The annual Darkness into Light community walk at Albert Park will be at 5.30am on Saturday May 6th, 2023. The event gathers a wide range of people including people from diverse faith traditions.
The walk, which originated in Ireland, has been taking place internationally for 11 years, with global committees forming to raise mental health awareness and vital funds for Mental heath charities. Each year the event provides an opportunity for people to connect with their local community and to bring hope to those who have been impacted by suicide.
Funds raised through registration and donation help mental health charities like Pieta House and Headspace (national youth mental health foundation that provides early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds).
If you would like to join the Darkness into Light walk, you can register via the link.
“We have all been touched by the brokenness of this world. We need a fully developed theology of suffering in our churches; we need to know that suffering is not good in itself and it is painful, but our faith can help us manage the painfulness of suffering – by doing many things like practising the presence of God.Karen Mason, psychologist (article here)
Jesus healed people – that’s part of what we do, we’re involved in that healing ministry alongside the work of the Holy Spirit.
It’s a powerful witness to the community that we’re not just some group of bigoted people but we’re people who care, who care about people’s healing, we care about life.”
Psychologist Karen Mason says there needs to be greater awareness that there are people sitting beside you in church who are having suicidal thoughts but feel unable to reach out for help – because of the stigma and fear of being criticised and judged. The way to break that stigma is to create authentic, vulnerable communities.
“There has to be a recognition that we’re all human beings, we all struggle, there’s none of us that doesn’t struggle, none of us has it all together. There has to be a recognition of that and an ability for a person to be vulnerable and not be judged – it’s judgment that causes that stigma to exist. Those people who are hurting have to be able to reach out for help, and they’re not going to reach out for help if they expect to be judged for having a mental health condition or having suicidal thought or for having lost someone to suicide. There has be that sense of authenticity and vulnerability that allows those conversations to take place.”
We pray to you, God of compassion, for all those in despair
That they would choose life.
For those facing devastating loss
That they would remember your presence and intercession for them.
For all those who feel they are a burden
That they would love themselves as you love them.
For all those without hope
That they would find in you, Father, a reason to live.
For those who feel alone
That they would find in our gathered community a reason to live.
For those facing evil in this world
That they will remember the redemption of the evil done to Joseph.
For all those suffering the misery of depression and other psychological pain
That they could reach out for help like blind Bartimaeus.
For all those in despondent desolation
That we would reach out to them.
Merciful God, you alone give life and take it, but life is not easy.
With the psalmist we proclaim that without you we would be swallowed alive, torn up and engulfed by the flood and swept away by the torrents of this life.
Preserve us, O God. We put our hope in you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.