Recovery Retreat in October

As substance abuse, pornography addiction, and mental health issues rise, Lutheran Recovery Ministries (facebook.com/LutheranRecoveryMinistries) has responded with Resilient Recovery groups and now a weekend retreat.

The Recovery Retreat will be held October 26-28, 2018 in Phoenix, Ariz. The theme is Finding Hope Amidst Pain and Suffering. There will be sharing meetings (both mixed and according to need), breakout groups, Law and Gospel presentation, guided prayers, songs, Sunday service, socializing, and lots to eat!

Attendance is limited to 60. The cost of $142 includes four meals and accommodations, or $72 for meals only. After July 15 costs rise by $20. E-mail resilient@crosswalkphoenix.com for a registration form.

The retreat is designed for WELS members who are: (a) in recovery from a substance abuse disorder, pornography addiction, or a mental health disorder; (b) have a loved one in recovery; or (c) struggle with any habitual sin. Attendees will also be equipped to develop and improve recovery ministries in their home churches.

Register online at lutheranrecoveryministries.com/projects.

 

 

Is parish nursing for you?

By Carlo Piraino. Dr. Carlo Piraino, RN, served in the U.S. Navy (1981-1998). He works for the VA as associate director for Health Care Services and chief nurse executive. A member of St. Paul, Tomah, Wis., he serves as secretary of the WELS Parish Nurse Council.

“…so I will comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13)

Why do we encourage Christians to maintain optimal health? To better serve the Lord and his people! Parish nursing is an independent, non-invasive, health and wellness practice within a congregation. Unlike typical nursing positions, parish nursing is always focused on the “intentional care of the spirit.” What might that look like in our churches? WELS parish nurses are always seeking opportunities to keep God’s precious people connected to Word and Sacrament.

  • A parish nurse might visit shut-ins, bringing along a listening ear, referrals to community resources, and a prayer and devotion reminding them of God’s love and promises.
  • A parish nurse can help a church make its campus accessible for people of all ages and all abilities. • A parish nurse will use the time before and after services to listen to people, recognizing the opportunity to provide emotional support and to remind people that our loving Lord is with them as they face the challenges of the day.
  • All this in addition to offering health education and health counseling! With their special gifts and talents, parish nurses can impact our congregations with “intentional care of the spirit.” Prayerfully consider serving your congregation as a parish nurse.

 

 

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When faith hurts: Responding to the spiritual impact of child abuse

By Victor I. Vieth. Victor Vieth is a former child abuse prosecutor who went on to direct the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. He is the founder and senior director of the National Child Protection Training Center, a program of Gundersen Health System. He is a member of St. John, Lewiston, Minn.

It is to the little children we must preach; it is for them that the entire ministry exists. – Martin Luther

The physical and emotional tolls of child abuse are well-known, but few appreciate its spiritual impact. According to 34 studies involving more than 19,000 abused children, a majority were affected spiritually. This may happen when an offender uses religious rationale, such as telling a child he is being beaten because of the child’s sinfulness. Or an abuser may cite a child’s biological reaction to sexual touching as proof the child is equally to blame for her own victimization. Even if the abuse is not in the name of religion, many children will have spiritual questions, for example, why God did not answer a prayer to stop the abuse. If the church does not help abused children suffering spiritually, research suggests that many will eventually leave the church, even abandon their faith. Yet the church has often ignored the needs of these children. To better prepare our called workers, all students at Martin Luther College receive training in recognizing and responding to cases of child abuse, with additional training provided at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. In addition, Special Ministries’ Committee on Mental Health Needs has formed a task force, Freedom for the Captives, to develop materials and training so that our churches can better help abused children in our congregations and communities. These materials will be available on a website and in other formats. Churches can also utilize these tools:

  • Child protection policies. Some studies indicate that most child molesters are religious and that the worst offenders are often active members of their church. One reason: the faith community often has weak child protection policies in its schools, Sunday schools, sports programs, and camps. If your school or church does not have rigorous child protection policies, or if you are simply not sure, speak with one or more child abuse experts who can assist you in implementing or improving your policies.
  • Training. Policies without training are often ineffective. Pastors, teachers, and church youth workers should be trained how to recognize and respond to abuse and to understand the importance of policies in deterring offenders. Instructing our children in personal safety measures is also critical, so that children know what to do if someone sexually abuses them or otherwise violates them. When done appropriately, such education is not frightening and may empower a child who is being abused to reach out to a teacher or pastor for help.
  • Sermons. Many survivors have said they never approached their pastor for help because they never heard him give a sermon about abuse, mention the topic in Bible class, or address it in any other manner. Many survivors believe the pastor simply won’t understand their pain and, like the offender, will blame them for the abuse. Meanwhile, many offenders sit smugly in the pews, confident the church will never speak out against child abuse. For the sake of the victims, we need to change this dynamic. Jesus said it would be better to be tossed into the sea with a millstone around one’s neck than to damage the faith of a boy or girl (Matthew 18:6). When it comes to this sin, our Savior’s warning has often fallen on deaf ears. As a result, children have suffered needlessly and offenders are emboldened to strike again. Owing a debt of love, and aware that our Savior will ask us to give an accounting of the children he has placed in our care, we must pray for and act on their behalf.

 

 

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Confirming a deaf adult

By Beverly Nehls, Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. A retired teacher, she is the mother of two deaf adult sons

Talk about a challenge! Instructing any adult for confirmation can be a difficult task, depending on their level of commitment and communication. But confirming a deaf adult? Where do I begin? How do I communicate with the person? How do I know if the person understands what I am teaching? WELS Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has completed a rework of the adult instruction manual By Grace Alone by Pastor Rolfe Westendorf (NPH, 1979). By Grace Alone: An Instruction Manual for Deaf Adults uses simple, short sentences and Scripture quotes from The Holy Bible: English Version for the Deaf. This manual should be used with a sign interpreter, a flow-through communicator who is not expected to do explaining. These days, sign interpreters are available via smart phones or tablets using a service called “Video Remote Interpreting.” If the deaf person is a good reader of English and a good lip-reader (understands what is being said by looking at the person’s lips while hearing little or no sound), the teacher might use the usual Bible Information Class (BIC) material. However, lipreading is difficult, inexact, and exhausting. New terminology adds challenges. One-on-one is best for understanding and encourages questions. Some deaf people do not speak, are poor readers of English, and do not lip-read at all. They often rely solely on American Sign Language (ASL) as their language for communication. ASL is not equal to English, because it has a different sentence structure. When an ASL user is asked to write something, the English is often poor and the person appears uneducated. He often is not good at reading English either. Reading and understanding the usual BIC material is challenging; therefore, it is strongly suggested that the new manual be used with this group. This instruction manual for deaf adults is available at no charge from:

WELS Special Ministries
N16 W23377 Stone Ridge Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188
Phone: 414-256-3241
E-mail: specialministries@wels.net

 

 

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