Northland Church and Oviedo Counseling Clinic

Scotty Alderman

A Powerful Partnership for Care

Two of the greatest gifts and privileges of my life have been serving on staff at Northland and working as a mental health counseling intern at the Oviedo Counseling Clinic at Reformed Theological Seminary. The latter just came to an end when I graduated from RTS at the end of May with a master of arts in counseling, along with the other 21 graduate counseling students in my cohort.

If you don’t know, Northland has been in partnership with Reformed Theological Seminary since 1994 to provide reduced-fee counseling for folks in need while also providing an opportunity for graduate counseling students to attain the practicum and internship hours required for their degree. Additionally the seminary’s clinical director and professor of counseling, Dr. Jim Coffield, along with his wife, Mona, and son, Skylar, is a much beloved longtime Northlander. For the last 15 years, Dr. Coffield has been instrumental in training and equipping future counselors for ministry, and it’s impossible to overstate his impact and influence. Indeed, it has been and continues to be a tremendously valuable partnership.

One of the distinctive characteristics of the Northland community is how God has blessed us in ways that allow us to care for so many in a variety of capacities.

For example, our Access Ministries team creates environments for folks with disabilities and their families to connect with one another and with God. Our Pastoral Care team meets countless needs, including counseling for individuals and families, hospital visitation, weddings, funerals, and all manner of support groups and recovery ministries, such as GriefShare and Celebrate Recovery.

Our LifeHope team comes alongside folks in economic hardship to connect them with community and necessary resources. Our LifeHope Childcare Center gives single mothers the opportunity to advance their education and career goals while knowing their children are being loved and well cared for, and the Disaster Response team trains for and stays ready to provide emergency assistance in the wake of natural disasters. I am so grateful to be part of a staff and volunteer community so willing to care for those in need.

Similarly the Oviedo Counseling Clinic serves as an extension of our Care and Counseling ministry not only to Northland congregants but also to the greater Orlando community. In fact, we were pleased to learn from Sarah Baker, our director of counseling ministries, that the counselors at the Oviedo Counseling Clinic provided 13,260 reduced-fee face-to-face counseling hours during the course of our master of arts in counseling program. That is a staggering number of hours. To put that into perspective, a calendar year contains 8,760 hours. That means counseling clients could have been seen around the clock for over an entire year and a half! It nearly brings me to tears knowing those hours represent faces — married couples longing for healing and restoration, men and women recovering from addiction, teenagers wrestling with depression and anxiety, and more. The list goes on and on.

Those are people you helped care for, Northland! If you’ve ever wondered where your tithes and offerings go, here is just one example. So for that, let me take the opportunity to say thank you, as a fellow Northlander, staff member and graduate of the master of arts in counseling program at RTS. You’ve made all that ministry possible, and your ongoing investment makes the sort of Kingdom impact that will echo into eternity.

All that said, and if I may, here’s what I request. Of course, please continue to pray and give, as you have been, so the ministries at Northland can continue to thrive. But also take a few minutes and go to oviedocounseling.com to learn more about the counseling services offered at the Oviedo Counseling Clinic. If you or someone you care about is in need of counseling, please remember the partnership between Northland and the Oviedo Counseling Clinic, and consider availing yourself of that excellent resource.

Hear from a few of the MAC 2018 graduates.

 

“Working at OCC has been an amazing experience. I’ve been privileged to work with clients from incredibly varied walks of life and blessed to play a small part in their healing. I’m so appreciative of the experience I have gained here!”

– Jeremy Morrison, who plans to stay in his hometown of Titusville and explore opportunities to provide much-needed counseling to the economically underprivileged

 

“Working in the Oviedo Counseling Clinic has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences of my life! The support and community of the counseling interns as they help one another makes the OCC a beautiful place of growth and love. Getting to hear each client’s story and being a part of their journey in counseling is an honor and isn’t something to be taken lightly. The OCC is special because they offer need-based counseling for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it, and many of my clients would not have been able to receive help without the Reduced Fee Program. It truly has been an honor and a blessing to have served there!”

– Samantha Kinkopf, a Winter Park resident who plans to continue counseling in a private-practice setting in Central Florida


“What I learned as I settled in to my time in the program is just how much Northland Church is woven into the clinical experience of my counselor education at RTS. Some of the ways I experienced Northland’s presence in my education, specifically, were through serving in the GriefShare ministry and through an invitation to provide crisis counseling to people Northland sheltered after being displaced by Hurricane Irma. The men and women I met through those experiences helped shape how I am present in both my own suffering and others’ suffering, and also gave me hope for the ministry of the local church in the community. Thank you, Northland, for your support and partnership to make this education possible for me and my classmates!”

– Kim Mascher, who plans to stay in Florida and join Journeys Counseling Center in Maitland