Breakfast focuses on praying for community

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Facing the same addition, depression and suicide epidemics gripping many parts of the nation, Alabaster and Compact 2020 leaders are turning to the faith community to help break the cycle.

“Jesus is going to be the ultimate answer to this,” said Westwood Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dr. Kenneth Bruce. “We are going to have to lock arms and try to do something about this together. Let’s ask God to make us the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Bruce was one of several local pastors, city leaders and Compact 2020 representatives who gathered at Alabaster City Hall on the morning of Nov. 8 for a prayer breakfast aimed at connecting Compact 2020 with the city’s faith community.

Compact 2020 is a countywide initiative aimed at combating substance abuse issues among local residents, particularly teens, and operates prevention teams in several cities in the county. The organization seeks to intervene and provide help to individuals who are on paths to self-destruction in a way law enforcement agencies alone can not, said Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force Commander and Compact 2020 leader Clay Hammac.

“We have students right here in Alabaster and across Shelby County who are battling substance addiction every day. Our intent (with Compact 2020) is to make sure we’re getting out in front of our students, our youth and adolescents,” Hammac said. “We are not going to arrest our way out of this epidemic, and we are not going to legislate our way out of this epidemic. It’s going to take a communitywide partnership, and we’ve got to be equipped with a commitment from our community leaders.”

The breakfast featured prayers led by pastors Brandon Matthews of Cultivate Church, Derrick Morrissette of Mind of Christ International and Bruce.

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon and Compact 2020 Prevention Director Carol Williams encouraged the pastors at the event to become involved in Alabaster’s prevention team, which will meet again on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 11 a.m. at Alabaster City Hall.

“We are here today to talk about things that are really important to our community and have a time of prayer for the things that are going on in our city,” Handlon said. “The mental health epidemic and the opioid epidemic, they feed off each other. I believe while we are being the hands and feed of Jesus, we’ve got to get dirty and we’ve got get involved to truly make a difference.”