Program aims to educate faith community about addiction

PELHAM – Area ministers and those actively involved in ministry are invited to attend a program hosted by Compact 2020 called Equipping the Faith Community – The Science Behind Addiction on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the First Baptist Church of Pelham annex building.

Compact 2020 is partnering with Bradford Health Services to host the event. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it is free to attend. Lunch will be provided by Bradford Health Services.

Compact 2020 Director Alan Miller said the program will educate the faith community about the science behind addiction, codependency, how to minister to people with addiction and to their families and providing resources for professional help. Miller said the idea for the program was inspired by a conversation he had with a local pastor.

“I was talking to Adam Robinson, the pastor of Double Oak Community Church, about the mission of Compact 2020 and about how we’re seeing widespread substance abuse among youth. He said he would like to learn more to be able to better minister to those youth and their families. That’s where the idea came from.”

The event will feature two guest speakers, Jeremy Rakes and Tim Hilton. Miller said both men are recovering addicts.

“I believe their perspectives will be really valuable to the faith community,” Miller said.

Miller said attendees will learn how addiction impacts the brain and how families and loved ones often end up enabling those with an addiction.

“Family members, because they love the person, often times end up enabling it to happen because they just don’t know what to do,” Miller said.

Addiction is most often fueled by anxiety and hopelessness, and Miller believes there’s an opportunity for faith communities to mobilize and engage with addicts.

“These people are trying to find their satisfaction in the world and the faith community can show them that’s not where their happiness has to come from,” Miller said.

The goal of the program is also to help remove the negative stigma associated with addiction.

“These people aren’t bad people,” Miller said. “These are people who are struggling and they need our help.”

Miller said there is no restriction on denomination or religion because “there are so many people touched by this problem.” The overall goal is to equip more people to address it.

Free parking is available in the main First Baptist Church of Pelham parking lot. The church is located at 2867 Pelham Parkway. The Annex is across the street, and a shuttle will be provided for attendees.

Although it is free, guests are asked to register for the event because seating is limited. Those who would like to attend can find out how to register by visiting the Compact 2020 Facebook page and clicking on the Equipping the Faith Community event link.