A Resolution on the United Methodist Church and Mental Illness


Whereas, Jesus Christ came preaching, teaching and healing;

Whereas, our living Lord and Savior’s ministry of healing and wholeness continues through the Church;

Whereas, the ministry of John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, included a broad Biblical focus on healing;

Whereas, The United Methodist Book of Worship includes services of prayer for healing and wholeness;

Whereas, the Social Principles of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church affirms our responsibility to be in ministry with and advocate for persons suffering from mental illness and their families (162.G);

Whereas, the Social Principles of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church recognizes the role of governments in ensuring that each individual has access to those elements necessary to good health (162.T);

Whereas, the Social Principles of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church supports the basic rights of all persons to equal access to medical care (162);

Whereas, the United States Congress failed to resolve the parity issue between physical and mental health insurance coverage;

Whereas, the North Carolina State Legislature’s Mental Health Reform Bill H831 will lower us from 40 county mental health centers to 20 regional HMO type mental health centers, called a Local Management Entity, over the next five years;

Whereas, these changes in our State’s Mental Health budget and services will likely mean that only those with the most money, the best insurance, and the easiest to cure problems will get help;

Whereas, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), North Carolina, the state’s largest grassroots organization provides Education, Support, and Advocacy for mental health consumers and their families through 32 NC affiliates as well as on a national level;

Whereas, NAMI North Carolina offers Shirley H. Strobel’s Creating a Circle of Caring: the Church and the Mentally Ill to equip churches for this important ministry of healing and wholeness for our suffering brothers and sisters;

Whereas, The United Methodist Churches of the NC Annual Conference need greater awareness of those suffering as mental health consumers and families;

Whereas, Christ’s Holy Church is called to offer ministries of healing and wholeness to a hurting and broken world;

Whereas, our United Methodist Igniting Ministry states that we are a people with open hearts, open, minds, and open doors as the central part of its invitation;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the NC Conference Commission on Church & Society lead us in advocating for Congress to pass a bill establishing parity between physical and mental health insurance coverage;

Furthermore, We call upon the NC Conference Commission on Church & Society to lead us in advocating for our NC House of Representatives to budget more funds for better mental health services to a wider range of people;

Therefore, be it resolved, that Wellspring and/or the Office of Church Development offer regional workshops for local churches desiring to fulfill this timely call to ministry. Thereby, equip people for service in ministry to their suffering brothers and sisters; to advocate for legislative measures that benefit and protect the mental health consumer and their families, and to become a provider of rehabilitation services, such as housing and social clubs.

We would encourage using the workbook mentioned earlier from NC NAMI;

Furthermore, We call upon the District Superintendents, during Charge Conference, to ask what local churches are doing and/or plan to do in providing needed ministries to those mentally ill whom society is cutting short, and to plan and hold seminars that will inform pastors of services that available to their people.

Let us hear afresh I John 3:17 (NRSV), “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” as we ponder this great need in our state and ministry opportunity for us as United Methodist Christians.