Bible Studies

A new resource to help churches build awareness

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Livability – the disability charity that connects people to their communities – have launched ‘Lifting the Lid.’ It’s a free study resource developed with input from the Mind and Soul Foundation, and explores the topics of emotional and mental wellbeing, using the Bible as a guide.

Lifting the Lid is intended to help churches engage with the mental health challenges faced by those in their communities. It has been created with small groups in mind, drawing on well-known Bible stories to open up discussions on a key topic.

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How Lifting the lid helps churches

The aim with ‘Lifting the Lid’ is to help churches to create listening communities that are welcoming, understanding and offer ways to participate.

‘Even in the healthiest community, there can be a lot at stake in opening up about mental health. People can sometimes be wary of sharing their experiences, or feel that only those with visible difficulties are in need of support. Opening up positive discussions can be challenging, so time has been spent creating studies that navigate this carefully.’  Says Corin Pilling, Community Engagement Director at Livability.

In sharing Biblical examples of those who encounter ongoing struggles, the studies offer opportunities to share experiences and explore new perspectives. Comprised of 6 studies, each session offers concrete ways to support people in both church and the neighbourhood who might be experiencing mental ill health.

A resource developed in partnershipThe study has been trialled in the Lichfield Diocese by David Primrose – Social Responsibility Officer. David approached Livability to develop the studies and has been championing their use since their piloting.

Already passionate about the topic of mental health in churches, David found himself unable to identify a suitable course for a colleague. After approaching Livability, with the idea to develop some resources, David was soon road-testing a new course in the diocese. “I remind everyone that those present on the course are people who are going to change the culture of our churches. If one in four of the general population experiences mental health issues, then in our churches it should be a higher proportion than that. We should be a place where people with mental illness feel comfortable and belong.”

Livability’s Mat Ray, who created the biblical reflections states: “At Livability, we’re committed to helping churches increase their ability to be welcoming and healthy places. The majority of us will experience mental distress at some point in our lives and our community response will be key to our recovery.”

We believe the studies offer Biblically – based and hopeful responses we can all subscribe to. This season of lent offers a great opportunity for us to reflect, and face the challenges of life, as Jesus demonstrates. Our hope is that studies will open up discussions, and in hearing each other’s experience, we can learn to respond positively and find hope in the midst of these challenges.

Whilst churches should never seek to offer medical or professional advice to mental health sufferers – they are in a great position to lift the lid on these areas positively. We have good reason to be hopeful and we have an important part to play in raising awareness.’

How to get the resource

The guide is available from Livability’s web site at www.livability.org.uk/resources/lifting-the-lid. It is free to download, has six sessions and is designed to be run over six weeks, led by someone who has spent time becoming familiar with the material. Each session is designed to last 1.5 hours.

 

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