One church’s ‘compassionate and Christ-like’ approach to the opioid crisis

Amid national drug epidemic, Connecticut’s largest congregation joins its community’s fight.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

Connecticut’s opioid crisis — part of a national epidemic — claimed more than 900 lives last year.

“That is about three times more than the number who will die in car accidents and about six times more than will die from gun violence,” said Deirdre Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

The overdose epidemic — linked to the illicit drug heroin and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and fentanyl — spurred the Constitution State’s largest Church of Christ to organize a recent community forum, which drew about 140 attendees.

The 250-member Manchester congregation sponsored the event in cooperation with Marc Montminy, police chief in the suburb 10 miles east of the state capital of Hartford, and Sarah Howroyd, who overcame her own struggle with drug addiction.

Montminy and Howroyd co-founded a community-based program called the HOPE Initiative. HOPE stands for “heroin/opioid prevention and education.”

Patrick Barber serves as pulpit minister for the Manchester church, which is perhaps best known for hosting the annual New England Church Growth Conference.

In an interview with The Christian Chronicle, Barber discussed the opioid crisis and the church’s role in fighting it.

Read the full interview.

Other recent quick-hit stories by me:

Deadly twisters, serving hearts: After East Texas storm, the Clemons family blesses victims with love — and lots of meat.

• Georgia ministry featured in Charles Barkley’s ‘American Race’ documentary series: The NBA analyst and Hall of Fame player visits the Corners Outreach homework club to discuss illegal immigration.

• Video: Love Lights the Way plants gospel seeds in Liberia: Ministry started by refugees in Rhode Island launches the Lighthouse Village Church of Christ.

These stories appear in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.