Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Caring for Our Overall Health

By Rev. Lee Anderson, Minister of Care

May is National Mental Health Month. It is important to draw attention to the various mental illnesses that exist and to the treatment of and stigma against mental illnesses in our country. But it is also important to remember that mental health is not just about mental illnesses and disorders.  Mental health is in the same category as physical health; we have a body and a brain, a mind and emotions, and how we take care of these parts of our being impacts our overall health. Additionally, physical and mental health is intertwined. For instance, the same stress we experience because of hectic schedules or worrying about the future creates an increase in the levels of cortisol in our bodies. Increased cortisol levels are linked to lower immune function, increased blood pressure and heart disease, and decreased memory function.

Mental health is also connected with spiritual health. Let’s look at stress here as well, something everyone experiences. A spiritually fit person might take time out of her busy schedule each day to be still and just sit in the presence of God. Or, his faith leads him away from dwelling on all the “what ifs” of the future because he knows God is with him no matter what. While stress can’t be avoided, there are ways to release stress and not let it take over. While exercise, diet, and sleep are all important in caring for our mental health, people of faith find that their spiritual practices (or lack thereof) have an impact as well.

Here is a simple exercise to incorporate in your day-to-day activities, based on Philippians 4:6, which reads “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV). This verse is often summarized by the phrase “Don’t worry about anything; pray about everything.” As you feel a worry arise, write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in a container designated as your God container. God can contain much more than we can! As you place the worry in the container, close the lid and leave it there. The key is to leave it in God’s hands…and not continue to carry it with you.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We're Here for Good

By Rev. Jasper Peters, Associate Pastor

In taking steps toward a healthier and more vibrant life, small, meaningful, intentional steps are necessary. At the end of January, our church completed a year-long process of discerning our future. This all-church event was equal parts beginning and end, finalizing the initial discernment, and hopefully launching us into a rich future.

We wanted to share the nuts and bolts of the Vision 2020 process. Here you can view our initial findings, including data, reading material and some early survey results. In this post, my hope is to sketch out the less tangible parts of how the work will proceed. This is, admittedly, more difficult to define. It can be even more difficult to measure. In some ways it is like a vaccine: it might be hard for the casual observer to see effects, but the long term effects on health can be seen and measured.

In January, Trinity Council and your Trinity Staff gathered to begin to put our visioning into practice. We produced a large number of recommended actions. Some of these were small, granular, and are simple to accomplish. Others are large in scale and will require months or years of work to bring to fruition. Large and small, simple and difficult, they were all listed and compiled to form a living document. This document is held and managed by Trinity Council. Through partnership with every area of ministry through our church, the document is and will continue to be a call to action for us, individually and collectively. At the first Council meeting after our Vision was laid out, the church began to work at ways of bringing these dreams to life.

As we go forward, you will probably not see every new initiative or project labeled as “Vision 2020.” As such, I realize that it is reasonable to wonder what was the result or effect of this project. In reality, much like that vaccine, or a regular dose of vitamins, the effect is not always visible, but is important nonetheless. My hope and sustained belief is that the result of Vision 2020 will be seen through the kind of ministry and programming decisions we make as we move forward. Our first, best example of this is the #TrinityRunsColfax2016 project, culminating on Sunday, May 15. Additionally, more new projects, ministry, and service opportunities are being developed and deployed nearly every week! This is an exciting time for our congregation, our city, and the Church as a whole.

Grace and Peace,