Have Faith: Mental and spiritual health

Beginning Feb. 18, folks will have a unique option for facing the challenges life throws at them. Therapist Jeremy McLellan, a good friend of Vineyard Assembly of God pastor the Rev. Matthew Splittgerber, will offer sessions at the church on the third Saturday of each month. The two went to college together, and have stayed in touch for years.

“It was freshman year of college, and I was visiting his roommate in their dorm, and Jeremy was there telling stories about growing up in Northern Maine, and I laughed so hard,” Splittgerber said on the phone over the weekend. “I thought to myself, ‘I like this guy.’ He grew up in Caribou, Maine, and all the roads dead-ended in the woods.”

Splittgerber says that not unlike life in rural Maine, living on the Island year-round can bring some unique challenges, especially in the winter.

“The issues are everywhere in our society, but what makes things different on the Vineyard is that fact that we are an Island, and the environment can tend to exacerbate that feeling of being bored, anxious, and depressed,” the pastor said.

He also says that McLellan “is an incredibly empathetic, compassionate, and sensitive person, so he’s very easy to talk to, and has a wonderful sense of humor.” Splittgerber says that he thinks McLellan will put people at ease as they try to talk about issues troubling them.

I spoke with McLellan by phone, and he seemed all those things to me. I asked him how Christian therapy might differ from regular therapy.

“It’s not that different,” he said. “It’s just implementing their faith in helping with coping and dealing with what might be happening with them. Therapy methods are the same, but adding faith as a coping skill to help with what they are facing.”

McLellan added that the sessions might include introducing prayer or scripture reading as methods to use in coping — sort of like a new tool in your toolkit.

“I’m not preaching to them at all,” he said. “It’s very similar to any other kind of therapy. This just allows them to use their spirituality too. It’s an extra tool — recognizing the spiritual side of a person can help them deal with things.”

Splittgerber said that taking care of our mental health feels more important than ever before: “After being here six years, I see a real need for this on the Island.”

Payment for the sessions will be paid through McLellan’s website for Spill the Tea Psychotherapy in Lakeville. Appointments can be made through its website, and appointments can be made by reaching out to Jeremy McLellan via his Google Voice number, 774-955-0756 or on the church’s website at vineyardag.com/counseling.

This may just be an answer for those who are looking to try therapy, and who want to experience it through the lens of Christian spirituality.

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The Federated Church invites you to join Chef Michael Brisson, owner of l’Etoile Restaurant, to help prepare a meal for the Harbor Homes overnight shelter. This Sunday he’ll be preparing Tunisian food. Volunteers will help make a delicious, healthy meal, and have a great experience where they can learn some cooking tips, and maybe pick up a new recipe. And they get to taste delicious food, and feel good that they are contributing toward helping to feed the hungry.

Spaces are limited, so sign up online at federatedchurchmv.org/what-s-happening. This event springs from Joyful Eatings, a new initiative of the Federated Church, and is part of its commitment to provide meals for Harbor Homes overnight homeless shelter. On select Sunday afternoons through the end of March, outstanding Island chefs will lead volunteers from the community in preparing a meal for shelter guests. The initiative is designed to engage the community and raise awareness of some of the most vulnerable on the Island.

 

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