In 2005, TRUST embarked on a partnership with the Johnson Institute of the Rush Center in Austin, Texas using an approach called Faith Partners to bring congregations together to learn how to support people in recovery from chemical dependency. Bethlehem Lutheran, Mayflower UCC and Richfield United Methodist have all participated in the training and maintain active programs. Read below for information from the Mayflower team.
Recovery Ministry — is it for your church?
In 2003, a few of us from Mayflower Church, having learned of the existence of a recovery ministry at House of Hope Church in St. Paul and Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, decided to start a recovery ministry at Mayflower. Addiction is a disease without a cure, but recovery can be maintained with spiritual practice and peer support. What better place that one’s own church to feel supported in recovery? We called our team of six Mayflower Faith Partners, after the organization that provided our initial training, but changed our name to Mayflower Addiction Recovery Support (MARS) two years ago, to more clearly represent who we are. Our current active membership is 16. We meet the first Monday of the month, from October-June to support one another, to plan education initiatives for our youth and families and to plan the annual Recovery Sunday — a day devoted to the subject of addiction and recovery, featuring a main preacher, education hour speaker, and a speaker for the youth. Most of our MARS members attend a 12-step meeting regularly; and the collective wisdom of people from traditions of AA, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, SAA and OA provides a rich resource for our congregation. You can read more about this ministry on the Mayflower web site: Mayflowermpls.org, under Caring & Support.
What does a recovery ministry do for a church?
In a survey of our congregation in 2004, and again in 2010, 66 percent said they, a family member or friend were involved with addiction and/or recovery. A recovery ministry opens the door to honest communication and keeps it open. It is another way for a church to be inclusive and welcoming. It is an important way to minister to people struggling with a difficult (cunning, baffling and powerful) disease. Whole families suffer when one of its members is addicted. Whole families can get well when recovery is embraced. When alcohol and drug abuse becomes an acceptable topic for discussion, there is opportunity to prevent the disease from happening in some individuals. The elephant in the room is replaced by positive messages about prevention and recovery.
MARS is willing to mentor other churches interested in starting a recovery ministry. In the beginning, we benefited from the help of other active ministries. A little help can go a long way.
Cathy Brown, facilitator
Mayflower Addiction Recovery Support
Mayflower Community Congregational Church
106 E. Diamond Lake Road
Minneapolis, MN 55419