I don’t know about you, but when I think of sanctuary I think of grand cathedrals and Esmerelda seeking sanctuary inside the Notre Dame in the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (just me!?) The idea of sanctuary often seems to be related to grand buildings and impenetrable fortresses.

And yet as I’ve been exploring the concept of sanctuary for our campaign; I’ve come to see it a little differently because the first sanctuary was never a building – it was a garden.

It was the Garden of Eden and it was because it was God’s dwelling place. It was where God walked alongside us with no sin separating us.

It is the sanctuary we are all born longing for and one which Jesus demonstrated when He walked on earth, one that we will one day inhabit again.

The sanctuary found in Eden has all the elements for perfect mental health; for shalom.

It is, as John Wilkinson writes “wholeness, completeness and wellbeing”. Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden have shalom in the sanctuary of Eden; from their enjoyment of food and drink, their security, their companionship with one another and with God.

As part of our campaign we want our churches to be sanctuaries amidst mental illness; places to feel safe, to have real friendships and time to encounter God and experience His comfort.

Eden was the first sanctuary – because it was the first place God was with us on earth.

If you want to get involved in our campaign, take a picture of your sanctuary and caption it saying what makes it your safe place, using the hashtag #ThinkTwiceSanctuary @ThinkTwiceInfo.