“Though we don’t have a boarding home for the addicts that come to our church, we encourage them to stay off drugs and other substances during our weekly meeting,” said the Rev. Julius YZK Williams, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia.
First United Methodist Church in Monrovia is a part of the Liberia Annual Conference in Liberia West Africa.
His church’s recovery ministry now feeds over 20 participants at every session, he said.
Once they are in recovery, attendees are encouraged to join the church or any church of their choice.
“We have some of our former attendees who are currently worshipping with and going through membership classes,” he said.
Attendees struggling with their recovery are sent to the New Life Recovery Center operated by The United Methodist Church in Liberia. The center offers in-house treatment and counseling.
The Rev. Jerry W. Saway, pastor of Redeem Church, said the church’s addiction and recovery ministry has gained momentum since the seminar, noting that the number of participants in the program has grown to 78. The ministry started with about 15 people, some of whom participated in the training and are now helping the church expand its outreach.
“Parents are entrusting their children into our care because (of the) work we are doing to help them recover from drugs and substance abuse,” Saway said.
In October, Liberia Area Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. called for citizens’ action against substance abuse in Monrovia and its suburbs.
The recovery and addiction seminar was organized to ensure that church leaders are prepared to deal with the growing wave of illegal drug sales and subsequent addiction that follows.
Jefferson Knight, director of The United Methodist Church’s human rights department in Liberia, said the gathering also was intended to build the capacity of churches and other institutions that are working with addicts in their recovery programs.
“Once we help those who are addicted, they can help us in leading the fight against drug addiction,” Knight said. He said church leaders from The United Methodist Church in Liberia and Redeem Church of God are investing in recovery ministries because drug addiction is taking over Liberia.
Participants learned basic skills to use in recovery sessions, such as listening to each other’s stories, strengthening their faith in God through prayers, and supporting one another to prevent relapse. Sharing in smaller groups was a key aspect of the seminar.
The lead facilitator, the Rev. Jim White, a retired United Methodist clergy, said he was empowering church leaders in Liberia because of his concern for the country and its people.
“We must help them recover before we can transform them for service in the church,” he said.
excerpt from a story by E Julu Swen, communicator in Liberia.
This story represents how United Methodist local churches through their Annual Conferences are living as Vital Congregations. A vital congregation is the body of Christ making and engaging disciples for the transformation of the world. Vital congregations are shaped by and witnessed through four focus areas: calling and shaping principled Christian leaders; creating and sustaining new places for new people; ministries with poor people and communities; and abundant health for all.