St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown hopes to raise awareness of mental health and increase community understanding of the problem of addiction.
The church is partnering with the Mental Health Association to host this weekend’s events in memory of 53 drug overdose victims from last year.
This year marks the church’s third annual observance on a Sunday, although the church has held various services over the years to highlight mental health and recovery before establishing an annual tradition.
“Addiction and recovery aren’t just someone else’s problem; it’s ours.” said Rev. Luke Fodor, Dean of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. “We wanted to make sure the community had this as part of its collective memory.”
Jessica Frederick, Minister for Children, Youth and Families, said the church will honor drug overdose victims by hanging prayer flags from the top of the bell tower at the church entrance on Main Street to mark this weekend’s events.
She said the strips of cloth were written in honor of those who died from a drug overdose within the past year.
“In each ribbon, we have prayers for those who have died and we also pray for the healing and wholeness of the recovery community. We have invited people to write their prayers on strips of cloth.”
Sunday redemption events
This year, the Sunday events for the Redemption of Saint Luke will begin on Saturday.
“We had an entire weekend of it,” Fodor said. “On Saturday, we’ll start with the Art Restoration Show.”
In partnership with the Mental Health Association, Fodor said the Art and Recovery chapter works on art throughout the year, which will be shown at Undercroft in St. Luke at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Food and refreshments will be served at the event, marking the church’s second year of artistic performance.
Some artwork from the show will also be incorporated into Saint Luke’s Sunday morning service.
Fodor said one of the pieces on display at the church will be a piece inspired by the Rage Workshop.
“Sometimes we suppress our anger” He said. “We don’t really deal with it and it pops up at inappropriate times.”
This year’s art therapy workshop allowed people to express their anger through art rather than action. The art will be displayed in front of the altar at St. Luke’s for Recovery Sunday.
As part of Sunday’s service, church bells will ring in memory of everyone who died from an overdose in the past year. The service will include lighting candles, reading the names or initials of drug overdose victims and special music performed by people recovering from addiction.
After service, there will be training available on Narcan. The art exhibit from Saturday’s event will also be available for the public to view before and after the Sunday service. In addition, Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits will be sold after the Sunday service.
“We have a joint venture with the Mental Health Association for Blessed Father Bernard Biscuits,” Fodor said. “It’s a social enterprise where we sell dog biscuits. People who have been out of the workforce due to recovery, addiction or mental health issues can return to the workforce slowly by learning some skills.”
Sunday’s church recovery reflects St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s commitment to the idea that mental health is inextricably linked to faith.
This service is an integral part of the life of faith. Frederick said.
Follow up on recovery
Sunday Recovery is one way that Fodor believes society ensures that victims of drug abuse and drug overdose are remembered and honored.
One point Fodor wants to emphasize throughout the weekend is the importance of communication.
“Contact is the opposite of addiction” He said. “A lot of times, people feel disconnected, usually from themselves first and then society, so they start using different substances to deal with the pain. I think that’s true for all of us, whether it’s caffeine in the morning or whatever. We all have some kind of substance use. chemicals to help us normalize our lives.”
St. will try Luke’s Recovery Sunday De-stigmatizing people with addiction and mental health.
Fodor said society’s fear of people with mental illness or substance abuse can lead to them being judged or labeled as “Strangers”.
“I hope people will see that this is something we can take concrete steps by changing our minds,” he said. He said. “The mentality we use is often part of the problem. I hope that through this kind of collective action we will begin to realize that we cannot make them others, but we realize that we are all part of the same cause.”
While Fodor acknowledged that the problem of mental health and substance abuse will not be solved “Overnight,” He believes that society can take steps to solve it by working together and empathizing with those who struggle with addiction.
Fodor said “real healing” It happens that people sympathize with each other and work together to solve problems in society.
Faith and healing
Fodor believes that the work of the mental health organization represents concepts of resurrection and renewal.
“Souls that seemed dead come back to life,” He said.
Frederick said that the church’s interactions with people with mental health and substance abuse difficulties should reflect the biblical example of Jesus.
“Jesus was always spending time with people that others wanted to overlook,” She said. “It’s a key component of our faith to see people as people. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what mistakes you made or how you were hurt. We all carry wounds and we are all in some form of healing. That’s how Jesus saw people and interacted with them.”
Fodor explained that one of the main ways to successfully navigate the battle of addiction recovery is to provide meaningful connections with people.
While people may have the desire to feel “Full,” He believes that the concept of perfection cannot be achieved without society working together.
“They have to be connected to something bigger than themselves to find that,” He said.
Fodor believes that the task of creating relationships is the responsibility of the Church. He said the church should not expect people to attend church to find help, but the church should be involved in the community.
“Jesus spoke of the ninety-nine sheep that were fine but the lost sheep,” He said. “Sometimes we need to go out and look. By partnering with the Mental Health Association and by making public art performances, we try to say and communicate ‘we are looking for the missing.’”