Mental Wellness

Bethany’s Mental Wellness Ministry is a collection of partnerships in the Austin community coupled with a compassionate and qualified team of church members who care. Our Mental Wellness partnerships include:

  • Austin Wellness
  • New Life Institute
  • Northwest Counseling and Wellness Center
  • Center for Relational Care
  • Integral Care
  • New Milestones Foundation
  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Counseling Services

Bethany’s Mental Wellness Vision Team is a dynamic group of volunteers who want to support YOU. Meet them!

Bethany UMC Mental Wellness Team

Meet our Mental Wellness Vision Team!

The men and women below have a passion and interest in helping those with mental illness and their loved ones. Their various expertise and background, coupled with deep faith, make them excellent resources for your support. To connect with any member of this team personally, send an email to either Pastor Wynn Stenftenagel or Erin Temple, Director of Care Ministries. We will be so happy to introduce you!

Marnee Loftin is a retired school psychologist who spent 35 years working in clinical, research, and school settings. Her special interests are children and adolescents with an emphasis on managing challenging behaviors, helping secure the best education possible in schools, and reminding parents that we are all doing a really good job at hard tasks! Marnee serves our church’s Special Needs and Mental Wellness ministries, and in former congregations has been involved in Divorce Recovery and a ministry helping children deal with divorce in their families. Connect with her if you or your family want support!

Pat Loftin retired after 40 years working in state agency programs for persons with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. He is a former Licensed Professional Counselor and has personally experienced the stress of mental illness with a close family member. Pat’s guiding scripture is Matthew 25: 35-40 because of its emphasis on serving those whom society has marginalized. Fittingly, then, the ministries at Bethany that he has been involved in are Special Needs, Benevolence, Fresh Food for All, Healing the Racial Divide, Mobility Carts, and Mental Wellness. Pat’s goal on our team is to connect people to available resource systems that address their mental wellness needs. Let him know if you are looking for a certain kind of resource!

Sonya Macfarlane has been a member of Bethany for about a year and was a visitor for several years before that. Mental wellness has always been a big part of Sonya's life through personal experiences. With the support of her husband and two daughters, Sonya decided to pursue a graduate degree in counseling at St. Edwards University where she is in her third semester.

Susie Petersen is the Director of House of Friends, a Bethany dementia care program that provides a joy-filled day of socialization for persons with dementia and a respite for family caregivers. She has served on Bethany’s Care Ministries team since 1997, taught dementia classes and led dementia workshops, and volunteered in a number of other ministries over her 34 years as a Bethany member. As a caregiver and advocate for her aging parents and her mentally ill sibling over a 25-year period, Susie has hands-on experience and expertise in dementia care, caregiving, mental illness, nursing care, and senior health and wellness. She is a passionate healthcare advocate for fragile and vulnerable adults and youth. Let her know if you would like a listening ear, encouraging support, or tools to care for your aging loved one.

Pastor Wynn Stenftenagel, Executive Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Bethany, has a B.S. Degree in Psychology with a focus on child and adolescent development. She has worked with family services in a mental health clinic for minors, led and taught children with ADHD, and worked with families who have disabled children. She is also trained and experienced in hospice and grief work and earned an honorarium for excellence in pastoral care while in seminary. Pastor Wynn would love to offer you pastoral support and/or a meaningful connection to one of our many Bethany mental wellness partnerships. Send her an email!

Erin Temple is Director of Care Ministries at Bethany and oversees our church’s Life Recovery and ReWYRE (Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends) ministries. She is particularly interested in how addiction and divorce affect individuals’ mental health and the wellbeing of their families. In working in youth ministry, adult discipleship, and care ministry over the years ~ not to mention navigating her own life! ~ she has learned the power of leaning on God’s power in times of suffering, confusion, and doubt. Let her know if you’d like to talk about where God might be in your struggles.

Richard Wilcox, PhD, is Professor Emeritus in Neuropharmacology at the College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin. Rich’s expertise in neurological and psychiatric diseases and the medications used to treat them makes him an excellent resource for information about disorders and medications to become a more well-informed patient for medical care. In addition to his service on the Mental Wellness Vision Team, Rich is involved in Bethany ministries for music, missions, and health care, in particular Samaritan Health Ministries, a local clinic for the uninsured. For a wealth of information, expertise, and spiritual encouragement, get in touch with Rich.