just a minute to copy and paste this email and send it to your
pastor. Be sure to add your 2-cents about why this is important
to you and maybe a bit about what your illness is (keep it brief).
Sign off with something personal to make this letter your own.
copy and paste quickly, hit the "select all" button
below and then right click your mouse to copy it and then paste
it into an email program.
I know you are very busy, but I realize you must see many people
in the congregation who struggle with how chronic illness impacts
their lives and relationships. I wanted to bring to your attention
that National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is September
8-14, 2008 [ http://www.invisibleillness.com ]. This week is
an annual outreach of Rest Ministries [ http://www.restministries.org
] a national ministry that resides in San Diego and an affiliate
of Joni Eareckson Tada's ministry for the disabled.
be surprised to know that nearly 1 in 2 people live with chronic
illness. Here are a few other staggering statistics:
* 96% of
illness is invisible and sixty percent of the people are between
the ages of 18 and 64
* 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have
two or more chronic diseases
* The divorce rate among the chronically ill is over 75 percent
* Depression is 15-20% higher for the chronically ill than for
the average person;
* 70% of suicides have uncontrollable physical pain as a factor
* 66% of people with illness say if their church started a Bible
study for those with chronic illness they would definitely attend.
for these statistics and even more information is listed here:
if our church may make just a small effort to acknowledge those
whom live with illness and suffer silently.
ways to do this could be:
+ Have a
bulletin insert about invisible illness. There is one available
or we can provide our own.
+ Have a special moment of prayer for the families impacted
by illness (nearly everyone!)
+ Set up a table of resources our church provides for those
who are hurting.
+ Have someone give their testimony about how God has worked
through his or her illness.
+ Consider asking is there is an interest in starting a Bible
study like HopeKeepers
+ Run an article in our church newsletter about illness. Rest
Ministries can provide this or someone in our church could write
+ Offer a resource for the chronically ill, like a frangrance-free
seating area, or online webcasts or podcasts.
+ Start a library of resources for the chronically ill (I'd
be willing to help gather some materials to present to you.)
in this because _________________________________.
provides a wealth of support to over 750,000 people each month
via their web site and they have a couple hundred HopeKeepers
support groups in the U.S. and beyond. The web site has daily
email devotionals, online chats, online Bible studies, and many
other services, including HopeKeepers Magazine, which is kind
of like a Guideposts style publication for the chronically ill.
There is a video on their web site that shares about how it
was began 10 years ago by Lisa Copen at http://www.restministries.org
It is wonderful
for the homebound who have little or no contact with the world
outside their homes, as well as those who simply want to connect
with others who are living with a chronic illness and need spiriritual
is completely ran by volunteers based on the scripture, "Praise
be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in
all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just
as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also
through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed,
it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it
is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance
of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm,
because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so
also you share in our comfort." (2 Corinthians 1: 3-8)
me know if I can be of any further help. I'd love for our church
to be able to reach out to all of those who are living with
chronic illness--and since it's invisible-- they feel like no
Invisible Illness Web Site: http://www.invisibleillness.com
Rest Ministries: http://www.restministries.org
HopeKeepers Magazine: http://www.HopeKeepersmagazine.com
Pastoral Resources at Rest Ministries: http://www.restministries.org/rm-pastor.htm
Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend: