Grace Lutheran Church of Oak Ridge will host a candle lighting service in support of those challenged by mental illness, substance use disorders, and other brain disorders at 5 p.m. Sunday. Everyone is welcome, and a special invitation is extended to family members, members of all area churches, community organizations, and the healing professions from neighboring counties.
One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year, and 50 percent will experience this problem at some time during their lives. One in five young people aged 13 to 18 also experience mental illness. These numbers continue to grow.
“The church is in a unique position to provide a community of support for those who are in pain,” Pastor Steve Damos said. “We can provide solace and faith, and be compassionate advocates for those seeking recovery and wholeness.”
“Lighting a single candle might seem like a small gesture, but when we come together in a spirit of healing and light many, our hope becomes the light for the world,” he said.
The candle lighting service will cap off the church’s first-time observation of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6-12), sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI.
“We have started small this year, hoping to educate our congregation and others about current mental health issues and providing information on area organizations and services. We hope to see this become an important part of our ministry,” Damos said.
For more information on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social statement on mental illness, go to www.elca.org. For information about other faith-based ministries to those challenged by mental illness or brain disorders, go to www.nami.org/namifaithnet.
For more information on the candle lighting service, call Sharon Boudreaux at (865) 385-3556.
Grace Lutheran Church ((865) 483-3787) is located at 131 W. Gettysburg Ave. in Oak Ridge.