Trumbull pastors taking icy plunge to support mental health

Photo of Amanda Cuda
Rev. Tim Hare and Rev. Todd Shipley participate in a plunge on March 17, 2021 at Pinewood Lake in Trumbull. Hare and Shipley planned to do another plunge on March 19, 2022. Hare is pastor at the Trumbull Congregational Church and Shipley is pastor at Unity Hill United Church of Christ.

Rev. Tim Hare and Rev. Todd Shipley participate in a plunge on March 17, 2021 at Pinewood Lake in Trumbull. Hare and Shipley planned to do another plunge on March 19, 2022. Hare is pastor at the Trumbull Congregational Church and Shipley is pastor at Unity Hill United Church of Christ.

Contributed

TRUMBULL — The Rev. Tim Hare knows that the past two years have taken a heavy mental toll on a lot of people.

“Everybody I know is feeling a bit beat up and depleted and just kind of emotionally drained, from the whole stretch with (the COVID-19 pandemic),” said Hare, pastor of Trumbull Congregational Church. “Then, beyond that, I know that depression (and anxiety) is on the rise.”

He and fellow pastor, the Rev. Todd Shipley of Unity Hill United Church of Christ, wanted to do something to help those who were suffering. And they also wanted to boost everyone’s mood just a little bit.

That’s why, at 11 a.m. Saturday, the two will submerge themselves into the frigid waters of Pinewood Lake in Trumbull.

They are calling the event the St. Paddy’s Day Pastors’ Plunge, and all proceeds raised through the event will benefit My Friend Abby, a Trumbull-based group that helps improve mental and emotional health.

Hare said he and Shipley picked the program as the plunge beneficiary because its mission seems timely.

“Conversations about mental health happen every day in my life now,” he said. “There’s just this sense that people are struggling.”

This isn’t the pastors’ first time plunging for a cause. Last year, Hare and Shipley did a plunge into Pinewood Lake on St. Patrick’s Day. Together, they raised about $800, with Hare donating some to his church’s ministries and Shipley donating some to the Trumbull food pantry.

“We did it to kind of break up COVID and to add a little fun to the time, while also raising a little money,” Hare said of last year’s plunge.

The pastors hope to raise more money this year, and to expand next year into an event where others can join them in the plunge.

“We just want people to know that there are pastors and churches that care how people are doing,” Hare said.

The plunge will be livestreamed Saturday at Facebook.com/trumbullcc. To donate to the plunge, visit www.myfriendabby.org.