Matney: Call us, we can help
During this past week, our community has, once again, been rocked and shocked with the loss of fellow citizens by suicide. May it ever continue to rock and shock us. May suicide never become so commonplace that we shrug our shoulders and say, “oh, another one.”
According to Scripture, death, with all of its causes, is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Jesus said, “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you might have life more abundantly (John 10:10). We declare there is hope for each individual in Jesus.
I am privileged to be a facilitator for the Vail Pastors Network, a fellowship of local churches, pastors and community leaders. Recently, at one of our VPN lunches, we were privileged to host Chris Lindley, former director of Eagle County Public Health, and now executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, and Michael Holton, VP of Communications and Public Affairs with Vail Health Hospital.
They invited the pastors to join with them in helping solve the mental health crisis. The VPN is grateful to be one of the many groups coming to the table to learn more and work with others to address this crisis.
Our churches may not be able to come to the table with a lot of financial resources, but we can come to the table with spiritual and social resources that can help a person going through a mental health crisis. We come to the table offering hope, strength and encouragement through Jesus.
We believe that each person born into this world is a unique and precious individual, created in the image of God with gifts and talents and a purpose for living. We say to each individual, “You are highly prized and loved, and you were born for such a time as this, with a unique identity and purpose in life.” Our churches can help people find their God-given purpose.
Our church congregations can provide a loving and supportive family for the lonely and isolated. The Eagle River Presbyterian Church in EagleVail provides free community dinners on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. The United Methodist Church in Eagle provides a free community meal on Monday nights. These are not only places to get a free meal, but a place for conversation and fellowship.
Numerous churches provide space for 12 step groups. A Co-Dependents Anonymous group meets at New Life Assembly on Monday nights at 6 p.m. Some churches have benevolence funds to help with small financial needs. Some can help with limited transportation needs. Most pastors provide brief, spiritual, crisis counseling and have contacts available for more long-term professional counseling as needed. Call us, our churches can help.
We can help individuals suffering with depression and anxiety to put on the “helmet of salvation” and the “shield of faith” to protect their mind and heart (Ephesians 6:10-17). We can help a person find the Spirit’s love, joy and peace that comes through a relationship with Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23). Our churches can help people find, as the old hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” says, “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
Our churches want to help. If you call us for yourself or someone else who is dealing with depression or anxiety, or other needs, we will not condemn you or take your call lightly. We will extend a hand of friendship and help you to connect with the God who loves you and has a meaningful plan for your life. He said, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Please call us, we can help.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 970-390-0731.