Online Rural Connection Conference: Mental Health
Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 9:00 AM Central Standard Time

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Date: October 24th, 2020
Location: Your Church
Cost: Free
Questions? Contact John Pinkston at

The Mark Twain District, in partnership with the Missouri Annual Conference, is offering the Rural Connections Conference. An online conference, the focus will be on mental health during this time of isolation and disconnect. Experts in the following areas will offer their wisdom and guidance for challenging period in the lives of our churches and church members.
The following topics will available, and each church will decide which topics to engage.
  • Starting the Conversation About Suicide: a Plan of Action and Resources for Local Churches
    • Jon Copeland
  • Help! How Can I Respond to the Emotions?
    • On any given day, children and teens experience a wide range of emotions and we are often left trying to determine how best to support them.  In today’s challenging times, it seems harder to know how to respond to the big feelings and the silent feelings. Learn how to understand the brain states to form a better response in the moment and discover tools for managing emotional self-regulation.
    • Presented by Amy Thompson, LCSW, LSCSW
  • Self-Care during COVID-19
    • Presented by Mark Twain Behavioral Health out of Kirksville, MO
  • Resilience: Strength for These Days
    • How can we, as people of faith, develop the resiliency needed to live well in this time of pandemic? Merriam-Webster defines resilience in this way: "the capacity of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress; an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change."
Strain and stress, challenge and change...are ongoing aspects of life today. Yet, they do not have to drive our words, actions, self-image, or choices. Join with others in exploring specific practices and postures that build our capacity to recover, adjust and thrive.
  • Rev. Melissa Bailey Kirk
  • Loss Isn’t Little: Looking at how grief/loss effects folks and learn ways to support those who are hurting.
    • Loss can be a result of so many things – death, divorce, job market, moving, even pandemics. Loss is something that so many are uncomfortable talking about but it is also a guarantee in life. We will all face loss. As a faith leader and community, we have to opportunity to learn more about how people experience loss, how people cope with loss and how we walk with/support those experiencing loss.
    • Elizabeth Dimmitt, Instructor at Northwest Missouri State University, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Lay Speaker
  • Acknowledge and Address Aging Adjustments: How the Church Family Can Accommodate and Assist our Elderly Parishioners.  
    • It is said, “aging is for the birds”; however, we see the Methodist membership progressively aging. We need to be aware of the stressors and transitions that these members may face or are currently facing. As a helper and a faith community, it is our responsibility to not only know what transitions may occur but also how we can best support those who are in the later stages of life. These members are a gift, not a burden, so let’s work together to learn more about our aging populations specific needs.
    • Elizabeth Dimmitt, Instructor at Northwest Missouri State University, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Lay Speaker
  • Soul Care in this Season of Life and Ministry
    • We will explore spiritual disciplines and practices for soul care in this season of life and ministry.We will offer ways to identify what is needed and discern ways to strengthen our spiritual connections and to offer ourselves for kingdom work.
    • Rev. Jim Simpson
With your registration you'll receive links to the session materials and links for each session. As a church you can decide what the best way is to share in this conference. You can split into small groups, stay as a large (socially distant) group, and also provide materials for church members who can't be there in person. All that is needed is a computer, screen, and internet access.