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First Churches in Lyman Hall, Sunday October 30, 2016 12:30-3:00

All of our congregations include people who have been touched by opioid addiction, but often their stories remain hidden. People fear they will be judged rather than supported and helped. Join with clergy and laity of other faith communities on Oct. 30, as we discuss strategies for breaking the silence, hear from people who have been helped, and learn from congregations that are working to strengthen the faith and health of all. Bring a bag lunch. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

This program is intended to increase the love we give to members of our own congregations. The goal is to strengthen the care our faith communities offer to congregants affected by the opioid crisis.

There are very few faith communities in our region that do not include families and individuals who are impacted by opioid addiction. Because of the stigma surrounding addiction, these families typically suffer in silence. Often the pastor and congregants don’t know what’s happening until there is a fatal overdose. Sometimes folk do know, but they’re afraid to broach a taboo subject, and so the families are left alone.

The event will offer both interaction and inspiration. Our main speakers are two working pastors, Rev. Charles Taylor of the United Church of Ware, MA and Rev. Mike Clark, Recovery Outreach Minister, Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church. They will tell us about the brave and creative steps they and their congregations are taking to help and heal members and neighbors who are affected.. But all of us will be speaking, connecting with each other, sharing ideas and lifting up what we are already doing in our own faith communities.

The program will take place on Sunday, October 30, 12:30-3 pm at First Churches of Northampton, 129 Main Street, Northampton. It is meant for both clergy and laity. We welcome as many people as want to come from each congregation, because it will take the love and concern of many to break the silence and alter the culture of shame, blame and denial that makes it so hard for us to take care of our own. Several nonprofits that work on this issue will staff tables to make their material available.

For more info: 413-584-9392
cosponsored by Hampshire HOPE

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