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Community Missions, NFMMC announce 6th annual community prayer service for mental illness recovery & understanding


Mon, Sep 26th 2016 03:25 pm
Community Missions
Community Missions

A pair of prominent mental health service providers is again joining to support a day of recovery and understanding with an interfaith community prayer service at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Community Missions and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center will host the event at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 822 Cleveland Ave., Niagara Falls. The service is part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, a national event designed to raise public awareness about mental illness and break down the stigma that too often discourages people from seeking help when needed.

Area leaders from various faith traditions will join mental health consumers, their families and community members to seek guidance and help in replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth and life in order to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness.

One in five adults experience mental illness problems every year, and 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to discrimination.

"There is a great deal of misunderstanding and fear about mental illness," said the Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister at Community Missions. "Many believe there is no hope for people with mental Illness. But there is hope, and we need to give that hope to families, friends and neighbors who struggle with mental illness."

"This interfaith gathering gives our entire community an opportunity to show support for neighbors, friends and family members who are often unfairly stigmatized and misunderstood, because they suffer from depression, anxiety or other forms of mental illness," Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said.

The service will include representatives from several faith traditions across the Niagara Region, including:

  • Breese
  • Rev. Marna Pritchard, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ
  • Judy Maggs from St. James United Methodist Church, Niagara Falls, service music
  • Joyce Sconiers, of Memorial's Niagara Wellness Connection Center, who also will be presenting music with God's Woman Outreach Ministries
  • Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president emeritus, Niagara University
  • MaryJo Santilla of Temple Beth El in Niagara Falls
  • Pete Hill, director of the All Our Relations project at Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara County
  • Rev. Raymond Allen, pastor of Bethany Missionary Baptist Church and president of the Niagara Ministerial Council

The service is open to the public, with light refreshments to follow. For more information, contact Breese at 285-3403, ext. 2259, or [email protected].

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