Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Your Diocesan Recovery Ministry committee invites you to recognize the role of the church in ministering to those who have been affected by the disease of addiction. September is National Recovery Month. It is designated as a time to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.
The church can play a critical healing role in reaching out to those whose lives have been afflicted by the disease of addiction by offering welcome, understanding, compassion, and healing. Now more than ever we need to proclaim the healing and mercy found in the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering. As you may be aware, the opioid crisis is impacting every demographic of our population. Overdoses are now the leading cause of death amongst the young and middle aged.
In addition, we cannot forget that alcoholism is still the leading form of addiction. Not only does alcoholism result in major impairment to a healthy life, the incidence of deaths related to alcohol related diseases (cirrhosis and liver cancer) has been on an ever increasing trajectory.
Addiction is a complex disease. Just as it impacts the physical, mental and social dimensions of life, it has a major adverse impact on the spiritual life. A healthy spiritual life is key to successful recovery. Therefore, we urge you to speak with your congregation during the month of September about the disease of addiction, recovery, and the healing ministry of the Church.
It may interest you to know that the 12-step programs have their foundation in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Sam Shoemaker of Calvary Episcopal Church in NYC, was the spiritual adviser to Bill Wilson. He worked with Bill W. on developing A.A.’s 12-Step Program. The theology of the 12-Step program is grounded in our faith tradition. While the 12-Step program is often thought of as only applicable for those who suffer from one of the many forms of addiction, it offers a profoundly spiritual program for all.
You are encouraged to designate one Sunday in September to preach about addiction, recovery, and the mercy to be found in the Christian faith. You may also wish to offer an education forum or participate in your local county’s Project Purple activities. For those who wish, we have linked templates of two 12 Step Recovery Eucharist services for your consideration.
- · The Recovery Ministry of the Episcopal Church service which uses Prayer C
- A service which incorporates elements of the Kenyan Eucharist and was created by Fr. John Schaeffer for use at the 12 Step services at St. Mary Anne’s.
- A 12 Step Intercession for use at a prayer service.
Finally we would like to share information from our Province III task force:
You are invited you to read: A Compassionate Response: A Statement in Opioids prepared by the Task Force of Province III of The Episcopal Church. This statement focuses on how as faith communities we can provide belonging, community connection, listening, prayer, comfort, care, worship opportunities, and other resources for those facing the disease of addiction. The General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Austin in early July passed C037, a “Call to Respond to the Opioid Epidemic.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to any of us that are listed at the end of this letter.
Your Diocese of Easton Recovery Ministry Committee:
The Rev. Kevin M. Cross M.S.W., Chaplain Eugene Drayton, Suzanne Fisher L.C.P.C., Jim Kamihatchi, Louise Kamihatchi, The Rev. Henry Sabbetti, The Rev. John Schaeffer,