Congregational Life Event – Workshops

Saturday April 14, 2018 – 8:30 am to 3:45 pm
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 40 Holmes Street, Red Deer

Keynote: Sanctuary in the 21st Century                 
Rev. John Dowds, City of Edmonton Chaplain

John was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and immigrated to Canada in 1976.  He completed a Masters Degree from the U of T which included a Chaplaincy at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, and was ordained as a Minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada where he served from 1985-2006.

He began his work with the City of Edmonton as the chaplain for employees and their families in 2006. His work includes short- term counseling, crisis intervention, consulting and teaching, and involves promoting education and understanding regarding mental health and mental health problems. He is a certified Mental Health First Aid leader.  He also offers workshops on stress, grief and meditation.  He and his wife Morag McLean have a blended family of seven children and seven grandchildren.  He recently received a True Compassion Award.



#1       The Power of Hope to Deal with Mental Health Issues: led by Dr. Cheryl Nekolaichuck and Dr. Bill Chimich

#2       Handling Anxiety across the Life Cycle: led by Gail Mukaida RN BSN, Kermode Counselling Services

#3       Understanding Mental Health Issues for Older Persons: led by Diaconal Minister Sarah Rudd, Zetter Care Centre, Good Samaritan Society Edmonton

#4       Incorporating Mental Health Information and Activities into Ongoing Congregational Activities: 

  1. Integrating Mental Health Activities into Worship Services – led by Rev. Marty Tuer, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Red Deer
  2. Ministering to the needs of our youth through our synod camps – led by Marg Daly, former Executive Director, Mulhurst Lutheran Church Camp
  3. Preparing Secretary/Congregational Office Administrators for handling mental health issues in Congregations – led by Kathie Goertz Thompson, Professional Affiliate of the Alberta Psychologists Association



8:30 am        Registration

9:00 am        Opening Worship    Rev. Kathie Schmitke

9:25 am         Bishop’s Greeting      Rev. Dr. Larry Kochendorfer, Bishop

9:30 am        Keynote: Sanctuary in the 21st Century – Rev. John Dowds

10:45 am       Break  

11:00 am       Conversations with John Dowds: Question and Answer session about concerns about mental health and addressing mental health issues in congregations

12:00             Lunch

1:00 pm        Resources for Mental Health Programming

Participants will have a choice to view a variety of mental health resources that could be used in their congregations

1:30 pm        Workshops:

  1. The Power of Hope to Deal with Mental Health Issues

There are many resources that help people cope with stresses, especially those associated with mental illness.  Hope is a particularly strong resource for dealing with stress.  This workshop will describe what hope is and how it works and give ideas about how to find, keep and build hope in one’s personal life when mental health issues are being experienced by oneself or a person close to us

  1. Handling Anxiety across the Life Cycle

5% of the population experiences anxiety that causes mild to severe impairment. Anyone can experience anxiety.  This session will discuss the nature of anxiety and how one might deal with anxiety at different stages of life.

  1. Understanding Mental Health Issues for Older Persons

Our congregations have an age distribution that is weighted toward older persons.  We need to understand the mental health challenges that face older persons and their caregivers. This will focus on various dementia illnesses, depression and loneliness, and others but should have positive caregiving ideas for older congregational members and their caregivers.

  1. Incorporating Mental Health Information and Activities into Ongoing Congregational Activities

Some congregations are reluctant to focus on mental health issues because they are already overbooked with programs.  This session will provide ideas and resources to address mental health in already existing programs in the congregation especially the regular service, camping experiences and resources for the office administrator.


3:00 pm Gathering and sharing

3:15 pm Closing worship and sending


Registration fee (includes coffee breaks and lunch):

  • $45.00 per person, up to 3 participants from one congregation/parish.
  • $35.00 per person if 4 or more people attend from one congregation/parish.
  • payments are via the registration form; payments will not be taken at the event.

Register here: Congregational Life Event 2018

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2017 Congregational Life Event – Worship – When Ruins Rejoice

In order to plan for future events, please take a moment to fill out the following evaluation form: click here.