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The Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister at Community Missions, at a past interfaith event. (File photo)
The Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister at Community Missions, at a past interfaith event. (File photo)

Community Missions to hold 13th annual Interfaith Community Prayer Service


Tue, Sep 26th 2023 05:00 pm

For Mental Illness Recovery & Understanding

Community Missions will once again present its annual Interfaith Community Prayer Service for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. The event will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Bacon Memorial Presbyterian Church, 166 59th St., Niagara Falls.

A press release stated, “The event 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.

“The service will feature readings, prayers, and music offered by representatives of various faith traditions and community members. It is anticipated that traditions including Native American, Sikh, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and various Christian traditions will participate in this year’s event. This there will be some new musical elements, and faith traditions participating.”

“Since we first began this holding this annual service, a growing number of people have participated,” said the Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister at Community Missions. “We are so glad about that, because this is such an important issue. I’ve noticed an increasing willingness to recognize the importance of supporting those with mental illness, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we still have a long way to go to end the unjust stigma associated with mental illness.”

The press release noted, “Those who have attended in the past will also notice that the service is being held at a new location. While the First Congregational Church building in Niagara Falls (the host for the past 12 years) is being renovated, Bacon Memorial gladly offered to host the service.”

“We are glad to help in any way,” Pastor Lisa Giacomazza said. “Our church believes in interfaith cooperation, and we believe in the message of this service: We need to come together and support those struggling with their mental health.”

The press release added, “One in five adults experience mental illness each year, while one in every six American youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder annually. Although many people understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by it are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination.”

The hope in presenting this service each year is simple, Breese said: “As individuals and as a society, we are all touched by the effects of mental illness. We struggle ourselves, or we see members of our family, our friends, or our neighbors struggle. Recovery is possible because treatment is available. The more we get the word out, the more we reduce the unnecessary stigma, and the more people will seek treatment and seek it earlier. As a gathered, diverse and unified faith community, that is the message we what to help spread through this service.”

For more information, contact Breese at 716-285-3403, ext. 2259, or [email protected].

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