Care and connection groups strategize to care well for people in group members’ circles who are experiencing challenging circumstances.
The first three groups the Collaborative formed include people from multiple faith communities who want to improve care and connection within their congregations:
Members of the Amberley Collaborative’s Mental Health Working Group have participated in various community collaborations to strengthen agency and faith community response to people living with mental illness, including the Latino Mental Health Coalition and the Our Children Our Future initiative to strengthen the mental health care continuum for children and youth. The working group will soon begin interviewing pastors and other faith leaders about mental health response in their congregations to identify shared concerns and formulate a Collaborative response.
The Journey Group gathers LGBTQ+ people of faith, their allies, and people of a more traditional perspective who recognize the importance of caring well for neighbors regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Amberley Collaborative initiated this group because few faith communities in Waco are intentionally affirming of LGBTQ+ people of faith, so matters of faith, sexuality, and gender identity are often conflictual or hushed in congregational settings. The Journey Group is a space where vulnerability is honored and respected while we join one another on our journeys of spirituality, sexuality, and gender.
The Hearing Loss Working Group is the most recent to form. So far the members of this group are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, or have family members who have experienced hearing loss. The group wants to help faith communities improve connections with congregants who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. We have discussed beginning with a series of videos about unhelpful and helpful communication strategies.
Other possibilities for groups abound. There has been discussion of a social group for adults with disabilities, a support-the-supporters group for people who want to connect more effectively with family members or neighbors living with mental illness, and perhaps a support group for people contemplating or experiencing divorce.
Please contact the Amberley Collaborative if you are interested in any of these groups or would like assistance in forming one of your own.