North Presbyterian Church is a special mission of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Our particular calling within the larger church is to practice our ministry alongside people who live with mental illness. We live into this calling through ministries of advocacy and accompaniment in the social services sector, through the Togetherness Group (a weekly social activities group), and most of all through reorienting the entire life, governance, and worship of our congregation so that people who are stigmatized by society because of their mental illness can be one of “us” instead of one of “them.”
We believe that the church of Jesus Christ, in its essence, is neither a building nor an institution. Rather, the church is a community of people on a mission. We have been called together by Christ, we live together in Christ, and we work together with Christ to faithfully present the gospel to the world in our words and our deeds.
“I saw the person before I saw his or her poverty. And I realized that the person who is hungry, abandoned or in need is first of all a heart who needs to find another heart; someone who will listen, understand and love. People who are poor and discouraged need to hear someone say to them, “I love you. I have confidence in you. You are beautiful. You can give life to others.” This helps them find confidence in themselves, new strength, new hope. The poor do not need to hear a lot of words, not even pious words. They may need people who will do things for them. Above all they need friendship: friends who love them and are willing to do things with them. This will help them grow and develop both humanly and spiritually.”
– Jean Vanier, ‘An Ark for the Poor’, p.57