From time to time we all face difficulties – some more serious than others. Sometimes our usual ways of coping don’t seem to be enough.
How can churches help? 60 churches (and counting!) from six denominations across Ontario are finding the Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP) to be an exciting, affordable tool for extending the hand of Christ to those among them who are hurting. Schools are also doing the same! LEARN MORE
CAP enables churches to make short-term professional Christian counselling support available to their members.
- local professional, Master’s degree-level Christian counsellors
- available to all church members and adherents
- up to six sessions per year for each member
- services are anonymous and strictly confidential
- provided at no cost to the church member
- CAP works seamlessly behind the scenes in your congregation.
- Check out this brief slide presentation for detailed information.
- Download the CAP brochure
- Read the sample brochure that is given to every member of a CAP congregation.
- For a description of one church’s journey with CAP, read The Impact of CAP.
- Shalem’s CAP program has been featured in the Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health in the an article titled A Tale of Two Churches: The Development of a Congregational Assistance Program.
- There was also an article published in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health: Bringing EAP to Faith Communities: Genesis of a Canadian Congregational Assistance Plan
- Dr. Rick Csiernik along with Mark Vander Vennen, Marg Smit-VandeZande and Ken Van Wyk were authors in Workplace Wellness: Issues and Responses. Their chapter was titled: The Congregational Assistance Program: Bringing Occupational Assistance to Faith Communities. (Csiernik, R. (2014). Workplace Wellness: Issues and Responses. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.)
We will be happy to answer your questions about how your church can become a CAP church, to put you in touch with another church enrolled in the program, or to arrange for a presentation.
Marg Smit Vandezande, MSW, RSW
For all intake inquires or appointment bookings, please contact our intake department toll free at 866.347.0041 or by email:
Other Services and Tools Available to Your Congregation
Reaching Out, Reaching In
Jesus calls us to follow him. At Shalem, we believe that means following Jesus to where He has gone and continues to go, namely to the margins of society – to the disenfranchised, the stigmatized, the isolated. Following Him means reaching out to those who are hurting. But it also means reaching in – going to those areas within ourselves that we often try to repress because of deep pain, sorrow or trauma. Both forms of reaching involve grappling with difficult things that we prefer not to face. But as we move, we realize that reaching out and reaching in are surprisingly connected. And we have the promise of Jesus’ abiding presence, his profound and effective blessing.
Shalem’s services offer congregations a spectrum of tools needed for that journey.
Faith-based WrapAround: Tools your church can use to support people in your faith community who face multiple, complex challenges – needs which are persistent and tend to burn out your church’s caregivers.
Restorative Practice Hosting: Find out how your congregation can host Family Group Decision-Making meetings – meetings where extended family members create a plan of care for a child who otherwise will become a permanent Crown Ward of the Children’s Aid Society. Become the host of reconciliation processes that happen in your community.
RE-create: Become a volunteer for, or a supporting church of, Shalem’s dynamic drop-in art studio for street-involved youth in the Hamilton area.
Linking Lives/Building Attachment: It is well-known among child protection services that a sizable number of foster parents and adoptive parents are people of faith. At Shalem, we wish to encourage and support this practice. For foster, adoptive and other parents in your church, Linking Lives provides cutting-edge mental health counselling support for children and youth who struggle with attachment disorders due to early trauma and neglect, and their caregivers.
FaithCARE: Shalem has assembled some of the best practitioners of Restorative Practice and conflict transformation in Ontario to help your church transform conflict, restore relationships and become a “conflict-friendly,” restorative congregation. One of the mysteries of faith is that some of the most difficult, painful and damaging conflicts between people take place in church settings. You likely know of congregation-based disputes that have left people hurt and embittered – perhaps even questioning the faith itself. Contact FaithCARE if your church is struggling with conflict.
Sunshine from Darkness: In your quest to support people with mental illness in your church, sometimes what’s needed is accurate, reliable information. Shalem’s Sunshine from Darknessprogramoffers tailor-made information about specific mental illnesses, about where to go for support, and about navigating the mental health system.