(April 4, 2008)

Message for church leaders, people with mood disorders and supporters:

You can give faith-based support to people with mood disorders.

The first Living Room support group, with its home at Brentwood Park Alliance Church in Burnaby, BC, is now nineteen months old. This outreach ministry, in partnership with the Mood Disorders Association of BC, offers Christian support to people with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. The group is strong. It has over forty members and draws an attendance of up to twenty per meeting.

On January 30th, 100 Huntley Street aired a story about Living Room. Sherien Barsoum did an excellent job of producing the sixteen minute segment. I am very grateful to her for the work she did. If you didn’t catch the broadcast, the interview can now be seen on the homepage of the Living Room website.

Ten years ago, as I was writing my book, Riding the Roller Coaster, I thought constantly of the people I wanted to encourage – people who live with mood disorders as I do. But, although I knew many existed, I didn’t know them personally. My audience did not have a face that I could see. Today, at Living Room, I can again support people with mood disorders, but the beautiful thing is that now I can see them, eat with them, and talk with them. Through our devotional times I can encourage them in their journey with their disorder and with God. Together we can share our troubles – as well as our joys – and bring them to God in prayer. For a person in need, looking after others’ needs can be healing. At Living Room we all join in looking after each other’s needs; we all benefit.

Living Room has become a very special place for me. I love welcoming the people as they come. I love facilitating the meetings. The work brings me joy and helps me feel stronger and cope better with my bipolar disorder. Living Room is now at the heart of what I do in my effort to reduce stigma and to encourage Christian support.

Today, in addition to the group at Brentwood Park Alliance Church, there are two other groups. They meet at:

  • New Life Community Church in Burnaby, BC
  • Seven Oaks Alliance Church in Abbotsford, BC

Another two groups are forming at:

  • Highland Community Church in Abbotsford, BC
  • Glencairn Mennonite Brethren Church in Kitchener, ON

Up to twenty percent of people will, at some time in their life, suffer from a form of mood disorder. Depression is rampant. Christians who suffer in this way very much need the compassionate, non-judgmental support that a group like Living Room can provide. If you know people who might be interested in knowing about Living Room, please forward this email to them, perhaps with a personal note from you. Support for helping new groups set up is available. A 26-page collection of sample Living Room devotionals is now available for a small donation by sending your name and address to