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Training Day on Wellbeing

Julie Sandoval at St Cuthberts Fir Vale
by Julie Sandoval, pastoral worker and focal minister at Holy Trinity Thurgoland

Saturday 8th July at St Cuthbert’s Church Fir Vale

Well, I finally got to go to the Wellbeing and wholeness day. I had booked and planned to go to the first one, which I think was back in February, but ironically, I was ill and couldn’t go!

Sitting at small, cosy tables, listening to Ruth Rice tell her story of God intervening in her overly busy life, it wasn’t long before I was glad that I’d made it this time. Ruth spoke frankly and truthfully whilst exuding joy, her story touched my soul.

She spoke of the journey to setting up and running the ‘Renew Wellbeing’ group, a café style, holy place for anyone just to be and to be with God. Simple and beautiful in its concept, providing space to be for anyone who needed it, based on three key principles; Being Prayerful, Being Present, Being in Partnership.

So needed, so elemental in its approach to the gospel, I was inspired.

Our second speaker was from ‘Space to Breathe’. Andy Freeman also spoke of his own experience and journey to working for this charity that works alongside people on their journey to better mental health. Much of what Andy talked about I was already familiar to me, as the NHS provided good support for its staff during the Covid pandemic.

 Andy reminded us that our churches are mentioned as part of the holistic support provision for better mental health in the NHS’s ‘Community mental health framework’, something, as the body of Christ, we’re already good at but perhaps have lost sight of.  

As a group we practised some reframing and breathing exercises and prayers, being practical really benefitted us all.  We heard of ‘Mental Health First Aiders’, something the NHS already has but perhaps we could look into for our churches, it’s possible that the diocese will look into future training for this.

After lunch we shared a simple healing service, which included anointing with oil for those who wished. It was a calm oasis, enhanced by the lovely music that played, by the music group, ‘We Who Worship’.

The short day was well worth giving up a Saturday for. I felt refreshed, refocussed, inspired and motivated.

Thank you, Louise and team.

Some images of the day