Free addiction training to help clergy help families

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Helping faith leaders help their congregations recognize and fight addiction is at the heart of a continuing series of forums in Savannah hosted by the Interfaith Addiction & Recovery Coalition.

Earlier this year, the free training forum for clergy was titled, “Underage and under the influence.” This week’s second installment is called “Who you gonna call?” Coalition Co-Chair Janis Ellington says it will put resource lists into the hands of rabbis, imams, and pastors.

“That’s our role. The coalition has put together a resource guide for our participants that’s going to have a good cross-section of outpatient services, in-patient services, detox services, crisis services, private practice therapists,” Ellington said.

The resources provided at the no-cost training forum will guide clergy and laymen alike to the professionals who can help with any addiction, drugs, alcohol and even gambling. They will also find out how to provide support for families impacted by the opioid crisis and more.

Reverend Steve Hilgeman, the Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on Wilmington Island, says the forums can help clergy help those who might believe faith alone can keep addiction at bay.

“It’s a fallacy to believe that just because someone is a walking talking Christian, or a good Jew, or an outstanding Muslim person, it’s a fallacy to believe that they’re never going to turn to something when they’re in the depths of despair or loneliness, or they’re crying for help,” Hilgeman said, adding he’s eager to attend his first forum.

The forum, “Who you gonna call? What faith leaders need to know about addiction and recovery resources in our community,” is set for Thursday, August 22, 2019, at the ConneXion Church at Skidaway Road and DeRenne Avenue. It’s free and lunch will be provided. The forum is scheduled from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

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