Craig Rennebohm, D.Min., is Chaplain with the Mental Health Chaplaincy in Seattle. His pioneering work with the homeless mentally ill community is known around the U.S. and overseas. He has taught and given presentations in many local, national, and international settings, and he served for ten years with an international, interfaith working group on Spirituality and Social Work active during and after hostilities in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. He currently consults for Pathways to Promise, a national interfaith mental health resource. He also serves on the national advisory board of NAMI Faithnet and the Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries.
Craig graduated from Carleton College in 1967 and Chicago Theological Seminary in 1970, where he worked with street gang members on the citys South Side. He was ordained in the United Church of Christ and, as a pastor, served parishes in Lowell, Mass., and Seattle, Wash. In 1986, he entered the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., where he earned a D.Min. in pastoral care. He returned to Seattle in 1987 to found the Mental Health Chaplaincy, an ecumenical ministry working with mentally ill people on the streets and in the hospital. The Chaplaincy has grown to serve families, create mental health ministries in local congregations, and advocate for an effective and readily accessible community mental health system.
Craig's methodology of working with the most marginalized members of our society has put him in demand as a speaker, teacher, and consultant by faith communities and advocacy groups. Since 2007, he has traveled widely, encouraging local efforts at mental health ministry and giving presentations and workshops centering on Companionship and other aspects of caring for those who suffer from mental illness.
Among his numerous honors and recognitions are:
- The Richard T. Greer Advocacy Award of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- The Tipper Gore Award of the National Council of Health Care for the Homeless
- A Seattle Post-Intelligencer Jefferson Award
- An Exemplary Service Award from the King County (Wash.) Division of Mental Health
- An alumni Distinguished Achievement Award from Carleton College
- Honorable mention for the Thomas C. Wales Foundation Award for Passionate Citizenship
Besides two decades of working as a community mental health chaplain, Craig draws on his own struggle with depression. The help of his parents and siblings, the support of his wife and children, the gifts of physicians and medicine, the skill and encouragement of counselors, and the presence of thoughtful pastors and caring congregations have all contributed to his healing.
Craig has chosen to share his life with people left behind by a society that can be uncaring. Through this sojourn with them, Craig has developed a ministry and a theology that teach the most basic principles of a Judeo-Christian faith emphasizing Gods unconditional love and the ever-present power of a healing spirit in all our lives. It is his firm belief that, in the act of becoming true neighbors to one another, we find the capacities to address local, national, and world issues such as poverty and conflict, and find within ourselves the grace to develop the skills and strategies that make possible a world of peace and justice.