ABHMS webinar series addresses mental well-being in Asian American congregations and communities

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/20/2023)—Recognizing a tension between all-too-real issues of mental well-being within Asian American congregations and communities and an entrenched cultural hesitancy to acknowledge them, the Center for Continuous Learning (CCL) of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has crafted “Love the Lord with All Your Mind.” This three-part webinar series beginning in January 2024 is designed to facilitate dialog about mental health with faith leaders who are themselves Asian American or who serve in congregations and communities with a significant Asian American presence.

The Rev. Michele Turek, ABHMS national coordinator for Asian Ministries, explains that acute stress caused by the pandemic, longstanding cultural bias in American society, and a rising tide of overt hostility toward Asian Americans is manifesting as anxiety and depression in that community. Unfortunately, she adds, “issues of the mind” carry a stigma in the culture. This impedes addressing the problem head-on, resulting in pervasive “suffering in silence.”

Turek believes that a solution for churches in the Asian American community is the adoption of a more holistic approach to achieving well-being. “Matthew instructs us to love God ‘with all our minds,’” she says. “The mind is part of the whole person and, as such, is a fundamental part of the whole of what we bring to God.” Turek asserts that a state of positive mental health should be sought as avidly as sound spiritual and physical health. “’Loving the Lord with All Your Mind’ came to fruition because we can no longer abide the silent suffering,” she says.

“Love the Lord with All Your Mind” comprises three independent sessions, each focusing on a particular aspect of mental well-being:

  • Session 1 (January 24, 2024, at 7 p.m. EST). In this initial session, titled “Seeking Wellness in Asian American Communities,” scholar and clinician Dr. Jessica ChenFeng will focus on developing a better understanding of the current state of mental well-being within the Asian American diaspora.
  • Session 2 (February 29, 2024, at 7 p.m. EST). The second session, titled “Supporting Asian American Youth and Young Adults,” will explore ways of supporting youth and young adults who exhibit signs of mental distress. The Rev. Jason Ashimoto and Grace Yoshimoto, both from Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, will lead the discussion.
  • Session 3 (March 14, 2024, at 7 p.m. EST). The concluding session, titled “Serving as Trauma-Informed Leaders in Asian American Communities,” will be led by licensed therapist Tansy Kadoe and the Rev. Dr. Sanghoon Yoo, MSW. They will deliver learnings about how to serve especially vulnerable populations with awareness and care.

With a goal of providing flexibility, the CCL is offering all three sessions in a cost-effective bundle, or learners can select individual webinars to attend based on the challenges they see in their respective contexts, their schedules and their available budgets.

The registration fee for individuals: $25.00 per session. As a bundle of three webinars, the fee for individuals is $60, a 20 percent savings. The CCL is also offering a “watch party” option. Group registration is $50 per session or $125 for the bundle. There is no limit to the number of viewers in a group.

To learn more about the webinars in “Love the Lord with All Your Mind” and to register, visit ccl.abhms.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.