Petition 81495

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Caring Communities Education Initiative (81495-C2-NonDis-!)

Mental Illness affects 26.2% of Americans aged 18 and older, who have a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Mental illness surely affects comparable numbers of United Methodists, including our pastoral leadership and their families, not only in the United States but globally.  When impacted, families are included, thus  mental illness directly or indirectly affects most United Methodists.  Effective congregational ministry of inclusion and support to persons with a mental illness diagnosis and their families is a critical test of our ability to function in ways that are consistent with Biblical teachings.  "...effective care for people with enduring mental health problems is not an option for the church, but is in fact a fundamental mark of its identity and a vital indication of its continuing faithfulness."  Conversely, neglecting such ministry has a deep and painful impact on these persons and their families and upon the church’s witness worldwide.  
Starting in 1996, successive United Methodist General Conferences have by resolution commended to congregations the Caring Communities program in which congregations covenant to educate themselves about mental illness, welcome and support those persons with mental illness and their families, and advocate on behalf of them.  By so doing, congregations affirm God’s present work of healing (John 5:17), affirm God’s presence in the least of these (Matthew 25:26), and reach out to incorporate every part of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12).  
This affirmation of inclusion and support is clearly not optional, but an integral part of the ministry of each United Methodist congregation and annual conferences around the world.  Therefore to further this important work, the General Conference hereby commits resources to promote and extend this work of evangelism and social justice through the Caring Communities Education Initiative.
Unlike many disabilities, mental illness is often “invisible” in congregations.  It has no physical signs, stigmatization induces persons to “suffer in silence”, and the suffering is thus more likely to continue unaddressed.  Thus it is important for the Caring Communities Education Initiative to focus on mental illness in particular rather than all disabilities in general, in order to maintain its focus on the unique issues facing those with mental illness and their families.  However, the results of this initiative on congregational life are expected to advance other efforts of inclusion and support for persons with disabilities and their families, including deaf ministries.
The Caring Communities Education Initiative will consist of  
(1)    empowerment of the United Methodist Mental Illness Network (UMMIN), comprised of representatives of Annual Conference mental illness ministries; through an Advisory Committee;  
(2)    advocacy for Mental Illness Ministry Directors and Coordinators in each Annual Conference;
(3)    coordination of UMMIN with mental illness work with the various general agencies and boards of the denomination,  
(4)    assembly of a Convocation of Annual Conference leaders for planning, coordination and training, and  
(5)    the training and dispatch of Education Teams to congregations and conferences.  
(6)    a special focus on Clergy Mental Illness.
(7)    accountability to the General Board of Church and Society
(8)    Funding authorized by the General Conference and administered by the General Board of Church and Society.
Because travel costs will be minimized and extensive use of electronic communication employed, this initiative will include United Methodists globally.  
1.  United Methodist Mental Illness Network

The United Methodist Mental Illness Network (UMMIN) was established by the GBCS in 1996 in response to a 1992 General Conference mandate (1992 Book of Resolutions p.317, f.),  thereby reflecting almost two decades’ effort to promote ministry to persons with mental illness and their families as a part of each congregation’s ministry.     In 2006, UMMIN was comprised of lay and clergy members representing 15 states, 18 annual conferences, and every jurisdiction in the United States.  UMMIN is committed to enhancing the skills of United Methodist congregations in mental illness ministry that is seeking to bring persons living with a diagnosis of mental illness into full participation in the life of the United Methodist Church. UMMIN is committed to reaching local United Methodist congregations have not had the opportunity to fully embrace the concept of creating “Caring Communities” in their local ministries as called for by past General Conferences.  
Under the Caring Communities Education Initiative, the UMMIN will be expanded to include Annual Conference-designated mental illness ministry coordinators or directors, and from the UMMIN members an Advisory Committee will be selected to guide efforts under the initiative.
a.  Advisory Committee

UMMIN will elect an Advisory Committee to advise staff of the General Board of Church and Society in implementing this Initiative.  The size of the Advisory Committee will be determined as needs and resources allow.  The Advisory Committee will identify its own officers; establish quadrennial goals for the general church, annual conferences; and local congregations consistent with this resolution and schedule activities of the Initiative.  The Advisory Committee will:
1)    identify and promote ways to expand UMMIN  within the United Methodist Church  
2)    promote and guide educational efforts related to Initiative goals  
3)    appoint individual UMMIN members to tasks  forces in keeping with their interests, gifts, and abilities and the needs of the network.  Separate online dialogue groups can be established for each task force as well as for UMMIN as a whole.
4)    structure tasks within the network to maximize use of individual gifts and time and to sustain participation in online groups.  
5)    make every effort to utilize modern technology, such as both live and asynchronous internet conferencing groups in order to conserve energy, minimize travel, conference, and hotel expenses, and save time and dollars.
6)    Publish an online newsletter or articles in other publications to publicize the Initiative, as appropriate.  
b.  Resource Ministry

UMMIN will gather and disseminate a comprehensive list of resources related to mental illness ministry, which can give support to pastors “to build the body of Christ as a caring and giving community, extending the ministry of Christ to the world.” “to order the life of the Church for mission and ministry...and by leading the Church in obedience to mission in the world” in ministries which welcome people with and mental illnesses as they become available.  Gathering and disseminating resources may be extended to include seminary training and/ or online clergy development training for new clergy, and e-mail discussion, as appropriate, with established clergy and other ministry personnel including mental health coordinators, mental health chaplains, mental health professionals, parish nurses, youth pastors, and Pastoral Counselors.  
c.  Models of Ministry

UMMIN will identify throughout the United Methodist Church congregations currently involved in mental illness ministry and will create an online database of models of ministry for other congregations to replicate.  UMMIN will call for unpublished papers, congregational and personal stories about mental illness and ministries to persons with a mental illness to be provided for its educational purposes.    

2.  Mental Illness Ministry Directors and Coordinators
This General Conference recommends that every annual conference of this global denomination appoint a Coordinator (volunteer) or Director (paid staff) of Mental Health Ministries tasked to support congregations of the Annual Conference in becoming fully inclusive communities empowering persons with mental illness and their families to live, work, worship, and pray alongside others.  While annual conferences around the world have widely varying resources, and some may be able to fund a paid Director, all annual conferences are able to designate a volunteer. When United Methodist clergy are appointed to the role of Director, we recommend that this role be funded for at least one-quarter time.  The Coordinator or Director will assist congregations in de-stigmatizing persons with these no-fault illnesses in ways that are consistent with Biblical teachings.  The General Conference encourages Jurisdictions and Central Conferences to seek out resources to fund a budget for materials and travel to support the work of Mental Illness Ministry Directors and Coordinators in their efforts to extend the vision of inclusion to local congregations.  The General Conference commends all those who generously and sacrificially currently serve in these roles with limited resources
3.  Coordination with General Agencies and Boards
Many general agencies and boards  of our church have responsibilities related to mental illness.  In the summer of 2006 there were more than 580 references to mental illness on the website of the General Board of Discipleship alone.  Stewardship of limited denominational resources dictates that every effort be made to avoid duplication, but to use most effectively the efforts and responsibilities of each agency.  At the start of the Quadrennium, the Advisory Committee will convene a meeting of representatives from each general agency and other denominational boards with responsibilities related to mental illness.

  • Those present will describe their mandates and ministries related to mental illness and how their respective roles can support congregational efforts to become Caring Communities.
    • The discussion will be recorded and disseminated as appropriate to seminaries or others in the church at large with an interest in education about the Church’s mission and ministry.

    • The discussion will develop joint objectives and coordination of efforts with each other and UMMIN Coordination will continue electronically.  
    4.  Convocation
    During the third year of the quadrennium, UMMIN will convene a face-to-face meeting of United Methodist leaders in Mental Illness Ministry.   Attendees of the Convocation will be as broadly representative a group of United Methodist leaders in mental illness as funding will allow, with an emphasis on those who may be most helpful in assisting congregations to become Caring Communities.  Attendees will include, to the extent possible, all members of UMMIN, whose electronic interaction will be strengthened by this face-to-face contact.  Research by those involved in long-distance learning and collaboration via technology and media shows that much may be accomplished through electronic communication and meeting, however, initial face-to-face contact is a key element in assuring group cohesion and productivity.    Speakers at the Convocation will include appropriate representatives of the mental illness ministry work of United Methodist boards, Agencies, annual conferences, districts, congregations and other groups, as well as outside speakers.
    Objectives of the UMMIN Convocation on Mental Health Ministries will include:
  • education about the Caring Community program for local congregations, its purpose, its need, and means to implement it. Training shall include UM Communications staff in Nashville to assist congregations calling about program resources for mental illness ministries.
  • establishment of face to face contact to facilitate future working relationships
    • expansion of the UMMIN leadership base to facilitate greater outreach to congregations.

    • reporting by the Advisory Committee of UMMIN’s progress to date

    • provision of input by Convocation attendees to Advisory Committee leadership regarding appropriate tasks and their prioritization.  Tasks may include:
          1)    The creation of a “theology of mental illness and of mental illness ministry” based on biblical teachings of inclusiveness, liberation, and hope and the local church’s mission through consultation with theologians, mental health chaplains, mental health professionals, and social service professionals, psychiatric, and other professional groups to be identified.
    2)    Discussion of the biblical, ethical, and social implications of the lack of ministry to persons with mental illnesses and their families which continues in the church as a whole;  
    3)    Development of a plan for the educational component of this petition including the continuing collaboration with general boards and agencies, annual conferences, districts, local congregations, and groups.  
          The Convocation will include both plenary and smaller working groups, and will include Bible Studies, preaching and worship workshops.  Consultants will present from a variety of disciplines, including theology, homiletics, and pastoral care, to inspire participants spiritually and infuse them with new ideas and challenges.
    5.  Education Teams

    Education Teams will take the work done by the Advisory Committee, including research and the convocation, and make it useful to annual conferences and other church leadership in helping local congregations to become Caring Congregations. Education Teams will conduct small training seminars, on line as much as possible; to anticipate and address questions and problems congregations may face in becoming Caring Congregations.  

    Education Teams will be comprised of staff and other leadership from UMMIN, the general agencies and boards, annual conferences, District Superintendents, pastoral counselors, parish nurses, mental health chaplains, mental health professionals, mental health coordinators, Christian educators, youth ministers, and other individuals and groups with a commitment to congregations becoming Caring Communities.
    In their training, Education Teams will be exposed to United Methodist professionals and consultants from a variety of disciplines including theology, homiletics, pastoral care, disability, and mental health as well as mental illness advocacy groups.  Training will be intended both to inspire participants spiritually and to infuse them with new ideas and challenges.  
    Education Teams will create standards for mental health ministry for local churches and annual conferences prior to the Matching Grants phase of the petition.  These standards shall be similar to the 26 Guidelines handbooks developed by the General Board of Discipleship for local church work area training and will also be available in downloadable pdf’s.  Education teams will  and also develop new models where needs exist and no model is available to address that need.  
    Education teams will respond to requests from congregations, annual conferences, and groups at all levels of the Church who are willing to dialogue and/ or problem solve about mental illness ministry issues. An e-mail "hotline" for Info-Serv (United Methodist Information Services) and other UM Communications staff in Nashville to reach our Education Teams will be offered to help them better assist congregations calling about mental illness ministry issues.  The General Board of Church & Society Mental Illness Network will also assemble lists of resources and contacts helpful to local congregations that the General Board of Church & Society can supply to Info-Serv (United Methodist Information Services) in Nashville.
    Training of Education Teams will include the creation of audio-visual resource kits, notebooks, and how-to guides for use in directly impacting persons and congregations regarding mental illness ministry.  Separate “training packages” may be created so as to address the different needs of large, medium and small congregations, multi, small, and no staff congregations, and urban and rural congregations.  Special attention will be given to resources for rural congregations where mental health services are scarce.  Some training participants may be able to experience existing training programs such as Befriended Ministry in St. Paul, MN and refer other congregations to this model as finances allow.
    Education Teams are mandated during the 2009-2012 quadrennium to present at meetings of the College of Bishops, affected general agencies and boards, seminaries, and annual conferences, who are asked to provide the necessary times on their agendas to accomplish this.  
    The Caring Communities Education Teams will contact church leadership at a variety of levels to provide information on Caring Communities and to coordinate deployment of the teams.

    6.  Clergy Mental Illness

    Mental illness, a no-fault illness, occurs among United Methodist clergy and clergy families just as it occurs among all people.  The presence of mental illness in clergy and clergy families, however, exposes church decision-makers, from Staff Parish Relations Committees to Conference Cabinets, to conflicts between the provision of compassionate support and the need to ensure that the work of ministry entrusted to clergy is accomplished.  The UMMIN Advisory Committee will convene a Clergy and Mental Illness Task Force including representatives from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Council of Bishops, and a representative annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry and Cabinet member.  The Task Force will review current practice in addressing circumstances where a congregation’s pastor or family member has a mental illness.  The Task Force will prepare recommendations to Conference Cabinets and Boards of Ordained Ministry, as well as congregational Staff-Pastor Relations Committees, on appropriate means for supporting clergy families in such situations.  
    7.  Accountability

    UMMIN and its Advisory Committee will continue to be accountable to the General Board of Church and Society.   The Advisory Committee will work with GBCS to plan all face-to-face meetings of working groups.  
    8.  Funding
    Funding to support the work of the Caring Communities Initiative as described above is being sought through a separate petition.

    Budget and Justification for  
    Caring Communities Education Initiative  
    We request that the General Conference provide the following resources in support of the Caring Communities Initiative, which are necessary to allow the United Methodist Mental Illness Network to meet, create an Advisory Committee, collaboration with other boards, Agencies, Task Forces and groups of the United Methodist Church, sponsor a Convocation on Mental Illness Ministries, and support local congregation efforts to become Caring Communities during the 2009-2012 quadrennium.  

         Budget and Expenses for a Caring Communities Initiative  comprised of a Mental Illness Ministry Advisory Committee, a  Convocation on Mental Health Ministries, Connectional Collaboration to encourage the work of The United Methodist Mental Illness Network, and the establishment of Mental Health Directors and Coordinators in at the Annual Conference level around the world.  
     Budget Item  2009  2010  2011  2012  Total 4 Years
      United Methodist Mental Illness Network -- Advisory Committee Meeting Expenses (Includes online and at least one face-to-face meeting as budget allows, Can include office supplies, easel pads, markers, unanticipated meeting expenses,)     $10,000 (Organization, Goal Setting & online Collaboration – initial face-to-face meeting)  $12,000 (Continued online Collaboration , Task Forces, & Online Seminars)   $12,000 (Online Collaboration with Church Leadership, Task Forces, and Deployment of Educational Teams)  $12,000 (Deployment of Educational Teams & Evaluation)     $46,000 
      Advisory Committee Budget-   Expense Reimbursement for Communication, Scheduling, Logistics Expenses for Convocation, Deployment of CC Education Teams and other meetings, planning needs and other activities in the budget (To reimburse members of the Advisory Committee for telephone, postage, any kind of sending-out expense, and logistics or UMMIMN members working in task groups who have asked for reimbursement in advance – or when appropriate such as a miscellaneous.  Etc.)   $2,500  (Advisory Committee and task group setup only since Collaboration has probably not begun yet) $3,000  (Focus on work with select Task Forces, Boards, Agencies, and Groups)  $3,000  (Transportation and Meeting Expense for Clergy Mental Illness Task Force to address issues of support for clergy with mental illness and their families.  )   $3,000  (Focus on work with select Task Forces, Agencies, and Groups and some Boards where interest remains)  $11,500 
      Collaboration of Advisory Committee w/ Select Boards, Agencies & groups & Online Seminar  (w/Continuous feedback from Boards, Agencies & groups THROUGH ADVISORY BOARD’S INITIATIVE)   $10,000 (Video taping of live presentations by Boards, Agencies, & groups describing their UM mandates, goals, and understanding of Connectional Ministry)   $4,000 (Arranging Online Seminars for continuation of Consultation with Task Forces, Boards, Agencies and Groups after face-to- face Mtg.)   $4,000 (Continuation of Collaboration with emphasis shifting to groups within UM & to encourage indigenous leadership) $4,000 (Collaboration  of Clergy Mental Illness Task Force with Seminaries and AC Boards of Ordained Ministry about Online MI Seminars for new pastors and established pastors) $22,000 
      Online Training for Caring Communities Education Teams: (Continuation of above meeting Online - Includes Boards & Agencies working with Advisory Committee & Task Groups after above meeting)     $10,000 (The most widely known model for online collaboration and learning is the Wayne E. Oates Institute...,   $12,500 .....another model for experimenting with technology  especially telephone conferencing is the Intentional Growth Center at Lake Junaluska)   $5,000  (Used mostly for  continuing the work of the Advisory Committee’s Special Task Groups   $3,000  (UMMIMN Members Working online in groups for evaluation, and feedback and  toward Goals for UMMIMN in  the new Quadrennium)   $30,500 
      Resources Print & Audio Visual    $10,000  $7,500  $8,000  $7,500  $33,000
      Printing, Mailing, Publicity   $10,000  $7,500  $8,000  $7,500  $33,000
        Speakers & Consultation for Meetings and Convocation (For all face-to face meetings, Convocation, and Caring Community Educational Teams when necessary)   $15,000 (Inspirational Speakers & Consultation for any Advisory Committee Mtg. or Mtgs. with boards, Agencies and Groups)   $5000 (Inspirational Speakers & Consultation for Convocation –also group and/or workshop leaders)  $15,000 (Consultation if necessary resulting from Deployment of Caring Communities Educational Teams)   $35,000
      National UM Convocation on Mental Illness Ministries in 2011   (Includes Scholarships for persons of low income due to a mental illness diagnosis or others who are needing financial assistance to attend)      $35,000 (Create a “Theology of Mental Illness”, Biblical, Ethical, and Social implications of lack of ministry, plan for Connectional collaboration ) *Plenaries *Small Working Groups * Advocacy Groups *Bible Studies *Preaching and Worship  *Ideas and Challenges Exchange    $35,000 
      Creating Training Packages to be given to MI Coordinators/ Directors & others  to use to train Annual Conferences, Districts & Groups  (Most of these will be media packages with audio and video, some purchased books)    $10,000 (1.Education Team Pkg- General;  2.CC Training Pkg 3.Edu through worship pkg. 4. Lay Speakers bureau pkg. For AC, District,  5. UMW and UMM  & SS program pkgs)   Sunday School curriculum for understanding Mental Illness   $5,000 (Education Team Pkges w. Models of Care for  (1)Small Rural Church or Parish setting (2) Large Multi-staff Church (3) Youth Ministry (4) Post Partum Depression  $15,000 (Develop a standard resource package for CC & Ministry to MI in more specific settings –  (1) Hispanic Ministries,  (2) Urban poor, (3)Rural Poor,   (4) Indian Reservations (5) Elderly & Shut-ins                      (1) .Episcopacy & D.S. Mental Health Pkg. For Clergy self Care & PPR Support –after  their educational training to UMMIMN we will gather  and create helpful resources for them) $30,000
      Education Teams -- Deployment for Caring Communities Education Team Trainers Travel expenses to Annual Conferences, District and some Churches- (local hosting when possible to save money and in rural areas)   $2,500  (Planning in Advance for how deployment can take place when invitations come in during the first few months)  $7,500  (These CC Education Teams will center around select Boards and Agencies who will address MI in a collaborative way as  part of their common mandates from the Connectional Church)   $23,000  (These CC Education Teams will center around those who have placed applications for Coordinator or Director Grants)   $12,000  Any CC Education Teams resulting from a need for Consultation or Evaluation Reporting as Quadrennium closes) $45,000
      Thirty 50% Matching Grants for CCC programs by application to GBCS   (For grassroots leadership development these matching grants are divided equally between 2007 and 2008.  These are one-time non-recurring grants for any who have shown an interest in creating Caring Congregations, who have entertained a CC Educational Team, or who have a specific MHM need they wish to address through their congregational efforts – Applicants will be asked to explain how they intend to support this position after the grant has expired.)    -0-  -0-  $30,000-  5 - paid Directors  10 - budget support for Volunteer Coordinators Who may apply – Annual Conferences, Districts, Large or Medium Size local churches, Cooperative Parishes or Rural setting, Most Creative, would be the most likely expected to apply.  $30,000   5 - paid Directors  10 - budget support for Volunteer Coordinators Who may apply – Annual Conferences, Districts, Large or Medium Size local churches, Cooperative Parishes or Rural setting, Most Creative, would be the most likely expected to apply.    $60,000 
      TOTALS  $80,000  $64,000  $158,000  $79,000  $381,000

    C.  Justification
    Matching Grant Program
    The Matching Grant Program is intended to broaden the impact of Mental Health Ministry by helping to establish leadership in annual conferences and at the grassroots level.  This replicates the success enjoyed by the Virginia Annual Conference in funding mental illness ministry through VICOMIM – Virginia Interfaith Committee on Mental Illness Ministry.  Matching Grants can help annual conferences in the United States and around the world establish Directors of Mental Health Ministries (paid) and Coordinators of Mental Health Ministries (volunteer).
    Ten matching grants of $4,000 each ($40,000 total cost over 2 years) will be given to an annual conference, district, or multi-staff local church – if that entity is able to (1) match that grant and provide ½ of a salary for a ¼ time paid Director of Mental Health Ministries appropriate to their ministerial setting and (2) a budget appropriate for that work in that setting during 2011 the third year of this project.  
    The grant application will be submitted to the GBCS, reviewed by the Advisory committee and the final selection approved by the GBCS Board.
    Twenty matching grants of $1000 each ($20,000 total cost over 2 years) will be given to any annual conference or applicant who is able to secure a Volunteer Mental Health Coordinator position budget of $!,000 or more, in matching funds for that grant for a total budget of a $2,000 or more budget for the annual conference or applicant and submits the best plan for an educational program for creating a mental health ministry program with “Caring Congregations” where one did not exist before.      
    Total cost to this proposal of these 20 matching grants would be approximately $60,000 for 1 or 2 years depending on the number of applications.  
    Use of Technology to Extend Efforts

    Modern electronic technology can be very helpful in avoiding the need for extensive travel and face to face meetings, thereby conserving time and energy, and this budget saves costs by assuming the employment of such technology.  Attention is called, however, to the likelihood that rural areas of the United States, and significant portions of the globe, do not yet have sufficient access to such technology.  Creative measures may be required to assist leaders in such areas to participate in the educational and leadership opportunities outlined here.