Mental Healthy Chaplaincy


Saturday, February 16th, 2019

Trinity Lutheran in Everett

By Morgan Crosby

A group of 30 people gathered in the fireside room of Trinity Lutheran on Saturday February 16th. The room warmed as the group shared why everyone was compelled to attend that morning. Stories about past experiences, empathy for those struggling with mental health, and goals of personal growth in this area of chaplaincy were all commonalities within the group.

Jessica Dexter, the facilitator of the group, has spent the past few years working with the Mental Health Chaplaincy and led us through activity and conversation about mental health. Throughout the morning, Dexter reminded us about our limits. Even though we want to do it all, we can’t. To do the things we truly want to well enough, we have to give ourselves boundaries on what we are doing. Dexter gave us things to remember, such as, “You can’t always stop to help everyone. [...] We all have limits, but we can do what we can.” ‘

Dexter spoke about ways to bridge the gap between ourselves and those we want to help. Companionship recurred many times as a way to help others. She defined companionship as a relationship between two equals. Reminding us that we are neighbors responding to suffering and being supportive of recovery. Dexter outlined how through public relationships we can help more than we think.

“We all have limits, but we can only do what we can.”

As she flipped through a giant paper pad Dexter gave the group concrete ideas for a very fluid and chaotic subject. Helping and healing is what Mental Health Chaplaincy is all about. After giving us the definition of what companionship is she gave us more ways to break down the concept. Healing care is described in four steps as:

  1. Awareness

  2. Companionship

  3. Partnership

  4. Mutuality

Dexter was explicit in that being a truly helpful companion we can be apart of that circle of care but not all of that circle.

Using things like stories, and art we can truly connect with people. Giving them real, genuine and authentic empathy filled connections.

“How do we help people help people?” Dexter asked and Pastor Tim gave the perfect response, “The key aspect is relationship building.”

Ryan Brown