One woman’s vision of building a bridge to bring all faiths together for a common goal in Savannah is being realized.
Now the Interfaith Addiction and Recovery Coalition is a reality and the group is poised to help leaders of all faiths help those in their flocks deal with addiction.
It’s the brainchild of Carol Pine, who says she talked with her pastor about how they could help those who might be struggling or know someone who might be facing a battle.
“Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, Monks, they don’t get training in addiction and recovery in theological school,” Pine said. “And yet, here we are in a society where at least ten percent of the folks sitting in the pews or the chairs at a temple or a church are struggling with addiction.”
Trinity Lead Pastor Ben Gosden concedes his theological education did not spend a lot of time talking about dealing with addiction within congregations.
“At best we get training on how to care and how to listen. If anything, seminary helped me be a more empathetic person,” Gosden said, adding the tenants of Christianity compels his participation.
“It’s the essence of the Gospel, right? To, to share love and grace with people who are in need and we’re all in need of love and grace,” he said. “We just have different circumstances to which love and grace need to meet us and for some people, it’s in the very realm of addiction and recovery.”
The subject matter crosses all faiths and Pine says that’s why the new coalition of religious leaders wasn’t difficult to assemble.
“We have put together what I call a kitchen cabinet of faith leaders who are guiding the programming that we’re creating because we’re creating it for them and when I went and called on those folks, individually, face-to-face, I got a yes from everyone, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, Quaker, everyone said absolutely. I need to know more, I’m not educated,” Pine said.
She added that the group will host educational forums to help faith leaders help their flocks.
“Now they don’t have to become treatment counselors, but they need to be well informed enough and know what the resources are in the Savannah community and they are significant so that they can be of support to folks,” Pine said. “We are creating educational programming specifically for faith leaders and it has to do with the aspects of addiction and recovery that they need to know in order to be educated about the disease and be supportive of the folks in their congregation who need their help.”
The Interfaith Coalition Addiction and Recovery Coalition is set to host three educational forums this year, starting with “Underage and Under the Influence: Navigating Adolescent Addiction.”
The Forum will be held on May 1, from 11:30 – 1 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 51 Wilmington Island Road.
Two more Forums will follow in August and November.
A light lunch, as well as CEU credit, will be provided. They are also planning a Celebration of Recovery at the turn of the new year.
To reserve a place at the Forum for Faith leaders, call 912-661-2676 or email Susan Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Interfaith Addiction and Recovery Coalition Facebook page.