Monday, May 13, 2013Download All Stories
Tackling mental illness becomes priority for Staten Island church
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (BP) -- Pastor Ray Parascando had just clicked "send" on an email to his congregation, letting them know of a plan to start monitoring train platforms in Staten Island after a rise in suicides involving people jumping from those platforms. Then he heard the sirens.
It had happened again. He ran up the block from the church to find a woman in her mid-30s had attempted suicide but survived. Her body was mangled when the emergency workers pulled her from the tracks. What Parascando remembers is the look of utter hopelessness he saw in her eyes.
A week later, Hurricane Sandy devastated Staten Island and the surrounding region. People who already were coping with problems severe enough to press them to take their lives now had lost even their homes. Parascando and Crossroads Church knew they had to act.
The Southern Baptist congregation began immediately meeting the physical needs like food, clothing and shelter Staten Island residents had in the aftermath of the hurricane, but they knew something more was needed.
What had been germinating in their minds before the storm now was becoming clear: People desperately needed help with hidden, inner struggles that are difficult to reveal in church.
"Being a pastor, one of the most helpless feelings that you have is when somebody is struggling with a form of mental illness or any type of depression or anxiety," Parascando told Baptist Press. "It breaks your heart, whether it's a congregant, a neighbor or a family member.
"It seems that that has always been labeled in the church as somebody who does not have enough faith or they've not connected to God like they should and that's why they suffer. A stigma exists for those who battle with that," the pastor said, adding, "It's a lousy stereotype."
In some cases, when someone has missed church a lot, Parascando said, it's not because they don't love the Lord. It's because "they're depressed and they don't want to come out of their house."
But they can't exactly tell the pastor.
"Perhaps out of all the areas that we lend pastoral care to in the church and the church uses its muscle to reach and love people, that might be the most neglected area but yet the most important area because people are battling on the inside," Parascando said. Read More
Gosnell found guilty of 3 murders outside wombWASHINGTON (BP) -- A Philadelphia jury has found Kermit Gosnell guilty of the first-degree murder of three babies killed outside the womb at his abortion clinic. Read More
Gruesome: Videos describe late-term abortionsPHOENIX (BP) -- Two new undercover videos by the pro-life group Live Action reveal details of late-terms abortions that rarely are discussed publicly -- such as the tearing apart of an unborn baby at 23 weeks limb by limb to avoid a live birth or the killing of a baby at 26 weeks with a needle injection to stop its beating heart. Read More
Winter Olympics initiative to 'Engage Sochi'SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP) -- With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games less than a year away, Southern Baptists are preparing for opportunities in Sochi, Russia, to turn hearts and minds toward a relationship with Jesus Christ. Read More
Christian philosopher Dallas Willard dies
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. (BP) -- Dallas Willard, Christian philosopher and author, died May 8 in Woodland Hills, Calif., from cancer. He was 77. Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Should we interpret the Bible literally?
Columnist David Roach examines a question readers of the Bible often have: Should we interpret Scripture literally or figuratively? Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Welcoming newcomers to your neighborhood
Columnist Diana Davis says greeting new residents within days or hours of their move is a great way for a church to establish friendships and meet needs -- and perhaps impact eternity. Read More
BP Ledger, May 13 edition
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
World News Service (2 items)
Campbellsville student recounts life-changing experience with Christ
By Linda Waggener
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) -- Campbellsville... Read More