Marja Bergen

author, mental health advocate, follower of Christ

Message from prison – reflecting

CHRIST’S MESSAGE And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have […]

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When pastors are too kind . . .

DON’T SET US APART In February 2018, I had the following article published by Church for Vancouver. I mentioned how Sanctuary Mental Health ministry was helping churches show God’s love to individuals with mental health challenges through Living Room. Unfortunately, later that year, Living Room was removed from its mandate and only two or three […]

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Creating a new reality

  BEYOND PAINFUL MEMORIES I have personally learned how true the lessons I tell below can be. I dwelt for many years on pain I had experienced, unable to put it in the past. But God has gradually helped me create a new reality. Yes, I do believe I’m a transformed person. Through God, I’ve […]

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In case you missed it . . .

STIGMA PERPETUATED I published the following not long ago. But it’s an important truth and I must make sure it’s heard: “As long as people with lived experience are being talked about and not heard, stigma will be perpetuated, not reduced. Only by hearing the voices of those who suffer can compassion be aroused.” . […]

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Not our work, but God’s

FOLLOWING JESUS  So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can […]

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Do you remember?

GOD’S LOVE This photo was one of a series, taken around 36 years ago on behalf of the Burnaby School Board and Burnaby Now Newspaper. Although the boy could only make guttural sounds when he tried to talk, the girl met him where he was and answered him with similar sounds. She was connecting with […]

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How to perpetuate the problem of stigma

  “As long as people with lived experience are being talked about and not heard, stigma will be perpetuated, not reduced. Only by hearing the voices of those who suffer can truth be known and compassion aroused.” marja

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We are not victims

PEER SUPPORT – As most of you who read here know, I’m working on behalf of individuals who live with mental health challenges. I’m trying to help those who don’t understand what it’s like to live with stigma, to better understand how they could help heal the pain caused by stigma. It must be stated […]

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With thanks to New Life

MY STORY – From my journal, written in 2006, as the plans for Living Room were unfolding: My disorder had made a regular job impossible for me. I had never dreamed of doing anything like forming such a group. I had never heard of faith-based support groups addressing mental health problems. This was a brand-new […]

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Living Room and Sanctuary

MY STORY – A network of faith-based support groups sprung up, starting in 2008, only a couple of years after I founded Living Room in 2006 at Brentwood Park Alliance Church in Burnaby. It had the potential to be a huge ministry, but I could not carry it forward. I was glad to have the […]

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