Discussion Group – Marietta Ga, April 20

April 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Scheduled Events

Please accept this invitation to attend a talk Wednesday, April 20 by Jeff Schultz, a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, at Mt. Zion UMC Chapel, in Marietta. Mr. Schultz will speak about his sons recovery from addiction/alcoholism, and the problems it has meant for the family. The talk is at 6:15 P.M., and Mt. Zion UMC is located at 1770 Johnson Ferry Rd. in Marietta GA.

Fundraising Dinner – April 15th

March 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Scheduled Events

Please join Mr. Jack Turner and area Faith Partners Ministry teams April 15th for an evening of great food and stories of God’s Transforming Power. The dinner will be held in Oklahoma City. Faith Partners Invitation April 15th, https://drive.google.com/drive/my-drive

Faith Partners Charity Dinner November 13th

October 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Archives

As many of us have personally experienced, alcohol, drugs and other addictions can wreak havoc on our families and communities, affecting individuals of every faith, race, culture, and income level. Faith Partners has responded since 1995 offering clergy and lay leaders useful strategies and tools, educational materials, and training for a team ministry to serve the needs of the whole congregation. Faith Partners ministries work directly to connect both faith and recovery communities. Please join us for a Charity Dinner in support of the National Faith Partners Ministry on November 13th at St. Luke’s UMC in Oklahoma City.

Check out the invitation here:  FaithPartners_Invite_Nov13_Web

Compassionate Imperfection

March 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Success Stories

“Spirituality has to do with the reality of the here and now, with living humanly as one is, with the very real, very agonizing, “passions of the soul.” Spirituality involves learning how to live with imperfection.” – Ernest Kurtz

The other night, I called a friend in the program to ask how they were doing. I had been thinking about them for several days, since they told me that they had to put their 8 year old cat down over the weekend. The cat suffered from an enlarged tumor, and they were told by the veterinarian that there was nothing more that could be done for the poor animal.

It was an awkward conversation, at least to start. I asked how they were doing under the circumstances, and they came back with “oh, alright, I guess. Its been a rough couple of days, and I break down and cry when I think about him. I mean, I’ve had that cat longer than my marriage, and it just seems too quick. I really miss him”

At that they started sobbing. I told them that was ok since heart felt grief is so impossibly difficult.

They went on, “You know, its not like I feel like drinking or anything like that, but I can’t get it out of my mind. I keep repeating it over and over. I remember all the good times we had. I remember when I adopted him, and he was in a little cage, by himself just looking for a home. I remember all of his little rituals about feeding, and drinking water out of the sink, and how he’d jump up into my lap whenever I was tired from work. I guess I must be too overly sensitive to be a good pet owner.”

I replied that they were a terrific pet owner – caring, compassionate, concerned, and very loving. I think you can pretty much gauge the quality of a pet owner by how much they grieve when the pet is taken away. It turns out that we talked for over an hour, sharing experiences and insights, but with me just listening for much of the time. When it was time to go, they thanked me for the call and expressed appreciation for thinking of them so much. I explained that in spite of not knowing precisely what to say in such situations, I was still, in some small way, very passionate about reaching out to anyone going through what they were going through. And I actually was quite honored to be there when they cried over their loss. Honest displays of emotion are meant to be honored, no matter how painful and difficult they appear to be on the surface.

Upon hanging up, I thought about our exchange. I realized that we are often confronted with small challenges, Like talking to someone who is hurting, but whatever compassion we enter into it with, far exceeds the imperfection with which we carry it out.

Ministry Initiation – Essential Questions

January 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Teams

Upon the start up in developing our Faith Partners ministry there was an all important initial phase where we tried to create support and consensus for the new project by dialoging with congregants. Much discussion centered on the extent of the problem and what we, as a church, could do about it. Sometimes difficult and complex, and often straight forward and innocuous, questions always spurred discussion. Here are a few of those most frequently encountered.

What part should the church play in dealing with issues of alcoholism and addiction?

My knowledge of Scripture is imperfect, but I do know that Mark’s Gospel, verse 12:32 talks of “loving your neighbor as yourself.” This is also shared in Matthew’s Gospel, verse 22:39-40, where it says that “on these two Commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Clearly, I should treat those in my community who have succumbed to addictive disorders as I would treat a family member…or even myself.  Further, Psalm 41:2-4 says “the Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.” I would think that we all have responsibility for assertively restoring those suffering for addictive disorders to full health.

 Who would want to try to tackle difficult addiction and alcoholism issues for others?

For some, it involves an expression of gratitude as much as compassion, for there is much to be thankful for in their own personal recovery. Besides, none would be here without SECOND CHANCES.” Those who are deeply involved with their addiction and alcoholism are barely living. In recovery, we see them thrive.

What role does education play?

Education is an important component in breaking the stigma of addiction and substance abuse. It is far too easy to be scared or ashamed of anything that you don’t understand. Creating any ministry program should always include an educational aspect, not just to impart information but to open a dialog as well.

What role does our faith conviction play?

Of course, faith convictions vary, not just interdenominationally, but within the same denomination. Its really quite personal. For me, the answer lay in exploring the divine power present in the Christ. From my reading of Scripture, I gleaned that Jesus was inviting the world to allow the essence of God to be born in them. Where some saw the Gospel message as something to be literalized, I felt convinced that it was meant to be lived. At one time, I even suggested that how could one worship the great “I am,” except be having the courage to be the self God created each of us to be. Each of us – even in our addiction and alcoholism – is called so deeply into life, into love, and into being that he or she can say with Christ-like integrity, I AM!  

 Isn’t there a stigma associated with alcoholism? What message(s) will you convey?

You will know a new freedom- Not weighed down by the shackles of secrets, anyone can feel a relief lifted off their shoulders as they come to terms with who they really are.

You can be honest with yourself and others- It’s exhausting trying to be something we’re not. Being true to ourselves means living our truth.

You will gain inner peace- Admissions of familiarity with alcohol and substance abuse issues iis one more secret that can’t keep anyone sick anymore once its released.

If not us, then who?- It’s easy to sit around and say, ok great idea, I’m sure someone will do it. Sometimes we have to come out of our comfort zone and take action to make a change. Just assuming someone else wil do it doesn’t make an impact. Why not you? Why not now?

You will inspire others- You could literally save a life. By sharing with others who are suffering, you may inspire a change in them. We can help plant the seeds of change.

We are all entrusted with the responsibility to do whatever we can to stop the shaming and live in the light.

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