the sanctuary course
The Sanctuary Course is a small group study created by Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries that runs over the course of eight weeks, taking participants on a journey of discussing faith and mental health in community. The sessions are designed to be read, processed, and responded to during the small group time. Each theme is explored from a psychological, social, and theological perspective, and each session is accompanied by a compelling film featuring the story of an individual who has journeyed through mental health challenges as a person of faith.
julie's faith journey
"As a preacher's daughter, I grew up sitting in church pews and singing old hymns. Church was a safe place for me to be. But then, throughout my teen years, crippling anxieties took over. I no longer felt a 'peace that passes all understanding'. I started to doubt. I questioned my faith. Would all the little old church ladies still accept me or would they judge my struggles? Would they wonder if I'd stopped praying and reading my bible at bedtime? I wasn't sure. Sunday mornings no longer felt as safe. And so, I hid my struggles behind a giant smile. After my bipolar II diagnosis, I became aware of the stigma that existed in the world and was convinced that the Church would be no different. I kept my diagnosis under wraps.
I have been humbled by the opportunity to be a part of The Sanctuary Course. As one of eight people chosen to tell their stories, I was given the chance to share my bipolar journey and the role my faith has played. I've now come to a place of wholeheartedly believing that I've been 'fearfully and wonderfully made' by a God whose faithful promises will sustain me through any challenges that life (or my disorder) might bring. No more shame, fake smiles, or holding back tears on Sunday mornings. It is my greatest hope that this course will shed light and offer insight, so that all those silently struggling will feel welcome, safe, and understood as they sit in church pews and sing old hymns!"