We are a user led organisation which values the contribution of all service users, staff and other stakeholders. We respect difference and are committed to anti-oppressive practice.
This is an extract published on our local MIND website. It sounds impressive. It sounds clear and concise and above all it sounds good. The problem is in practice it just doesn’t work out like that.
Take for instance the comment by the effective boss of the organisation when asking a member of staff about questions from the users. “have we got any sensible questions?” Now this is bad enough but he said it well in earshot of the users, and whilst most might have shrugged it off as ‘par for the course’ I for one found it offensive.
The problem is that this comment really does illustrate the real Values of our local MIND. The receptionist left an old and confused man standing in the pouring rain a few months ago because the group session that he had come to take part in didn’t start for another three minutes. I turned up just at the moment that the speaker at the door told him he’d have to wait outside. It was dark and the rain was torrential, the man didn’t have an umbrella. As we stood together we both got very wet, and just to the left of the door was a bay window throwing welcome light into the wet gloom, it was the waiting room. I asked staff why we weren’t allowed to use the waiting room and I was told that it was MIND policy. I became a little more insistent and eventually was told that we were a difficult group, that we might see staff in the lobby and ask them questions, that the staff might be on a break. I challenged this assumption and ws told that that was how it was.
To cut a long story as short as I can, I asked the organisation to review this rule, telling them that I thought it was a bad rule. No reply, and so I did a little research and sent them information regarding human rights and Mental Health equality, advising them that they had one of two choices. Either allow us to use the waiting room or make a rule that no one could use the waiting room. They had to treat us (Mental Health Patients) equally. A few weeks passed and no reply. I emailed MIND’s Central Office in London and outlined the situation. I then emailed our local MIND group advising them that I would be contacting the Mental Health Equality Ombudsman if I didn’t get a reply to my complaint soon.
The following day I got an email from one of the local MIND managers telling me that they had decided that we could use the Waiting room for up to 15 minutes before a group session.
That was a while ago, and we have used the waiting room, and we haven’t bothered the staff. The problem is, I can already detect an unwelcome and discouraging tone when we press the button to come in 15 minutes before a meeting. So much for being user-led and commitment to anti-oppressive practice.
I have been an Anglo Catholic since the early 1970′s and before that I was mildly Catholic but still learning about Christianity in a village church which was more or less High Church with a slight leaning towards the Catholic approach to worship and ecclesiology.
Since then I have learn a lot about the way that the church of England came into being and it is not a pretty story. I had grave misgivings about the nature of the Anglican Communion and sought clarification from a wise Priest. He helped me to consider the Church of England as being part of the continuing Catholic Church which was not Roman but still Catholic.
Now I am quite confused, and in a way that is a good thing. If I were certain of my understanding then I think I would be in serious doubt of my thinking.
For me the Church of England cannot be a separate body, for if it is then heaven will be a very restricted experience. Many of it’s doctrines are clearly erroneous within the great scheme of things, not least the matter of divorce and the role of the Monarch. Divorce and the Monarch are where the Church of England begins, and the late medieval machinations of powerful clerics and temporal lords played about with these ‘doctrines’ whilst the common people were governed by another standard.
How I feel today about the label ‘Catholic’ is very different from the 70′s. I feel that it is certainly not applicable to non-conformist denominations and does imply some adherence to long held practice and belief, but what that really is, I do not know.
MrC is managing quite well and long term therapies begin tomorrow. MIND have been very helpful and am very grateful for that. I still have nothing positive from any diocese about worshipping but I have celebrated Mass once this year.
Finances prevented me from travelling to meet friends this year but I am hopeful that things may improve. I spend my time painting and studying so life isn’t too bad but I remain very isolated.
I hope that you like the picture here. The Madonna of the Cat (‘La Madonna del Gatto’) It hangs in the National Gallery London (UK) and is by Frederico Berocci about 1575. It is my favourite as it shows the Holy Family and the infant John the Baptist in a quite ordinary way, and there is a cat in it.
Prayers for the worldwide Catholic church continue and for all those within the church who strive to promote the principle of ‘love first’.
“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world, through Him, might be saved!”
I have not gone away, just having a looooooooooong cat nap.
Kurdistan Peshmerge (Photo credit: Kurdistan Photo كوردستان)
The historic enmity between Syria and Iran is over 1000 years old, and the west gets involved at their own peril. Both islamic ideologies are difficult for the west and indeed for liberal minds to accept. Both are repressive regimes in the minds eye of liberational ideologists and free thinkers alike, however to try to impose liberation and freedom in either ideology, by the west, is fraught with danger and is also ultimately short sighted. What do we do? I don’t know.
Beside the darkness that overcame me and grew day by day,
Beside the fierceness of the terror that he put into my mind and into my being
beside the utter loneliness and abandonment that was mine to taste
there was always God.
As a child aged seven, I was taken from my family and put into a home that was not mine. I was told my mother was facing a serious operation that she might not come out of alive. It was in this chaos that he climbed into my bed daily and daily he threatened me and hurt me to re-enforce his will. In my mind, too young to understand, a confusion grew and when, as a man, I was faced again with terror, I became transfixed by the images that I understood too well.
Now I am fallen and faced with uncertainty and self loathing.
Yet in all of this, even then, there is Jesus, sitting with me, whispering his love for me. and you, my friends are his servants who have joined with Him and spoken love.
None of us deserve the fruits of the sacrifice He made, but all of us are adopted by Him, and, as His children, we are indeed safe.
It is time that I came clean. I have served six moths in prison of a twelve moth sentence for looking at child pornography at a high level of cruelty and as a priest I have lost my job, my purpose and destroyed the life of both my children and my wife.
I am both divorced and and a bankrupt, on the ‘sex offender’s register’ and shunned by my past colleagues and ‘friends’.
I live a pretty isolated life but I do have support from two excellent friends and from my two sisters and my nephews and nieces.
I am faced with a current problem of whether or not to prosecute the uncle who raped me daily for several weeks when I was seven years of age. My mother feels that the possibility of me making a prosecution is wrong, the police who monitor me are sympathetic and supportive, my family are divided between those who are abhorred of my sinfulness and those who want to support me. My sister, two years older than me was raped repeatedly when we were young and today I try to understand the terrible situation I feel that I am in.
I have worked tirelessly as a social worker and a probation officer and as on advisor to Sheffield Diocese as a priest supporting the work to avoid abuse of children.
I am deeply sorry for the wrong that I have done.
I want to tell you my story over time. I wan’t you to know how complex the story of child abuse can be.
I am both a child who was abused and a man who viewed abusive images.
I am also a priest who is now no longer allowed to receive communion in the Church of England.
My ‘de facto’ excommunication, is a pain the cuts deeply even moment. The church was the one place of refuge that I had as a child.
English: montage of great classical music composers – from left to right: first row – Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven; second row – Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi; third row – Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák; forth row – Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Quite recently I had an opportunity to go to a concert of classical music. I haven’t had the opportunity to do this for quite some time, but a good friend of mine wanted to go along and experience classical music (live) perhaps for the first time. As it was near my birthday he very kindly invited me to accompany him.
I have to tell you that what struck me before the concert began was how very much like most parish church congregations the audience felt like to me. What I mean, more clearly, is that there was a preponderance of grey hair wrinkly hands and spectacles. There was also indeed the usual politeness and it has to be said to some degree the usual fussing about along the “pew”.
I’m not entirely sure what this tells me about anything particularly but I did think that somewhere in this observation there might be a lesson to be learnt. If you can think what that might be then please do comment. For me, as I am getting older and qualify for the over 50′s club, I would like to think that with age comes an appreciation of quality, some greater degree of discernment, a more thoughtful more balanced approach in my judgement, to put it in one word ‘wisdom’.
And yet, banging on about the usual subject that I do, my knowledge of the acts of the old guard wherever they may sit in synod upstairs or downstairs, is that they are as frail as the young are just as prone to misjudgement and just as likely to be unfaithful and untrustworthy.
And so as I sit amongst the patrons who have come to listen to this superb music I may feel that I am amongst the sedate of society but my experience tells me otherwise. And if that is true in the concert hall, it is probably true also in the pew.