Our journey with Kintsugi Hope - Earls Hall Baptist Church
Kintsugi Hope is a charity based in the UK striving to make a difference to people’s mental wellbeing - and has already partnered with more than 40 Baptist churches. The charity encourages the creation of Wellbeing Groups which enable churches to reach their congregations and communities with resources to support people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
One of the churches to partner Kintusgi is Earls Hall Baptist in Westcliff on Sea, Essex. Members of the core team Andy Smith and Sharon Schofield provide an insight into developments so far.
Why did you decide to partner with Kintsugi?
The interest in Kintsugi Hope first arose during a webinar the Baptist Union ran in June 2020 entitled 'The Lifecycle of a Crisis' writes Andy. This was hosted by Simon Barrington and Simon Harris. They were talking about their involvement in humanitarian crises in different parts of the world and how the different stages of response, reconstruction and recovery could be expected to be experienced in the Covid pandemic.
Although Simon Barrington is Kintsugi Hope's Chair of Trustees, it was Simon Harris, the minister of Burlington Baptist Church, who spoke about their work as being one of the resources churches could use to support people during the recovery phase when emotions could be expected to be tense and edgy and resilience was running low. This prompted me to find out more and I was encouraged by what I discovered. I shared this with Tom Vernon, our minister, and the leadership, and we agreed to explore this further.
What's happened so far?
Four of us have completed the Adult Group Leader Training and three of us have attended the Youth Group Leader Training, writes Sharon. We have also had the opportunity to attend the National and Regional Group Leader Training sessions which were very well organised and informative.
Joined the Kintsugi Group Leader Facebook page, where there are regular dialogues, updates and sharing of resources. All the Wellbeing documentation and videos from Diane Regan about each weekly session are easily accessible and very informative.
We have recently concluded our first 12-week Adult Wellbeing Course on Zoom. This has been offered to EHBC members and any associated friends. We have also obtained a participant from outside of the area through the Kintsugi Facebook Page, which has been very much welcomed.
What kind of issues have people been sharing?
COVID and the impact on individuals has been very topical. Discussions on personal experiences relating to each topic have been very open and honest.
It has been a time for reflection for participants as well as group leaders
There have been discussions around individual’s early life experiences and how this has potentially had a bearing on their adult life. Discussion on various support techniques have taken place and sharing of experiences
Privately there has been confidential discussions with group Leader(s) on areas that participants are struggling with and they have been signposted to websites for additional support
Any general reflections on how people have responded to the Kintsugi course / being part of a Kintsugi group?
The participant feedback has been very positive and individuals feel that the sessions have been helpful, despite some topics being quite difficult and sensitive. A couple of the participants are interested in completing the course again face to face.
The course materials and resources have been very good and offer a wide range options to choose from to suit the backgrounds of the participants.
The staff of Kintsugi have been very helpful and responses to emails are always prompt and efficient. They have also provided very good advice and guidance over the telephone, as well as encouraging feedback to group leaders. As group leaders we would fully recommend Kintsugi and the Wellbeing Course. Further training opportunities are also shared e.g. Mental Health First Aider Training.
EHBC plans to offer a second course in September, which will hopefully be face to face (depending on any COVID restrictions) and in the church. It will also be open to individuals outside of the fellowship. EHBC also plans to deliver the six-week Youth Wellbeing Course to the young people of JAM (Jesus and Me Group - Secondary School Year 10 and above).
One group leader who works in HR within a local secondary school is also in the process of offering elements of the course to staff and possibly students within their PSHE lessons, which has been agreed with Kintsugi and is now in discussion with the Senior Leaders of the school to roll out in the autumn term.
For more on Kintsugi Hope, visit kintsugihope.com
This story supports a feature on Kintsugi Hope in the autumn 2021 editions of Baptists Together magazine.
'Kintsugi' is a Japanese technique for repairing pottery with seams of gold.
The word means 'golden joinery' in Japanese. This repairs the brokenness in a way that makes the object more beautiful, and even more unique than it was prior to being broken. Instead of hiding the scars it makes a feature of them.
was founded by Diane and Patrick Regan OBE after a series of operations and events that took them to the brink; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They faced illness and loss in their family and community.
They wrote a book and produced a DVD about their experiences. Through opening up about their struggles they realised how many people have felt alone in theirs, and the great need for each of us to be vulnerable, open and honest when life is hard.
The charity wants to create a movement of Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing Groups. A Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing Group is a safe and supportive space:
for people who feel or have felt overwhelmed.
providing tools for self-management.
in a facilitated peer mentoring style setting.
And the charity believes this can be done through the Church.
"The Church is in every community across this country. It will outlast government schemes and is committed to people's wellbeing – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Kintsugi Hope Groups work in communities through the local church with an attitude of humility – not to judge, fix or rescue, but to come alongside and love one another. We are all broken in some ways and we can all learn from each other."