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The Church as a Healing Community
Nov 2021

The tragic incident at River Valley High School on 19 July 2021, the rising suicide rate, the increased number of people struggling with depression and anxiety, expedites the need to address mental-emotional health of students and their families, in addition to the stressors and challenges related to the present Covid pandemic. The following is adapted from a communique that Rev Darryl Chan (Senior Minister, PSPC) wrote in the church bulletin on 1 August 2021, exhorting the church to be a healing community.

Scripture, particularly the book of Acts, describes the church as a koinonia (fellowship) of believers, glorifying God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Christ through worship, teaching, evangelizing, discipling, serving and healing. As a healing community, the church provides holistic care for those who are broken in body, mind and spirit. This healing ministry is NOT just for those in full-time ministry or for professional counsellors. Rather, "families, study groups, trusted friends, professional colleagues, employee groups, and other small bands of people often provide the help that is needed both in times of crisis and as individuals face the daily challenges of living... Local bodies of believers can bring a sense of belonging to the members, support to those who feel weak, healing to troubled individuals, and guidance as people make decisions and move towards maturity". (Excerpt from Christian Counselling by Dr Gary Collins, 2007, p 40-41)

Pastor Darryl exhorts the local church to be a healing community working in partnership with other stakeholders such as school counsellors, mental health professionals and NGOs to promote mental-emotional health. This can be understood as a three-layered support:

  • Cell-group support through mutual caring, prayer, the study of God's word and spiritual friendships.
  • Church level ministry and congregational care support. Congregants whose support network and coping strategies are insufficient to alleviate the weight of what they are carrying, are urged to approach the respective pastoral staff.
  • Community wide support such as mental health professionals and social services. When the pastoral team assesses that further interventions are needed, these other avenues will be considered. Meantime, the pastoral staff will continue to support the healing process by providing pastoral care through Scripture, prayer and spiritual formation.

PCA (Presbyterian Counselling Associates) is one of the resources available to serve you at the community level.

The Christian community, through its network of relationships, helps to expand our mental-emotional health resources which we can tap on at different times and seasons of our lives.

Article contributed by Debbie Lin, PCA Counsellor


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