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BVA Ministerium reaching out to addicts, families

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

With the social issue of substance abuse becoming a larger part of society, those affected by addiction may sometimes feel that they have nowhere to turn for support.

The Belle Vernon Area Ministerium is giving those people somewhere else to turn.

During the month of October, the ministerium will hold a series of prayer services to address the problem of substance abuse in the community.

After more than a year of meetings and prayers, the ministerium leaders believes this is the best way to both aid in awareness of the situation and give the community an opportunity to seek God's intervention for those whose lives have been affected.

“I don't know what the numbers are, or if there's been a huge jump in overdoses in the area. It's more of a general observation, you notice it more now,” said Pastor Richard Klein Jr. of Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. “Nearly everyone that sits in the pews has been affected. Most directly, I've done a number of funeral services for families of this horrible problem. It's not so much the death ... but it's safe to say that substance abuse, not just drugs, but alcohol and prescription drugs, has touched so many families and extended families. People just can't ignore the problems.”

Each service will begin at noon and last approximately 30 minutes. A simple lunch of soup, bread, and dessert will follow.

The meetings will follow the format of the ministerium's popular Liturgy and Lunch Lenten Program.

“These services are being done so they are convenient and people can attend during a lunch break, or when they can take an hour out of their day,” Klein said. “Attendance started at about 80 people and grew each week. Our hope and desire and our confidence lies in the belief that God will open whatever doors he needs to so we can be helpful for the families, to those addicted, law enforcement officials that fight this battle everyday, and even to those who profit from the distribution of drugs.

“Hopefully, this can guide those people to use their entrepreneurial skills elsewhere in life.”

The first service will be hosted Wednesday by Marion Presbyterian Church in Washington Township. On Oct. 9, Lynnwood Lutheran Church will host the service. Klein and Rehoboth Presbyterian Church in Rostraver Township will host the Oct. 16 service, followed by Concord United Methodist Church in Rostraver Township hosting the prayer service on Oct. 23. The series will conclude Oct. 30 at St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in North Belle Vernon.

“What God is showing us is what we can do to help families, counselors, and others,” Klein said. “We want to show that this is all inter-denominational, it's not just one church. This is an idea that we all came up with pretty much at the same time. We want to show that there is a unity among the faiths and churches. We need to put aside our differences and look at this for what it is, a community problem. Nothing will be done until we admit there's a problem. With the ministerium, it shows that this truly is a community problem.”

Copies of the prayers are available at the churches for those who can't attend the events. Klein added that a few people have asked for the prayers to be emailed.

“If people would like to participate indirectly, we welcome that,” Klein said. “If people would like to attend these services, we welcome them.”

Klein emphasized that all those who are concerned or touched by the problems are welcomed to join the ministerium in prayer and fellowship beginning Wednesday.

“Prayer is where we're starting,” Klein said. “Will there be other ways for us to get involved, whether it be Alcoholics Anonymous, Nar-(Narcotics) Anon, ... we'll accomplish our goals. There's value there for parishioners of all of our churches, to see that we're getting involved to help the community combat this problem.”

For more information on the prayer services or the BVA Ministerium, contact Rev. Sue Currie at the Belle Vernon First Presbyterian Church at 724-929-7616, or Klein at 724-929-7020.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.