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"Speak About It!" Second Podcast on Bridge to Recovery Emphasizes Church Partnerships
Rev. Kristy Burnette, pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church, speaks about creating a supportive environment for individuals and families battling addiction
Creating a safe, nonjudgmental, and supportive space for individuals and families to deal with alcohol and drug addictions was a key focus at Friendship United Methodist Church in Albemarle, North Carolina, and in its partnership with Bridge to Recovery, an addiction recovery transitional residential center serving men in North Carolina's Stanly County.
In the second segment of the "Speak About It!" podcast featuring the Bridge to Recovery, the Rev. Kristy Burnette, pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church, spoke to Juliana Mecera, Program Associate for the United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV), about the church's partnership with Bridge to Recovery and the importance of local churches partnering with addiction-recovery organizations to address the substance-abuse needs of their congregation and community.
The "Speak About It!" podcast series, produced by SPSARV and the General Board of Global Ministries, profiles inspiring people who have received a SPSARV grant to begin or extend their work in substance-abuse ministries across the United Methodist connection.
"A lot of people feel uncomfortable coming to the church with their problems, when in all actuality that is where we should start," said Rev. Burnette. "First, what I would say to churches is to be open and create an atmosphere where people feel safe to discuss these kinds of things; where they will feel that they will be loved and cared for rather than judged."
Friendship United Methodist Church forged a partnership with Bridge to Recovery, a transition-housing program for men who have completed a detoxification program and are waiting for an opening at a long-term treatment facility. Rev. Jim Allred, who previously served Friendship UMC as interim pastor, was part of a group from the church and community who wanted to better reach out to Stanly County. They learned that substance abuse in Stanly County, a rural area, is one of the highest in the state.
"Addiction is everywhere.... Many of our members have been touched by alcohol and drug addiction by friends or a family member," said Burnette. She explained that for this reason, many members at Friendship UMC understand the risky nature of the time between detox and rehab. "So when this ministry was brought to their attention, they just embraced it."
Juliana Mecera explained that detoxification is not usually classified as treatment; rather it prepares individuals to begin the process of treatment and recovery. "It seems that individuals who receive holistic, long-term treatment are most likely to reach and continue maintaining recovery," said Mecera.
In the podcast, the Rev. Jim Allred recounted a touching story of a former Bridge to Recovery resident who is now well on his way to recovery.
Listen to the podcast and view the Bible Study and Discussion Companion Guide, which will help your group engage in meaningful dialogue about this ministry. For more information about Bridge to Recovery, please visit bridgetorecovery.org.