Suicide Postvention Mar 15 and 16 2015 (click on blue text to download brochure)
One May morning in 2011, I received the grave news from our dear friends Jim and Jane Wisland, calling from their home in Fairbanks, Alaska. Their second child and only son Erik, after a long struggle with crippling and over-lapping mental illnesses, had taken his own life. Would I come to Fairbanks and speak at Erik’s memorial service? Absolutely, Jim. I will be there. Kathryn sends her love, Jane.
How do you respond when such horrendous sorrow finds you? As a parent, a friend, or as a professional—what do you do then? What do you say? What do you not say?
Jim asked me to speak from Psalm 88, the darkest of all the Biblical songs of lament.
After discovering Erik’s lifeless body…after all the emergency personnel had left…after their daughter and her husband had returned to their home…Jim and Jane turned to their daily Bible reading plan and were directed to this psalm, the darkest of all the ancient Jewish psalms of lament. These sad songs eloquently describe what the spiritual divines call the dark night of the soul. Each of these revealing laments move from confusion, pain and darkness to words of faith, assurance and hope. But not Psalm 88. Within this unrelenting prayer, no hope is expressed. For this ancient, obscure psalmist, “darkness is his closest friend.”
Over three years of study, Jim has concluded that this psalm is the most profound revelation in ancient literature of someone contemplating suicide. This ancient cry gives us invaluable insights. It builds compassionate wisdom. It speaks to us of what to say and not to say, what to believe and not to believe, when we encounter the threat of suicide.
Now as the executive director of the Arctic Resource Center for Suicide Prevention and as coordinator for the Fairbanks Wellness Coalition, Dr. Jim Wisland is sharing what he and his wife Jane have learned on their journey of sorrow. Come and gain companions for your journey. Move with them from darkness into the light.
Awakenings Prayer Institute hosting the Wisland’s for a special two-evening seminar, “Suicide Postevention: A Personal Journey.” The seminar answers the question “When you’ve lost a loved one, what do you do now?” It will be held Sunday evening March 15 from 6:30 -8:00 and Monday evening March 16 from 6:00 – 8:00 at Bethel Church, 2625 Hoyt Ave, Everett, WA 98201.
Feel free to reproduce and distribute the enclosed flyer.
Dr. Wes Johnson
Lead Pastor of Bethel Church
Executive Director of the Awakenings Prayer Institute
For more information about the Arctic Resource Center for Suicide Prevention go to www.arcsp.org To register for this event contact AwakeningsPrayer@gmail.com (425) 422-0645.
Visit us at www.AwakeningsPrayer.org
SCHEDULE of EVENTS
Sunday March 15
9:30—10:30 a.m. Seminar Dr. Jim and Jane Wisland in the Fireside Room “Shock, Grief and the Gift of Psalm 88”
Followed by coffee and pastries
11:00—12:30 a.m. Sunday’s Message Dr. Jim and Jane Wisland “A Desperate Prayer in the Darkness”
6:30—8:00 p.m. Sunday Night Session Understanding the Suicidal Mind: Deception and Despair
Coffee and dessert will be served
Monday March 16
Monday Night Session 6:00—8:00 p.m. Understanding the Suicidal Mind: 26 Key Indicators
A light dinner will be served
Sessions are built on the inner thoughts of a man of ancient times who is suffering suicidal ideation as revealed in Psalm 88, the darkest of the songs of Israel. Participants will gain life-giving insight into the feelings of a person who contemplates suicide and thus be better equipped to intervene in helpful ways.
A $20 fee covers the meal and the cost of seminar materials
A love offering will be collected for the Wislands