We do kindness for people with mental illness or in emotional distress; and we celebrate neurodiversity.
Please don’t wait to be “normal” or “well” before you come to church. We’re ready to receive you with your sadness, or your social anxiety, or your unnameable, undiagnosed quirkiness. Lots of us have been there, or are there, or know somebody there. Compassion, transparency, and empowerment are the gifts we can offer. We are especially loving toward kids who are looking for friends who will love them just as they are.
the quiet room
It’s honestly a little hard to say how our church practices this particular kindness. You sort of know it when you see it, right? For example, every Sunday of the world we announce at the top of our worship service, “We’ve planned a liturgy for tonight…but if what we’ve planned isn’t working for you, if you need to do something else during this hour, you’ve got total freedom to do that. Pace in the back; go outside for a cig; or find some respite in the Quiet Room at the back of the worship space.”
Yep, we’ve got a whole room just for finding some peace and quiet. There are earplugs in the cabinet if you need them.
We try not to hug without asking; we never make participation in what we’re doing compulsory. We let kids and adults alike tell us what’s best for them, and we trust people when they say something is bad for them.
And we encourage story-telling, the narration of your very own life, from the perspective of mental illness — depression, anxiety, whatever you’ve got — and/or the perspective of neurodiversity — autism, Asperger’s, bring it on. We’re all doing our best with the brains God gave us, and helping each other get the most out of this sometimes beautiful, sometimes painful, always complicated life.