The Body of Christ and Mental Illness: Suicide Prevention Leadership Academy Session

Group 236

“My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2).

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social message on The Body of Christ and Mental Illness begins with this cry from Jesus on the cross.

During this one hour session, we will discuss how the anguish and isolation that Jesus experienced is familiar to those who have contemplated suicide and have experienced the pain of mental illness.

Meet Our Presenters

Alyssa Prinzivalli (she/her/hers), a Pennsylvania native, is the Director of Congregational Ministries at King of Kings Lutheran Church and Preschool in Fairfax, VA. At King of Kings she has begun a Mental Health Ministry in the hopes of removing the stigma that still surrounds mental illness and the church. Alyssa is currently studying at Wartburg Theological Seminary to become a Minister of Word and Service within the ELCA, and holds a Master’s Degree from American University and a Bachelors from Lenoir-Rhyne University. She is certified by Mental Health First Aid USA to provide initial help to people experiencing mental health crises and is a trained facilatator with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Alyssa and her husband, Vinny, live in Fairfax with their rescue pup, Murphy.     

Pastor Karis Graham is the spiritual leader and God’s vision caster for the ministry at Hope Clinton. Her primary responsibilities include: Preaching and teaching God’s word, giving the Sacraments, equipping, encouraging,and empowering leaders for service, oversight, and care for the church staff, and setting the strategic direction for the ministry alongside the Hope team.   She has a Phd in Psychology, M.S. and MTh in Pastoral Counseling, MDiv in theology.

Pastor Erin Swenson-Reinhold has a strong passion for the formation of people and completed her Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis on Leadership and Spiritual Formation. She enjoys conducting workshops and retreats for church workers and their families and is a trainer for Prepare/Enrich facilitators. Pastor Erin Swenson-Reinhold is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kansas and focused her counseling practice on the well-being of church workers and their families.