What WISE covenants look like
3. How a congregation can become WISE
4. Finding toolkits/booklets for the step-by-step process
Starting the Process of Being a WISE Church
Continuing the Journey of Living as a WISE Church
Need help? Here are a few contacts in the Florida Conference who would be happy to assist
Rev. Lisa LeSueur (LisaL@gablescc.org)
Rev, Victoria Snow (email@example.com)
Rev. Michael-Ann Veziroglu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Neal Watkins (NWatkins@uccfla.org)
God is still speaking