North Carolina church hosts 'scream night' for people frustrated with pandemic     

Duke Memorial
Duke Memorial United Methodist Church of Durham, North Carolina. |

A church in North Carolina recently hosted a “scream night," allowing people to literally scream about their frustrations, especially regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Duke Memorial United Methodist Church of Durham held the event on Saturday evening, with around a dozen people in attendance, raising their voices over a host of issues.

The Rev. Laura Barnard Crosskey, the event organizer and a licensed psychologist, told The Christian Post that the church hosted the “scream night” because “our emotions have been building up over the last two years as many of us have been stuck at home without our normal outlets that let our emotions move through our bodies and our brains.”

“We wanted to provide people with a space to let it out with the intention of knowing that they were not alone in their struggles or in their efforts to heal,” she added.

According to Crosskey, the observance was divided into five literal screams. The first involved a “regular scream,” followed by a scream in which participants were allowed to curse. Then, participants screamed statements such as, "My partner is driving me crazy!" or, "I hate COVID!" followed by a scream for those who could not make it to the event. Finally, attendees participated in a “friendly competition” over who could scream the longest.

“Then I invited people to get quiet, to notice their bodies and their breaths. To notice how the scream resonated in our bodies,” explained Crosskey to CP.

“To feel the connection with others in our shared struggles and shared efforts to heal. Then I invited people to linger as they wished and go in peace as they were ready.”

Participants want to do the event again, according to Crosskey, though there is a preference for scheduling at a time more convenient for parents of little kids.

Crosskey told CP that there is “initial conversation” into hosting future scream nights, as many expressed interest in it, “both from people who identify as Christian and named that it would be spiritually helpful for them and for those who do not identify as Christian and felt welcome and safe to come and participate.”

Much has been made about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns on the mental health of people in the United States and abroad.

For example, a study published by the Society for Human Resource Management in October 2020 found that as many as 35% of U.S. workers have battled depressive symptoms. However, only 7% of those suffering symptoms reached out to a mental health professional.

Saddleback Church co-founder Kay Warren delivered a speech before the 2021 Evangelical Press Association Christian Media Convention last April, in which she said that churches can play an important role in mental health.

“Where do people go who are living with mental health challenges? Where do they go to find compassionate care and understanding? Where can they find hope for their dark days?” stated Warren, who lost her son Matthew to suicide.

“I really believe that the Church of Jesus Christ needs to be that safe, welcoming, and compassionate place for all who suffer.”

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