A Faithful Conversation

about the

Substance Use Disorder


Week 2: This week's interview is with a wonderfully strong and honest young woman named Ann Hammond from Clarksburg, WV. Ann is recovering from substance abuse disorder and has an amazing story to tell. She is currently working for HELP 4 WV the 24-hour helpline that works to get substance abuse disorder sufferers into rehabilitation. Ann grew up in United Methodist Temple in Clarksburg and is now back in the church healthy and very active.

Click here to download the discussion questions prepared by Barry Steiner Ball to use with the Week 2 video.

Week 1:  As you view the video this week for the “What If” Lenten focus, you will discover that as a teenager, I enabled behavior that was not healthy for my brother.  Later in his life, the multiplication of continued unhealthy choices led to substance use disorder particularly in relation to use of alcohol. 

I often wonder… What if I had been more concerned with influencing my brother’s choices toward a more healthy direction rather than being concerned with “keeping him out of trouble?”  What if conversations about substance use disorder, alcoholism, and addiction had taken place with more frequency in my communities or church as I was growing up?   Would that have made a difference for me and my brother growing up? 

What if conversations about substance use disorder, alcoholism, and addiction would take place with more frequency in our communities and churches so that youth, teens, and adults were more educated and more focused on interrupting the cycle of addiction?  What if we enabled the sharing of stories in terms of how addiction has affected families as well as share the stories of transformation in regard to addiction so that people know they are not alone and that there is hope?  What if  …    

Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball

Click here to download the above statement and questions for small group discussion.

What IF? Bulletin Inserts have been prepared to use during the season of Lent as a guide for prayerful consideration of how your faith community will address the opioid crisis.  

7 weeks of inserts and videos are provided beginning with February 11 (the Sunday before Ash Wednesday) and going through Palm Sunday.

Rev. Dr. Barry Steiner Ball has provided both an Educational and Devotional piece for each week in Lent, as well as a video to use in small group studies or for individual reflection.  The bulletin inserts are laid out two per page. The videos are on YouTube and will be added each week. 

Week 1 (February 11)            An interview with Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball (below)

Week 2 (February 18).          An interview with a lay person in recovery.

Week 3 (February 25)           An interview with Melissa White

                                                  who is raising her granddaughter

Week 4 (March 4)                  An interview with Matt and Beth Johnson

                                                  about foster adoption.

Week 5 (March 11)                 An interview with Rev. Chip Bennett about

                                                  "The Meeting Place" in Point Pleasant, WV.         

Week 6 (March 18)                TBD

Week 7 (March 25)

Full 7 weeks

Large print (full page)

How is your church responding to the opioid crisis?  Share your faith community's story by sending an email to:  wvumc@wvumc.org

Copies of the Spiritual Formation booklet, Fast. Pray. Listen. Respond.  have been mailed to each charge.  

Additional copies of the Spiritual Formation booklet are available from your District Superintendent.  

You may also choose to download a pdf of the Spiritual Formation Booklet by following this link.


What if each clergy and layperson in the West Virginia Conference made time to intentionally fast, pray, listen and respond to God’s call on our lives, individually and as the church?

What if we intentionally entered into these spiritual practices to offer God’s love, grace and healing power to those being affected by the opioid epidemic?

What if we did this over the Lenten season in order to seek God’s direction for how we as individuals and congregations can respond to this crisis in a way that offers life?

There is no reason not to do this!  Financially, It costs nothing.

To enter into this process does not require another night out for meetings. 

What does this require of us?  It requires that each Christian set aside time to listen for God’s call on each of our lives.

What if – in this upcoming Lenten season – we really listened and responded?  We might just be a part of God’s life-giving resurrection to a person, a family, a community, a world!

To share this with your church family, download the What If? Bulletin insert to introduce the series to your congregation.


This Lent: journey with others across the West Virginia Conference as we explore a faithful response to the substance use disorder crisis through the spiritual disciplines of: Fast.  Pray.  Listen.  Respond.

The Laity of the West Virginia Conference have prepared a daily devotional to use during Lent.  Click here to read each day's message, or sign up below to receive via email.

Additional Resources:

UMC Discipleship Lenten Series: Rehab.  Click here for worship plans, prayers, graphic elements and other resources to use from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

Coming soon.    Rev. Barry Steiner Ball is traveling across the conference, speaking with laity and clergy on the frontlines of the opioid crisis.  Barry’s video interviews will be available for individuals or for small group study.  


West Virginia Day of Hope:  Miracles Happen

The 2017 Day of Hope: A Celebration of Prevention and Recovery is a day when we can lift up resources, offer a timeofconsolation, and share stories of recovery.   Please plan 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.

This past year, I have helped co-chair a committee of the West Virginia Council of Churches which facilitated a series of listening events on substance use disorder across the state of West Virginia. Let me share a little of what was discovered.  “The listening events were intense, often personal, and a calling for faith communities to become places of healing, both within and outside our walls.  To make that happen, faith communities need to have accurate information, opportunities for sharing helpful and accurate information, and a sense of the hope that we can offer to families and persons in the midst of their suffering.” * On May 25, over 300 clergy persons from a wide variety of denominations gathered for a day on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan to learn, share, and to begin to make plans for how we, as faith communities can work together to stem the tide of addiction and to find ways to help those affected by addiction.

As United Methodist’s,

L) Alcohol and Other Drugs- 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 on-going hope is that this Day of Hope will begin and/or continue some solution-oriented discussions in every congregation that will create a climate of support for families and individuals.  My hope is that these discussions will 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 that we will see that we can do something to support our youth and assist them in active ways to live drug-free lives.

I join other leaders of faith within the West Virginia Council of Churches and beyond, in the hope and prayer that this day, annually observed, will make a difference throughout the Mountain State.  Faith communities can add prayers, sermons or other ideas to their services, but our hope is this day will be a yearly reminder and encouragement to continue to work to lower substance use disorder in West Virginia throughout the year…beyond the Day of Hope.

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 hope you will invite some serious discussion in your church and community about actions that can be taken as we share in this Day of Hope.


Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball