Photo credit: Isseu Diouf Campbell
First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC) marked on December 15, 2016, the official opening of the HOPE Center, a new facility on West 116th street in Harlem that will offer free hands-on, high-quality mental health counseling services to an underserved community.
With this new resource, FCBC and Senior Pastor Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. lead the charge in providing better mental health care to historically neglected African American communities, breaking down longstanding stigmas in the church and reducing cost barriers to care.
Pastor Walrond, who leads FCBC’s congregation of more than 11,000 and heads New York City’s Clergy Advisory Council, was joined by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Dr. Sidney Hankerson, and members of the Harlem community to celebrate the occasion with a ribbon cutting at the HOPE Center.
“For too long, the response from church leaders to real mental health problems has been silence – or worse, a call to ‘pray it away.’ Today, we take a step toward healing and empowering our community by providing access to inexpensive, quality mental health counseling right here in Harlem,” said Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr., Senior Pastor at First Corinthian Baptist Church. “Getting help should not be taboo – in fact, it is the first step toward realizing one’s full potential. I look forward to welcoming New Yorkers through the doors of the HOPE Center.”
The HOPE Center, which stands for Healing On Purpose and Evolving, will be staffed by licensed clinicians and led by Rev. Kyndra Frazier, FCBC’s new Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Counseling. The counselors will provide affordable, effective therapeutic services to those in need, with the ability to support a variety of everyday challenges likely to impact members of the community, including depression, anxiety, trauma, sexual assault, domestic violence, bereavement counseling and marriage guidance. The 735 square foot facility, within walking distance of the church, contains space for both one-on-one and group counseling.
Rev. Kyndra Frazier, Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at First Corinthian Baptist Church, said: “Too often, faith communities are held back from engaging in mental health services – but First Corinthian Baptist Church recognizes the importance of addressing psychological and socio-emotional issues in light of our faith. This holistic approach to caring for people has the potential to be a model for faith communities around the world. I am looking forward to the HOPE Center becoming one of the world’s premier models for addressing religious trauma, and trauma in general.”
For more information, please visit hopecenterharlem.org.