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Ten years ago a member of a family very involved in a local church was judged and crucified by church leadership. Nothing new. You hear of this happening all the time. You see, this parishioner, who was also on staff, trusted a leader to understand a personal and private hell. Depression. But this leader didn’t. Or couldn’t. Or just didn’t want to, as this leader went so far to take advantage of the moment and make it a performance review. The parishioner in peril - or was it staff on review - now in tears, trying to understand what is being said to them.

This leader, with total disregard to wanting to know the facts, assuming what has been said to be just, states, “… needs shoring up!” We’ll set up a meeting with Personnel to discuss the situation. Tomorrow? To hell with the depression! To hell with the feelings of hopelessness. To hell with the parishioner. To hell with God! Make no mistake, there was no misunderstanding on the part of the individual. It was all very clear. And of the 200 letters that were sent out to each member of the congregation, 127 responses came in person, over the phone, through email, flowers, cards and letters to this sinner of depression.

Over the past ten years, this individual, who, by the way, no longer attends church and who will NEVER belong to one again has visited many unpleasant places, has experienced unfortunate situations. This individual has lost their mother, father, and brother – their only sibling, and almost died themselves on the operating table! And let’s not forget the usual everyday traumas. Nevertheless, this individual prevails! They have not only earned their Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, but a Master’s Degree in Psychology emphasizing Marriage and Family Therapy. To be able to say one day that an individual in peril, living in their own private hell was helped by this sinner of depression, then it can be said it was all worth the while. “It was all worth the while!” And the church leader, well?

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Joanne Groves

Hanford

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