Day of Hope: The beginning, not the end

By Barry Steiner Ball

September 16 has been set aside by the West Virginia Council of Churches as a Day of Hope in the face of the opioid epidemic. There are resources on the Council’s web page for use during worship or Bible Study to help each and every church remember that we are not helpless in this epidemic, we possess the power and hope to end this epidemic.

The Day of Hope is not the end of our responsibility though. It is a starting place.

Hope does not grow by keeping it a secret. Hope grows and epidemics end by Christians sharing their hope with those who have no hope. For hope to spread we must all spread out ourselves and meet the very people who have no hope.

Who are these people?

They are the parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents and friends of the those who are suffering from substance use disorder. They are persons who are trying to stay sober one day at a time. They are the children of parents who cannot properly care for their family because their addiction is just too strong. In West Virginia these persons are everywhere…we just have to look around and take the risk of building a relationship.

During this past year, the West Virginia Annual Conference has seen some creative new ministries begin in sharing the hope of Christ. If you would like some help discerning God’s call on your church’s ministry, I would be happy to help, just email me and we can begin spreading the hope (

If your congregation has started a new ministry, let us know so we can use it as an example for other churches. This is the beauty of being UNITED Methodist, we are in this together and our ability to spread the hope of Christ is only multiplied.

If September 16 has slipped up on you and it is too late to add these resources to this week’s worship service, take time right now to plan another day to use the resources. It is much more important to get started than to be “calendar correct!”