Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

 

Dear friends,

Today I want to share with you my great sadness, having learned that Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries has shut down their peer support program. They no longer have the resources to look after Living Room or Family Room. The seven Living Room groups still running will carry on but will no longer have a presence on Sanctuary’s website.

In 2014, when I could no longer manage the work of a growing Living Room ministry on my own. Sanctuary took it over from me. At the time I was planting groups wherever there was interest – as many as sixteen groups had formed, although not all survived.

I founded Living Room in 2006 and devoted nine happy years to leading a group at Brentwood Park Alliance Church in Burnaby. The reason I retired was because my mental health was suffering. I have been grieving that decision ever since.

You’ve heard me talk about a vision to start an alternative form of peer support that would include more than group support alone. The proposed name for this new ministry is OUR NEW SONG (from Psalm 40 “He gave me a new song to sing.”) It is my prayer that God will call out to those who understand the value of peer support. I pray there will be some to answer that call. I’m able to write, but can no longer do more than that.

I will soon have a collection of sixty-one interactive devotionals ready in PDF format, ready for Living Room facilitators to use. They will be available on my website’s Resource page, soon to be constructed. I will let you know when it’s ready.

Some time ago I wrote an appeal for the continuation of peer support. I hope you’ll have a look. You will see the great value that such support has for individuals. See APPEAL FOR PEER SUPPORT at http://marjabergen.com/archives/appeal-for-christian-peer-support.

In December 2007 I – as a person in love with God and in love with the work she was doing for him – wrote the following:

“One thing I’ve thought a lot of in the last few days is how Living Room has become like a steady flame for me, never wavering, never going out. No matter how my mood is, it gives me light. No matter how down I feel, I want to go to the meetings and lead. And no matter how down I feel, I’m able to lead. I want to give hope to the people I speak to there, and I always find a source for that hope. What a blessing that is!”

God’s blessings to you all,

marja