Introduction to the Molhoek-McPheeters Fund

I am honored to tell you about the Barbra Molhoek-Callum McPheeters Fund for Mental and Spiritual Health.

In December of 2014, Chandler preached a sermon called “The Light of Love.” In the sermon, he told a tragic story of a grieving father who sought counseling to help him mourn the death of his son Callum, who was born with severe birth defects and lived for only 19 days. Unfortunately, the therapy he received was anything but healing. Chandler went on to explain that this was the inspiration behind the Westminster Presbyterian Church Mental Health Referral Panel.

As I was sitting there and listening to Chandler tell the details of this new panel and program, I felt very proud to be part of a church that would take this issue head on. Mental health is almost at an epidemic state in this country:

1 in 4 adults (61.5 million people) experience severe mental disorders in a given year.

Mood disorders such as depression are the third most common cause of hospitalization for both adults and youths between ages 18-44.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 18 to 24.

However, it seems that no one wants to talk about or address mental illness—no one except Westminster, with its Mental Health Referral Panel.

Mental health is an issue dear to my heart, as I witnessed the devastating effects this disease can have on a person and a family. I watched as depression completely destroyed my mother in a matter of two years. Like a parasite, it ate away everything she was (beautiful, vibrant, confident, and caring) and took away everything she wanted to be (a good friend, wife, mother, grandmother, and Christian) until she took her own life.

This is why what Chandler said toward the end of his sermon resonated with me most. He said that in the future he envisions having a fund to help people who are suffering from mental illness but cannot afford help, and that this fund had not yet been started.

That statement hit me right between the eyes. You see, I had been looking for a way to honor the memory of my mother. I cannot think of a better way to honor my mom than to set up a fund to help people suffering from mental illness. This is perfect—not that my mom suffered from mental illness, but that when she was on this earth, she lived to help others. My mom was a champion for the underdog. She loved her neighbor more than she loved herself. Anyone who ever talked to my mom walked away feeling better about himself or herself.  Because of this gift people loved talking to her and sought her out. This was most noticeable at church. After the service people would flock to her, literally lining up to get their weekly dose of encouragement.

I hate to admit it but this was the main reason I did not like going to church growing up. Sunday school was okay, and I didn’t even mind the hour-long service. But what drove me absolutely crazy was that after the service we would have to wait around for my mom to talk to everyone in the entire church. We were always the last people to leave.

I vividly remember one Sunday—it must have been about 12:15 and the service ended at 11:00.  My mom just finished talking to the last person in church, and she started to look around for someone else to talk to.

Ha! Finally, no one left to talk to. We can finally get out of here! I thought. Just then Roger the janitor walked in to start cleaning. And to my horror, I heard, “Hi Roger!” It was another 15 minutes before we got out the door.

That is one story that sums up my mom, and that is why I am honored to tell you about the Barbra Molhoek-Callum McPheeters Fund for Mental and Spiritual Health. It is a fund through Westminster for anyone who is suffering from mental illness and needs professional help but cannot afford it.

This fund was set up with few restrictions. Here are few of the questions that I am sure you’re thinking:

Who is eligible to receive funding? In the tradition of Westminster, this fund is available to anyone who needs help.

Do you have to be a member of Westminster to receive funding? No.

Do you have to be a Christian to receive funding? No, we do not presume you to be a Christian; we only hope that we treat you in a Christian manner.

How much of the therapist invoice will this fund cover? Up to six sessions with a professional therapist, where you need to pay only a $10 co-pay for each session.

If I need help or know someone who needs help, what is my next step? Call or reach out to anyone on the Westminster Pastoral Care Team.

In closing, if you or anyone you know is suffering from mental illness, please do not try to take it on yourself. Please get help. If you know a good therapist, great. If you do not, the Westminster Mental Health Referral Panel is here to help you find one.

If you can afford therapy, great. If you cannot, the Barbra Molhoek-Callum McPheeters Fund for Mental and Spiritual Health is here for you.

John Molhoek

Guidelines for the Use of the Fund

Westminster Presbyterian Church provides financial support for members of this faith community and for our neighbors who may need assistance covering the cost of outpatient mental health services.

Persons seeking treatment are expected to have applied for and be utilizing all applicable sources of private health insurance and public health care coverage programs (Medicare/Medicaid/Healthy Michigan).

The Molhoek-McPheeters Fund is then a resource available when private or public health care coverage resources are not available or for those limited situations where co-pays and deductibles are so high as to pose a serious financial barrier to seeking outpatient mental health services.  We expect a maximum distribution of $520 per member’s care for up to six sessions, which may also include a combination of copays and deductible fees.

To apply for this resource, please contact a member of the Pastoral Care Team:

Susan Jennings, Minister for Congregational Care

616-717-5542 / susanj@wpcgr.org

Rev. Jen Porter, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care and Mission

616-717-5545 / jenp@wpcgr.org

Rev. Chandler Stokes, Senior Pastor

616-717-5543 / chandlers@wpcgr.org

Rev. David Baak, Executive Pastor

616-717-5544 / davidb@wpcgr.org