|Opening Article from Pastor Johanna
“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.” (Mk. 5:1)
This resource’s title, Crossing the Sea, is drawn from Mark’s story of the Gerasene demoniac, a man whose condition resembles what we might call Severe Mental Illness. In Mark’s version of the story, the man is living among the tombs. No one can control his wild behavior, though the scripture relates that many people have tried: “He had often been restrained with shackles and chains” (Mk. 5:4). Night and day the man howls and bruises himself with stones. When Jesus asks his name, the man answers, “Legion, for we are many” (Mk. 5:9).
For pastors today in urban churches, this troubled man who “lives among the tombs” is no stranger. Not infrequently, people like him show up on the church doorstep during the weekdays or on Sunday at worship time. They seek help with the burdens of having no permanent home (being unhoused or unsheltered) and also living with Severe Mental Illness (SMI)…
So begins the resource 2MIPeople has created for East Bay pastors interested in learning more about how to support people who are both unsheltered and living with Serious Mental Illness. Covering topics such as why there are so many people with Serious Mental Illness in the unsheltered community, how to come alongside members of this community as they seek to set goals and make changes in their lives, and where to go to help them find the practical resources they may need to support these changes, Crossing the Sea came about through a partnership with the Presbytery of San Francisco and academics serving in U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Psychology and School of Social Welfare.
Michael and I hope that our East Bay colleagues will find it helpful in their work with this community. We also invite interested members and friends of FPCC to check out the resource at
— Pastor Johanna