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Training and Networking
The cornerstone of the SPSARV ministry is training and networking. Our goal is to equip clergy and laity with the skills and tools to develop substance abuse ministries, and provide avenues for sharing and disseminating information to leadership within local congregations. A variety of training opportunities are available through SPSARV.
SPSARV offers clergy one- and two-day trainings using the Core Competencies for Clergy and Other Pastoral Ministers, a guide to assist clergy and other pastoral ministers in addressing alcohol and drug dependency in their congregations. The Core Competencies provide clergy with the core knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to serve members of their congregation who may approach them for help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Johnson Institute and the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), developed the core competencies.
The training also delves into the Wesleyan theological basis for why United Methodists must respond to addictions, and offers specific steps for clergy to take in providing support to individuals and families. SPSARV staff and a team of consultants conduct these trainings across the connectional system.
SPSARV teamed up with Faith Partners, Inc. (formerly Faith Partners of the Rush Center of Johnson Institute) to hold trainings for congregations on developing alcohol and drug ministries, after receiving endorsements from the Board of Directors of the General Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Inter-Agency and Standing Committee Task Force. Using the Faith Partners model, SPSARV seeks to expand alcohol and drug congregational team ministries across the denomination.
SPSARV, working in partnership with Faith Partners, held a series of trainings in four United Methodist jurisdictions in the U.S. during the 2004-2008 quadrennium. The trainings established more than 30 new Faith Partner alcohol and drug congregational team ministries, bringing the total United Methodist Faith Partner congregations in the U.S. to over 60.
Trainings are generally conducted within an annual conference structure with approximately 10-20 congregations attending the training series. Annual conferences may choose to jointly host training sessions. The annual conference leadership actively participates in inviting congregations to attend the training. Typically, SPSARV works with a local host/coordinator who will assist in facilitating logistics for the training, including outreach to congregations.
To form a Congregational Addiction Response Team Ministry, members from congregations must participate in a two-part training series. The cost for the training series is $300 for a United Methodist congregation, excluding a $15/person meal charge and lodging fees, if necessary. The fee covers a one-day leadership training and a two-day team training. The one-day leadership training provides local church leaders insight into the Faith Partners model and tools for creating and recruiting their congregational ministry team. Four to six months later, the congregational team will attend a two-day team training where they will learn how to launch their ministry on alcohol and other drugs. Congregational teams will learn about prevention, intervention treatment, recovery and public policy advocacy responses, and will develop an action plan for their congregation.
SPSARV and Faith Partners will provide ongoing support on establishing a congregational ministry team prior to, during, and following the formation of teams. SPSARV offers additional trainings and resources once a congregation launches their Faith Partners Team Ministry. While the training is open to all denominations, non-United Methodists must pay the full Faith Partners, Inc. fee of $600.
If your annual conference, district or individual congregation is interested in launching a Faith Partners Congregational Team Ministry in your area, please contact the SPSARV office. For more information on the Faith Partners training, visit www.faithpartnersinc.org.
SPSARV staff and a team of consultants are available to lead workshops on alcohol and other drugs for local churches and ecumenical partners, annual conferences, mission initiatives and churchwide ministries. We can tailor a workshop to meet your group’s specific needs and interests.
While there is no honorarium or fee to lead workshops, we will work closely with each group on a case-by-case basis regarding lodging and travel costs for workshop leaders. To request a workshop on alcohol and other drugs, please contact SPSARV at email@example.com.
The United Methodist Oklahoma Conference, Oklahoma Chemical Dependency School
Annually, SPSARV offers full-tuition scholarships to the Oklahoma Conference Chemical Dependency Summer School. This two-week intensive summer school seeks to educate clergy and laity about the disease of addiction using the group-dynamic process found in treatment centers.
SPSARV scholarship recipients attending the Chemical Dependency School attest to the knowledge and practical skills gained during the training. Many are incorporating what they learned about raising awareness and responding to substance abuse in their congregation and community.
"The Chemical Dependency School was an opportunity to learn firsthand from people who had been dependent on drugs and alcohol about the effects on the family and the role the church and community can play in helping them reach and live in recovery,” said the Rev. Dora R. Dorsey, pastor of Philadelphia UMC in Rockingham, NC, a SPSARV scholarship recipient. “I pray and plan to help implement more awareness and support efforts in my church."
Following the training, scholarship recipient Jewell Meringer of Snellville UMC in Snellville, GA, sponsored a community forum on substance abuse at Snellville City Hall during National Recovery Month. Speakers included two police chiefs, a juvenile court judge, and the program director of an addictions recovery center. The church, which is a Faith Partners member, also organized an educational program based on models learned at the Summer School.
For more information about scholarships to the Chemical Dependency School, contact SPSARV at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the school, visit the United Methodist Oklahoma Conference website.
Skills-Based Training Scholarships
SPSARV monitors national and global skills-based trainings and conferences on alcohol, other drugs and related violence. Recognizing that clergy and laity are often not able to attend trainings due to the training costs, SPSARV provides partial scholarships to help defer participant costs. Scholarships are provided to United Methodist clergy and laity within the global connection of the church. We encourage United Methodists to contact our office about attending other trainings on substance abuse and related violence. Attached are scholarship applications.
Skills-Based Conference Listings of Note
National Rural Drug and Alcohol Institute holds skills-based trainings annually in June for field professionals working in rural settings. The training provides an opportunity to interact with rural alcohol and drug professional counselors, officials from federal agencies, and other resource persons. The topics will vary at each training. For more information visit www.uwstout.edu/outreach/conf.
The Betty Ford Center offers a “Professionals in Residence” program, a weeklong program enabling professionals from all fields to grasp the nature and treatment of addiction through a unique educational experience. For more information visit www.bettyfordcenter.org.
Hazelden offers a “Professionals in Residence” program for clergy and other professionals. This weeklong program engages participants in educational and patient observation and provides opportunities to attend family lectures and small group meetings. For more information visit www.hazelden.org.
Scholarship opportunities for clergy and laity are not limited to the conferences and training opportunities listed above. Clergy and laity interested in attending other trainings are encouraged to submit their application and details on the conference or training to SPSARV for consideration. Scholarships will be disbursed as funds are available.
Online training resources are available for congregational ministries to participate in distance learning courses on alcohol and other drugs. While minimal costs are often associated with some online trainings, SPSARV encourages clergy and laity to consider these options.
You can explore below online training resources:
Genesis Continuing Education
The Genesis Continuing Education website offers online learning courses on substance abuse, family effects, and boundaries. This course explores a variety of topics for clergy, counselors, and social workers. We recommend their study on “Gerald May’s Addiction and Grace” publication. For more information visit www.genesisce.org.
National Association for Children of Alcoholics
Spiritual Caregiving for Clergy is an online course that equips clergy and other church professionals with the practical skills and knowledge to meet the needs of parish members. The course leads to a certification in substance abuse skills. For more information visit www.nacoa.net.
Distance Learning Center for Addiction Studies
Online learning and continuing education hours for clergy and substance abuse professionals are available for individuals who need CE hours as well as foundational information on addiction. For more information visit www.dlcas.com.
SPSARV coordinates the work of an active network of United Methodist leaders and faith partners worldwide in their ministry responses to alcohol and other drugs through prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and advocacy.