This post will be a little different, but it is important. Last night, our Gathering group of believers had a special guest. He is Kate Cumming’s dad, Dr. Joseph Hames and he has been a medical doctor for over 40 years. He spent many years as an emergency room doc, then made a switch to counselling and aiding those who are addicted to drugs, primarily opioids. That fact is part of an amazing story.
Before Dr. Hames spoke about his experiences with the opioid addicted, he shared his testimony and how his relationship with God has helped guide his direction in life. I have only been around him two times, but in his spirit, I sense a humbleness and sincere care for humanity. At a point where he could retire and focus on his own needs and desires, he chose to go back to school and prepare to serve the downtrodden and addicted. I’d say that is uncommon these days.
Now, let’s talk about the main topic a little. As Dr. Hames related his experiences with the people in the area around the clinic he works with, he brought up an important question. When you consider the racial make-up of the area, it seems the African-American community is underserved or more accurately, they are less likely to take advantage of treatment options. He asked us why we thought this might be the case and we gave several meaningful responses. As you see from the photos below, our Gathering group is very diverse, so we shared various perspectives about his question. Here are a few:
So, with all that being said, how can we, as the church, respond to the opioid epidemic? We all agreed that Christian people need to be willing – even when it’s uncomfortable – to help lead the addicted to treatment and support services. That is a general statement and actual healing usually comes from a multifaceted approach which includes physical, mental, and spiritual support. If you are not trained to handle such things, just be willing to guide the addicted person to someone who is trained. At the very least, you can follow-up with prayer for the person in question and the process that he or she will go through to become whole again. Make sense? Just do it.
Now, for a few photos from the evening: