The Reverend Craig Rennebohm was awarded the National Association of Mental Illnesses (NAMI) 2009 Richard T. Greer Advocacy Award recently at the NAMI national convention in San Francisco.
RICHARD T. GREER was NAMIâ€™s first legislat
ive director and life-long grassroots advocate The award is given for leadership and vision that have resulted in
significant improvements on the state and/or national level.
Craig has worked mightily to found and grow the Mental Health Chaplaincy in Seattle. The chaplaincy has made a tremendous difference in the lives of homeless people who live with mental illness and in the lives of their family members, loved ones, and neighbors.
Further, Craig’s advocacy to create an effective and readily accessible community mental health system in the Seattle area has brought lasting change to the community. The spiritual care that the chaplaincy provides to people in hospital and outpatient programs, and the companionship training he has crafted for chaplains and others working within congregations to develop welcoming environments within religious communities is invaluable.
(Above notes are from the NAMI 2009 Convention Program. www.nami.org).
In a recent United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries communication, he said:
I’m grateful for the NAMI Advocacy award – especially as it represents a growing awareness and understanding of the role faith comunities can play in addressing stigma, modeling accessibility and inclusiveness and collaborating in social change.
He also commented that NAMI celebrated its 30th anniversary with significant gains to its credit. There is also a recognition, he said, “of the challeneges still ahead – the injustice of mentally ill persons wandering our streets and being incarcerated; returning vets; a system inadequate to the growing number of children, young adults and elderly needing services. We still have a long way to go in providing appropriate care and housing for all – especially our most vunlerable and isolated sisters and brothers.”
Craig is author of
- Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets
He represents the United Church of Christ Mental Illness Network on the United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries Board of Directors.