Members of Being Alongside/APCMH (those who are full subscribers and have signed up to a £1 liability should the registered company cease to exist) have been invited to an Extraordinary General Meeting taking place on Zoom on Saturday 8 January 2022 at 2.00pm.Continue reading “BA members to discuss change to legal structure”
To be considered at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the members of The Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health to be held via Zoom on Saturday 8th January 2022 at 2pmContinue reading “Proposed Constitution for consideration at EGM on 8 January 2022”
We would like to invite members and supporters to a conference we are holding with the theme of “Being Alongside the Anxious”.
It will take place in the learning centre at The Charterhouse in the City of London, five minutes’ walk from Farringdon underground station.
Speakers will include Philip Bacon, an expert on the effects of mental health on families, and Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford.
To book your free place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
No less a star than Britney Spears graces the cover of our Winter 2021/22 magazine. Download it and turn to page 11 to find out why!
We also feature important news about our plans to modernise our charity structure; appreciations of three wonderful people from the Being Alongside family who have recently stepped down from their roles; a plea for openness and transparency about suicidal ideation; reflections on A Garden in Darkness (paintings by Michael Cook and poems by Rosalind O’Media.
Last but not least, the back cover is an invitation for all friends and supporters of Being Alongside to come along to our conference on 15th January 2022.
Calling all historians…… John Vallatt has a long association with the charity and has documented much of its history in 2016. We hope you find it an interesting read.
SHORT HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR PASTORAL CARE IN MENTAL HEALTH
(NOW KNOWN AS “BEING ALONGSIDE”)
PART 1. From Bright Beginnings through Testing Times to the Second Spring (1986 to 1993)
Jane and Austin Lindon’s son, who had schizophrenia, had been a psychiatric in-patient for 2 years when Jane realised that he had not received a single visit from a priest during that time. That was not surprising in the mid-1980s as it was then felt by many, if not most, mental health professionals that spiritual or religious thoughts were delusional or even a symptom of mental illness and that those matters were best avoided. On the other hand, parish priests and other faith leaders had little experience of people with severe mental health issues and took their lead from the psychiatrists. It was not unusual for the spiritual well-being of seriously ill patients to be ignored. Jane, a Catholic, was appalled. Determined to try to do something about it, she sent a letter to a number of people whom she and her husband, Austin, thought might be interested in helping. She invited them to a meeting at St Giles Church Hall on 2nd October 1986 at which a steering committee was formed.Continue reading “History of APCMH/Being Alongside”
A tribute to Pam Freeman, by Jamie Summers
At the April AGM, after some 35 years of active involvement in our little charity, Pam felt it was time to step down as Co-ordinator and Trustee. Already she is much missed.
I have only known Pam for 26 years, starting my connection at the September 1995 AGM when we were the Association for the Pastoral Care of the Mentally Ill. There was an inspiring seminar that November when the triumvirate of Pam, Jeremy Boutwood and John Vallat spoke of their lives at the Guild of Health offices in Queen Anne Street. Indeed, Pam was also a Trustee of the Guild of Health and we later shared their offices with them. It was then that I became entwined with the aims and ethos of APCMI. At the Hammersmith & Fulham MIND’s Consumer Forum Sunday gathering, Jeremy and Pam came to speak to us on 25th February 1996 – I was the development worker for this ‘user group’ and vividly recall Pam telling us how she found God in a field of wild flowers.Continue reading “Thank you Pam!”
I am delighted to introduce myself as the new part-time Administrator for Being Alongside. I have worked as an administrator and office manager for many years, my last role being with another small charity working with families of children with a terminal neuro-degenerative condition. I have spent the last three years training for ordination and was ordained into the Church of England as a deacon in early July. I will combine my work for Being Alongside with my part-time curacy in two villages in Hampshire. I have three children, two of whom have chronic health conditions which has given me a passion for ensuring mental health is as much a subject for discussion as physical health; that it is “okay not to be okay”; and that kindness, love and compassion towards one another is more important than anything. I am delighted to be able to follow my vocation in the Church at the same time as using my charity management skills to promote the importance of spiritual care for all those living with mental health challenges. I look forward to working with you and for you.
In response to an increasing number of people arriving at Southwark Cathedral complaining of loneliness, the cathedral’s day chaplains asked Andrew Wilson to lead them in a group discussion on the problem. Here he shares his contribution to the meeting.
I based my contribution to the discussion around two books I had been reading in lockdown. By way of introduction I suggested that the experience of loneliness was universal, whether it be in the playground perhaps, or the workplace, or sadly even within the circle of family and friends. One commentator writes “ The experience of loneliness is as universal as hunger or thirst. Because It affects us more intimately we are less inclined to speak of it. But who has not known its gnawing ache?” Jesus himself shared in that anguish, as Gethsemane and Calvary lay bare. “Alone, and in silent tears,” he endured betrayal and stigma.
The two books I had read both explored the anatomy of loneliness. The one a novel long-listed for the Booker prize, Real Life by Brandon Taylor, a black, gay American writer, and the other The Shattering of Loneliness, by Dom Erik Varden, formerly the abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Saint Bernard in Leicestershire, and now returned to his native land, to become Bishop of Central Norway.
We present two reviews of a memoir by our chair Jamie Summers…
See shirtyletters.com for how to get a copy
This is a well written coherent account of what it must be like to have been born with a silver spoon, suffered the slings and things of outrageous fortune, fallen heavily, recognised one’s own plight and, with belief, compiled the many memories to chronicle a ‘you couldn’t make it up’ succession of extraordinary events. The fact that it is done with clarity and honesty makes it compelling reading.
The memoir starts off with the horrific ordeal of slipping through the mental health net, even as a voluntary patient, and reads at this stage rather like a verbatim account outlining the events after they had happened. The logical, well argued in hindsight, rant against widespread chemical coshing by the seemingly non-sensical overstretched unconcerned authorities and the Catch-22 patients can find themselves so easily sucked into make for disturbing reading.Continue reading “‘Slightly Bonkers Jamie’”
The Trustees give notice that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health will take place on Saturday 24th April 2021, between 14:00 and 17:00.
Given the continuing restrictions on holding meetings in person due to Covid-19, the AGM will again be conducted online via using the Zoom videoconferencing platform.
The meeting ID is: 867 4394 4940
If you would like to join the meeting, please contact us for the meeting password.
Richard Allen – Chair of Trustees
on behalf of the Trustees