The official 2019 “Day of Hope: Encouraging Prevention and Recovery” is Sunday, September 15. But a Day of Hope that encourages prevention and recovery can happen any Sunday—maybe several Sundays—throughout the year.
A Day of Hope is a day when we intentionally lift up resources, offer a time of consolation, and share stories of recovery. It is a day to educate and to intentionally work to break down stigma and shame. It is a time to proclaim support and to think about how we walk alongside people into new life.
Please plan to participate. If not this Sunday, then plan another Sunday to lift up prayers, have conversations, and develop action plans around how your faith community can become a part of helping our people and our communities become a resource and support for recovery.
As United Methodists our official statement on Alcohol and Other Drugs reads:
“We affirm our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons. We support abstinence from the use of any illegal drugs.
Since the use of illegal drugs, as well as illegal and problematic use of alcohol, is a major factor in crime, disease, death, and family dysfunction, we support educational programs as well as other prevention strategies encouraging abstinence from illegal drug use and, with regard to those who choose to consume alcoholic beverages, judicious use with deliberate and intentional restraint, with Scripture as a guide.
[…] We commit ourselves to assisting those who suffer from abuse or dependence, and their families, in finding freedom through Jesus Christ and in finding good opportunities for treatment, for ongoing counseling, and for reintegration into society.” (Paragraph 162 (L) The Book of Discipline 2016, page 124-125)
My ongoing prayer is that Days of Hope will begin and/or continue some solution-oriented discussions in every congregation, creating a climate of support for families and individuals. My hope is that these discussions lead to actions that seek to support those who are in recovery and sustained abstinence from substances of abuse.
My hope is that in raising our levels of awareness and education we will discover that we can do something to support our youth, assisting them to live drug-free lives.
As a people of faith, we are to offer compassion for those suffering, ministries of healing for those who are sick, and hospitality within our sanctuaries for those seeking comfort and hope. The Substance Abuse Prevention agencies across the state of West Virginia stand ready to assist you and your faith community with resources, information and workshops to assist all of us in creating a true day of hope.
I invite you into serious discussion in your church and community about actions that can be taken as we share in this Day of Hope.
Sandra Steiner Ball
The West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
Download the 2019 Day of Hope Materials below: