Living Room

We meet at the Rouge Valley Mennonite Church located at 7452 Reesor Road in Markham. Please see calendar for dates. We have closed for the summer, and we will start again in September. There is no fee for the sessions and coffee/tea and a snack are offered.

You may contact the facilitators Pastor Liz at 905-294-6242 or Glenda Dekkema 905-642-8256 or for more information.

Living Room is a name coined by Dr. John Toews, author of No Longer Alone: Mental Health and the Church (Herald Press, 1995). When his church saw the need to support people going through mental health crises, he formed a group that met in his living room at home. Thus, the simple name Living Room.

Living Room offers peer-support groups for people living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.

Living Room is a Christ-centered ministry founded on the belief that people who have a faith need a place where they can discuss their faith and their mental health problems. Nowhere else—neither in secular groups nor in church groups—is it possible to freely and comfortably discuss these two topics together.

In the words of one participant, "Living Room is the only place where I can talk openly about everything that's on my mind. It's easier to talk to the people here than it is to my psychiatrist or therapist." And in the words of another, "At Living Room I learned to accept my disorder. I found out there are others like me. I'm an OK person."

Some Living Rooms meet in the daytime, offering a simple lunch for participants; others meet in the evening. Meetings include a devotional time and an opportunity for participants to share what is happening in their lives. Through listening, and without trying to advise, save, fix or set each other straight, participants support each other. At Living Room, they find a level of understanding seldom available elsewhere.

Most Living Room groups work in partnership with a mental health agency. The British Columbia groups, for example, work with the Mood Disorders Association of BC, a secular organization that gives advice and supplies resources and training for facilitators. MDA lets their members know of the spiritual option Living Room offers.

The first Living Room group started in September 2006 at Brentwood Park Alliance Church in Burnaby, British Columbia, under the leadership of author Marja Bergen. Thanks to the publication of manuals and a website, as well as a story on the TV program 100 Huntley Street, news about Living Room has spread. This ministry is quickly gaining recognition as an effective model for faith-based assistance for people with mental illness. Church support through Living Room groups is now going global.

The basis for Living Room's support model, the foundation on which it rests, is the love of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Knowledge of His love, the depth of which we try to but can never quite grasp, is what we believe is our key to wholeness. We learn to trust God, asking Him to fill us with His love and to help us share that love with others. This is how we can bring healing to our lives and to the lives of others.

Get involved.

Our Mission Living Room is a network of Christian peer-facilitated support groups for people with mood disorders, creating places of safety, acceptance, understanding, healing and community. Support groups are sponsored by local churches and para-church agencies in partnership with mental health professionals, agencies and associations.

Our Vision To decrease stigmatization of mental illness To increase accessibility to Living Room support groups To provide resources to support group facilitators To promote networking to benefit from collaboration with others

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