‘Creating Hope,’ Jan. 15, Chicago

Creating Hope

CHICAGO — Nanette Larson, director of Recovery Support Services at the Illinois Dept. of Human Services Div. of Mental Health, and the Rev. Craig Rennebohm, executive director of Pathways to Promise, will be the keynote presenters at “Creating Hope,” Wednesday, Jan. 15, here.

This one‐day meeting will present various ways that faith communities and people engaged in mental-health recovery can work together to educate their communities about mental illness and equip them to develop supportive, caring responses.

People from diverse faith traditions who have experienced the journey toward recovery will share their stories.

People from diverse faith traditions who have experienced the journey toward recovery will share their stories, and panelists from a variety of faith communities will describe ways they have developed the types of relationships and community practices that facilitate recovery.

Ways to form partnerships

At 9 a.m., Larson will describe resources for recovery that have been developed by people who have experienced mental illness. She will identify ways that faith communities could partner with people who have lived with mental illness to create space for the telling of recovery stories and to more generally increase opportunities for recovery and community integration.

Persons … will share their journeys of recovery from mental illness.

At 9:45 a.m., persons who have experienced mental illness first‐hand, will share their journeys of recovery from mental illness. They will discuss the role that faith has played in the process, and will answer questions from the audience about the challenges and joys of the recovery process.

At 11 a.m., a panel of peers, family members, mental-health providers, clergy and lay persons will describe ways in which faith communities have attempted to support recovery from mental illness by providing education, support, and advocacy.

Practices of companionship

After lunch, Rennebohm, who worked as a Mental Health Chaplain on the streets of Seattle for nearly 20 years, will describe how practices of companionship can both help people with mental illnesses pursue a meaningful life in the community, as well as create opportunities for members of faith communities to live out their most cherished values. His presentation is at 1:15 p.m.

At 2:15 p.m., representatives of three different faith communities will describe how they have incorporated the essential practices of companionship within their communities, as well as they ways in whit companionship has affected them.

At 3:30 p.m., members of diverse faith communities will discuss how they use faith traditions and practices to help create greater understanding of mental illness, reduce stigma, and create space for sharing the journey with people who have mental illnesses.


The event will be at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offices near O’Hare airport.

You can register online at www.advocatehealth.com/creatinghope, or by calling Advocate Health at (800) 323‐8622;

A $25 registration fee for one‐day course includes CEUs, morning coffee and tea, and box lunch.

Scholarships are available. For more information, contact: Robert Skrocki, Pathways to Promise.

A brochure giving more details about the event is available at Creating Hope.

Editor's note: Pathways to Promise is an interfaith cooperative of many faith groups. It provides assistance and is a resource center which offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, caring ministry with people experiencing a mental illness and their families.

Letter to the Editor