The second annual HeartDeep Summit at Kalēo church last fall was the culmination of a four-week sermon series centering on mental and relational health. During the sermon series, four mental health experts presented on the ways topics such as intergenerational cyclebreaking, resilience, well-being for the youth, and understanding emotional neglect intersect with faith.
The summit consisted of afternoon workshops available for all ages. While events surrounding mental health are typically reserved for adults, Kalēo felt the need to include even the littlest in the congregation, knowing that they are also impacted by mental health challenges. Teens and children from as young as two years attended four workshops specially designed for them. Simultaneously, adults were offered five breakout sessions with the choice of topics such as lifestyle that promotes mental health, parenting, marriage, anxiety and depression, and learning the language of emotions.
According to Manny Arteaga, Kalēo senior pastor, the goals for this event were twofold. “First, to keep the mental/relational health conversation front and center in our community, viewing it as a crucial piece in our spirituality,” he said. “Second, to destigmatize these topics within our community—a community of color—while collectively moving toward a place of wholeness. We see this as one of our most important and efficient evangelistic tools.”
This is the second HeartDeep Summit Kalēo has held; the first time was summer 2022. “This event emerged in the hearts of a number of our leaders,” Arteaga shared. “They have the passion, they saw the need, they saw the opportunity. It was an easy choice. We needed to do HeartDeep.” The summit was also personally meaningful for Arteaga, who has been open about his own mental health journey and the work he’s accomplished through therapy.
HeartDeep was much more than a day of presentations. When asked about the highlight of the event, Arteaga said, “Numerous people having breakthroughs, taking steps to go into therapy, and a collective sense of gratitude that these topics were being talked about in church. Church feels like even more of a safe space, suddenly.”
This won’t be the last summit. “We’re just getting started with this,” Arteaga shared. “The dream is for this to go beyond just a sermon series a year that ends with a summit. Our idea is to turn this into a fulltime ministry and hopefully a resource that can serve other churches around our conference and our local community.”
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