Cadence Church holding annual Mental Health Sunday
By LYNETTE SOWELL
For many, the holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and coming together with family and friends. Yet for some, in spite of the gifts, music, good food, and events, there is a struggle with depression, stress, and more. Even those who don’t battle mental illness feel their stress increasing and those who do experience mental health issues can have a tougher time during the holidays.
A Copperas Cove church wants those people to know they are not alone. On Sunday, Dec. 4, at 10:30 a.m., Cadence Church in Copperas Cove will hold its fifth annual Mental Health Sunday. The church’s pastor, Joe Bernier, said they began holding the service during the holiday season for those above reasons. He has invited a trio of local mental health professionals as guests at the service.
Among them is Jo Anne Harrison, M.Ed., LPC-S, the founder of Killeen-based Restorative Hope Sanctuary, a Christian counseling facility which also uses equine therapy and talk therapy by licensed counselors.
This will be Harrison’s fifth time joining Pastor Bernier in a frank discussion about mental health, and the need to address it – even inside the church.
“We started (Mental Health Sunday) our very first year that we were open. This is our fifth year,” Bernier said. “Why do we do it? When I had my very first conversation with our chief of police here (in Copperas Cove), he told me our number-one issue in our city is mental health...I know that the officers are on the front lines, and they’re dealing with people who have mental health issues.”
Bernier said that talking about mental health wasn’t something that churches used to discuss.
“I’m thankful today that we can have these conversations in church. Before, you weren’t allowed to have mental health issues. You couldn’t talk about it in church, you couldn’t talk about it in public forums, because people would think you’re weak,” Bernier said. “Maybe there are places that are still like that. But in Cadence Church, it’s okay for us to talk about it and have these conversations. Why? Because if we can get closer to God, and He can speak to us, He can heal us, and we can help others. We want to be whole. We want to live a life of freedom. Have you seen how much darkness is out there? If we can’t share the light, then who can?”
Along with Harrison, Craig Gardner LMFT, LPC, with Hearts Renewed Counseling of Harker Heights will be at the service. Gardner is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army and specializes in marriage and family counseling, as well as group counseling.
Completing the lineup of mental health professionals on Sunday will be Alton McCallum, LPC with Insight Counseling and Training Center, out of Belton. McCallum has been an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, an Adjunct Professor of Education at Texas A&M-Central Texas.
The three will have a panel type discussion during the church service with Pastor Bernier about mental health to provide encouragement for those struggling with issues – and possibly the stigma – of looking for help.
After the service, Bernier said that Harrison, Gardner, and McCallum will be available for anyone who has more questions about the type of services each of them provides.
Cadence Church meets on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at 815 E. Business 190 next to Dollar Tree.
Cadence Church is a nondenominational church. More information about Cadence Church can be found at www.cadencechurch.com or on its social media site, https://www.facebook.com/cadencechurchtx.