Mental Health Ministries
Rev. Preston J. Allen
Preston J. Allen is a native of Kansas City, Mo. He currently serves as the Director of Environmental Services with CHI St. Luke’s Patients Medical Center, Pasadena, Texas.
Preston serves as the Principal for Allen Consulting which provides consultative services to nonprofit sectors in management, administration, fund development, board relations, social services, and mental health. Previously Preston worked with the National Alliance on Mental Health Greater Houston (NAMI GH)/and the BeyGood Foundation project that sought to improve the level of utilization, access, and treatment for Mental Illness for the African American and Latinx communities in Houston. Preston has also consulted with St. John’s United Methodist Church’s Bread of Life Nonprofit in developing opportunities to develop psychotherapy and supportive resources to those suffering from Mental Illness.
Preston Allen has worked extensively within the African American and Latinx communities to build bridges of connectivity whereby individuals that historically underutilized mental health can access much needed resources.
Dr. Hilda R. Davis, PhD, LPC
Hilda Davis’ passion and purpose are to support the healing and wholeness of individuals, families, congregations, and communities. She is an ordained Deacon and has had the privilege of serving as a local pastor, an Editor with the United Methodist Publishing House and first Project Manager for United Methodist Communications’ Global Health Initiative. She was also the founding Director of the Faith-Based Health Initiative for the Tennessee Department of Health. Currently, she is the owner of Hilda R. Davis Consulting and has the honor of coaching clients virtually through technology and face-to-face. Her work in local congregations led to the publication of her book, Live Healthy & Be Well: Create an Action Plan, which encourages holistic wellness.
Davis received her doctorate in Religion and Psychology from Vanderbilt University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has certificates in wellness from national educational organizations. She has a daughter, Erin Grimes, and granddaughter, Ryan, who bring her joy.
Health and wellness have been my vocation for many years both professionally and personally. As an African American woman, I am acutely aware of the health disparities in the African American community. For the past twenty years I have worked in health-related settings, mental health agencies, and in public health to address those disparities. I have the honor of raising awareness and providing resources to improve health outcomes nationally—especially in the African American community.
Moreover, during this time, when the COVID pandemic is impacting all of our lives in ways that continues to bring suffering and grief, all communities can benefit from my health and wellness experience to reduce trauma related stress and connect more fully to the strengths of building on our spiritual foundation to improve mental and physical wellness. All of us have to pay attention to how we care for our bodies and also how we manage our mental and emotional distress. My experience as a holistic (or integrative—connecting body, mind, and spirit) counselor and coach can offer congregations:
- individual and group counseling
- resources to address the distress and uncertainty during this time of COVID that is impacting lives in multiple areas
- assistance with designing health and wellness programs that have our Christian beliefs as the foundation, are intergenerational, and compassionate.
All of us are touched by this pandemic—we lament personally, for our communities and for the international events. Even with all the turmoil, God continues to call us to health and wholeness with the invitation, “Come to me all who are weary and overburdened and I will give you rest.” As a ministry specialist in physical and mental health, I offer to support your desire for the improved peace and wellbeing God promises.
Rev. Melissa Maher
Rev. Melissa Maher, MDiv is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church serving at Mercy Street, a church within Chapelwood United Methodist in Houston, Texas. Having entered pastoral ministry after a career in corporate lending, Melissa’s passion is to bridge the life of the church with the opportunities and assets of the city. She has found a spiritual connection among contemplative spirituality practices, missional outreach, and a Wesleyan expression of grace.
Mercy Street is a worship community of Chapelwood United Methodist Church. Our mission is to be a safe harbor of hope and transformation, so all may experience the radical grace of God. We are both a church and a mission outpost. Mercy Street is a community with a high percentage of individuals and families in recovery from addictions as well as individuals or families affected by mental health. Staff and lay leaders develop the competencies to be bridge builders among the three worlds of the church, recovery and mental health, and the mission of the church in a neighborhood…all while holding the integrity of Mercy Street’s mission.
Skills to Offer:
- Cultural understanding of recovery and the stigma of addiction and how these impact the spiritual formation of an individual and local church.
- Connection to local organizations for addiction and recovery as well as mental health. These networks will enhance the ministry of a local church.
- Models for lay leadership and equipping individuals in recovery to be in church leadership.
- Personal experience with Al Anon and the pastoral intensity of a congregation with a high presence of addiction.
- Sermon and Bible study examples of how to speak to the stigma of addiction and mental illness.
- Building a staff team and budget which reflects the values of the congregation and her mission.