Into the Light: Learning about Substance Use and the Holy and Healing Work of Recovery

Image Description: A industrial-looking light bulb in a wire cage is hanging from an unseen ceiling and it casts a warm, yellow light against a dark background. The image includes the diocesan logo in the left bottom corner. The rest of the image reads: "INTO THE LIGHT: Learning about Substance Use and the Holy and Healing Work of Recovery | Saturday, February 3, 9 a.m. - 12 noon, Grace Church, Utica

Dear People of God in Central New York,

Since my announcement on January 10, many of you have reached out to me, other members of the staff, clergy persons, and others concerning substance use disorders and addiction. One of our core values as a community of faith is our shared belief in God’s healing grace and love. All of us have been impacted in some way by the diseases of substance use disorders and addiction, and we are seeking to learn while also taking the courageous steps toward healing as a community and as individuals. It is for this reason that I am writing to invite you to join me on February 3rd to pray, to learn, and to support one another as we seek healing and renewal for all God’s people.

You may remember that in December, we declared this church year to be a Year of Joy in Central New York, a year committed to our focus on greeting this new day with God’s love and grace. This purpose serves us well in this time of grief and suffering associated with substance use disorders. We are all “sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own for ever” and with the Apostle Paul we affirm that nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).

On Saturday, February 3, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Grace Church Utica we’ll begin the day with a prayer service in the nave, rooting all that we do in worshiping God and tuning our hearts to God’s abiding presence. Then there will be learning opportunities for differing interests and needs. One gathering will focus on learning about what substance use disorders and addiction actually are. A second gathering will focus on ways to support  people in recovery. And finally, a third option will focus on church policies regarding alcohol and substances. Together it is our responsibility that our parishes be safe spaces for all persons; we have made a vow to God in our Baptismal covenant to “respect the dignity of every human being” and to seek justice. Our gathering on February 3rd is a part of this as is our ongoing policies and procedures.

I want to express my gratitude to Deacon Kay Drebert, our Deacon for Substance Use Recovery who drafted our worship resources and is facilitating our day in Utica. I also want to give thanks for our faithful diocesan staff who, though grieving themselves, are working tirelessly to support our community with integrity and compassion. We are blessed by their faithfulness.

Please note that this gathering is open to all who might find it helpful or healing so I encourage you to invite those you know who may have an interest. For planning purposes, please register here by January 31st, and know that you are welcome to join online or onsite for worship, prayer, and learning. Additionally, resources from our gathering will be available on our website.

I hope you’ll consider joining us on February 3rd and that you’ll be part of our ongoing work of healing and recovery.

Blessings of peace for the journey,
+Bishop DeDe Signature

  • Mary Leary

    I live on Cortland and have learned of your past Day of Healing /Learning about addiction substances disease .

    I’m interested in what I should do to support a friend who is a recovering alcoholic/drug addiction disease .

    I just don’t want to give him $$

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