GA News: “Winds of Hope, Winds of Healing” sweeps PHEWA Awards

SAN JOSE — With a whirlwind of gospel energy sweeping the room, attendees at the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association [] (PHEWA) Awards and Music Celebration recognized outstanding ministries of justice and danced to musicians at the General Assembly launch of the Winds of Hope, Winds of Healing Project.

“Winds of Hope, Winds of Healing‚ is a ministry of song and mental health. Our goal is to raise funds to benefit mental health and pastoral counseling services in the Gulf Coast area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,’ said the Rev.Douglas Ronsheim, Executive Director of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). AAPC is one of the founding partners of the project, along with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), PHEWA and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance [] (PDA).

The project’s first phase was the creation of a promotional
film developed by Michael Waldon, a Washington, D.C., area
television producer. The film, in the form of a music video, features segments of original music, footage, and photography spotlighting life in the wake of Katrina. The film is available on the project’s Web site ( For a donation of any amount, the four narrative songs can be downloaded in their entirety for personal use or for projection in services of worship.

The film and original music promotes the awareness of the persistent mental health concerns in the Gulf region. The launch of “Winds of Hope, Winds of Healing” provides an immediate opportunity to support ongoing mental healthcare efforts. Additionally, the promotional DVD kicks off a
fundraiser for a CD of known and up-and-coming artists whose music tells the story of chaos to hope. All proceeds from the sale of this CD will go directly to the project’s recipients.

“What’s so exciting about “Winds of Hope, Winds of Healing”‚ is that it’s organic,” said the Rev. Nancy Lincoln-Reynolds, pastor of Woods Memorial Church in Baltimore, Maryland. “Core musicians all over the country will gather area musicians for local performances. We hope that people all over the country will contact us to schedule engagements, which can be anything from one five-minute song to a full service of worship.

“The need for mental health and pastoral counseling services is pressing,” noted Lincoln-Reynolds. “Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome are widespread, with children among the most affected. This is a project of hope, redemption and healing.” In addition to the performance by the Winds of Hope band, the gathering recognized three outstanding ministries of justice for their outreach to and inclusion of marginalized communities.

The John Rea Thomas Award, presented by the Presbyterian Association of Specialized Pastoral Ministries, is presented to a person, organization, institution or congregation that has demonstrated excellence in the field of pastoral care and counseling. The 2008 recipient is the Rev. Timothy Little, director of clinical pastoral services at the University of California Davis Medical Center, for his work in disability awareness, and lifelong ministries of social justice, interfaith work, and multicultural concerns. Little has been blind for the past seventeen years.

The Community Transformation Award is presented by the Presbyterian Association for Community Transformation in recognition of congregations that have been faithful and creative in ministry to and with their community through interfaith or ecumenical ministry. The 2008 honoree is  First Church of Tifton, Ga., for their efforts in fostering relationships across the historic divisions of the Deep South.

The Florence Iverson Kraft Award honors a congregation that demonstrates outstanding leadership in ministry with persons living with serious mental illness and their families; the award is presented by the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network. The 2008 recipient is the First Church of Stillwater, Okla., which has been instrumental in the development of a wide range of mental health services in their county. The congregation, under
leadership of their pastor, the Rev. B. Gordon Edwards, was instrumental in the development of the new policy on serious mental illness, “Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness,” to the 218th General Assembly.