Taboo: How We Approach the Toughest Topics

By Rebecca Garrett Pace

We are currently ⅗ of the way done with our Taboo series, and we’ve done some good, and tough, work. We’ve talked about doubt, and named that it is not the opposite of faith, but rather a very important component of it. We’ve talked about holistic health and mental wellness, and how we can foster that wellness even in the midst of going back to school, balancing busy schedules, and finding our fall semester rhythms. And we’ve talked about religion and politics – perhaps the most cliché “taboo” topics – and how we are challenged to approach one another not with a “checkmate” attitude but rather with the humility of Christ.

With two more weeks to go, we have two very important, and very tough, topics still ahead of us, and so we felt it was crucial to give you a heads up, and to affirm our theology, before Sunday morning comes around.

For the next two Sundays (August 27 and September 3), we will be talking in worship about some very sensitive topics. On August 27 we will address mental illness and addiction, and on September 3 we will address mental illness and death by suicide. These topics will be dealt with gently and prayerfully, but we also fully encourage you to make the best choice for your family, your children, and yourself regarding participating in worship on these dates. (Children's Church will NOT be dealing with these topics, but we recognize that 3rd/4th graders and others who remain in worship may still be too young or not in a place to hear some of these conversations.)

If you read nothing else in this blog post, read this:
At White Rock UMC, we believe that God's love for everyone is unconditional and unending, and it cannot be altered by ANY situation or action. We do not believe that those who live with mental illness or addiction, or who have died by suicide, go to hell or are separated from God.

These difficult realities affect all of us, and we are committed to journeying alongside you on these difficult roads. If you or someone you love has been impacted by mental illness, addiction or death by suicide, please know you are not alone. Reach out to Rev. Kerry Smith (, Rev. Tom Palmer (, or visit for more resources. If you feel you or someone you love may be a danger to themselves or others, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Laura Garrett - August 24th, 2023 at 12:05pm

Bravo to WRUMC for having the courage to deal with tough issues. This is one of the gifts of this congregation that I appreciate most!

Jeffery Ishmael - August 24th, 2023 at 1:34pm

I enjoy reading posts and the topics being discussed. When I was looking for a Church to reconnect with WRUMC was, and hopefully still is, an inclusive community Church. I think there is another topic that I have not seen discussed and I’m very surprised. I think it is needed at this time. With the topic coming up regarding suicide, folks that are LGBTQ IA and especially teens this needs to be talked about. Lot of teens and adults too, that are Christians, feel lost when they try to be their authentic self. Personally I’m working on that. But these folks need a safe space where they can talk and openly about it and not people make fun of them, bully them, or say horrible things to them Etc. They want to be accepted, as I do, they want feel loved by their parents, their family, their friends and their church. I feel by not discussing these topics and the teens and young and older adults may come away from the WRUMC as a place that is not inclusive. I chose WRUMC because I saw that the Church I grew up in was inclusive. Then I felt like I’m back at a church that genuinely cares for me. Please don’t disappoint me. WRUMC is better than that. Inclusiveness is not just in June or October. It is each and every day of the year. God Bless.

Rev. Kerry Smith - August 29th, 2023 at 10:14pm

Jeffrey, Thank you so much for your message and I agree with you 100%. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24, but if you are LGBTQIA then you are four times more likely to attempt suicide. Our Communion Offering for this Sunday is the Trevor Project and their work is so very important that we want to support them financially. At White Rock UMC I believe it is our duty as followers of Christ to talk about this and to reiterate that we are a place where all are welcome, accepted, and called. I am so thankful that you are a part of White Rock UMC!