Supporting People With Mental Illness

Mission | March 19, 2015


Marla Brundies first became interested in helping those who struggle with mental health, addictions, and intellectual disabilities as a teenager, when she babysat a child with a disability.

Marla, 60, spent the first part of her adult life working for MidAmerican Energy, raising her kids, and going to school. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1998 and a master’s degree in social work in 2001.

Marla is now leading the Mental Health Awareness Team at St. Paul. Their next meeting is tonight, Thursday, Marcy 19, at 6 p.m. in the Church House Dining Room.

Tell us a little bit about your professional life:

I am an Iowa Licensed Independent Social Worker and have worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs for 14 years. I also have certification as a social worker in healthcare, in anger resolution, addictions, and as an alcohol and drug counselor.

I have worked throughout the country for Veterans Affairs, including serving veterans who are homeless, incarcerated, and re-entering society. I’ve worked in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. area, and West Palm Beach.

I came back to the Quad Cities in July 2013, returning home to be near my mom, who celebrated her 90th birthday that year. I work at the Veterans Affairs office in Rock Island as the homeless outreach center’s social worker. One of my responsibilities is for all of the calls and referrals from the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans in the region.

What do you and the mental health committee members hope for as you look towards the future?

The St. Paul Mental Health Awareness Team has four goals:

1. Mental health education, through events that offer an awareness and understanding of mental health issues

2. Mental health peer group support, for those with a mental illness and/or for families and loved ones

3. Hospitality and companionship, by reaching out to those dealing with issues that can make it difficult to attend services

4. Mental health community resources and/or referrals, so that area services are known to those who wish to use them.

The MHAT is just one part of St. Paul’s mental health ministry. The St. Paul congregation provides the Vera French Housing at 2025 Main Street, supports Vera French school-based services, participated in the 2011-2014 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Walk and attended MHAT events, such as evening panels that span the spectrum of mental illness and health, and by watching and discussing movies about a variety of mental health issues. MHAT events are also well attended by others from the community.

Why is it important for faith communities to be involved in mental health information and advocacy?

MHAT goals of service, support, education and empowerment for St. Paul church members and the community fulfills Christ’s teaching.

“Heeding Galatians 6:2, ELCA social teaching advocates that Christians bear the burdens of one another..” our denomination commits as a church to “accompanying people in their valley of the shadow, to advocating for their just and dignified treatment, and to praying for their healing and restoration.”

The entire document can be found here.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I love reading, theater, music, movies, camping, and other outdoor activities such as swimming and boating. I also love learning, so in 2014 I completed the Genesis Medical Center’s Parish Nursing/Health Ministry education and the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Mental Health First Aid training.

I was blessed in November 2014 with my first grandchild, and enjoy spending time with him, my son Aaron, who is a physical therapy assistant for Genesis, and his wife Lindsay, who works as a sterile processing technician at the Spring Park Surgery Center. I also spend time with the rest of my family in the Quad Cities as much as possible, and enjoy visiting my daughter Naomi and her husband, Dave, who run Outdoor Cinema Network in Denver, Colorado.

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”