Finding recovery through religion

Rob Nash, a member of New Church Live, said he broke nine of the Ten Commandments by the time he was 19 years old.

Nash choked up when he introduced himself as a “drug addict.” But Nash, now 70, uses ministry as a part of his recovery and helps others by sharing his own story.

Nash came to talk to our class with Chuck Blair, the senior pastor of the church, and Mary Haney, another member of the congregation whose son died of an overdose.

New Church Live is a Christian church that is open to anyone. The church provides a space for people struggling with addiction to go for support and holds an annual service specifically about addiction and recovery. Haney also talked about one of her favorite things to do to help: passing out blessing bags to people struggling with addiction around the city. Blessing bags can include snacks, candy, personal hygiene products or socks.

Haney said her work is important because “people are drowning.” She doesn’t have the answers and never will, she added, but she finds it important to simply reach out to people and let them know they aren’t alone.

“My only job is to love this person,” she said.

Blair, Nash and Haney represent different types of support within the church: Blair is the pastor and leader of the church, Nash is a person in longterm recovery who can offer personal understanding and Haney can offer the family’s point of view. The three speakers were representative of the people who make up the church as a whole: people with different experiences and strengths to offer.

“If you believe [that love wins], you’re gonna do okay in our church,” Blair said.

About the author

Erin Moran

Erin Moran is a junior journalism major and political science minor at Temple University. She currently works as a Deputy Features Editor of her college newspaper, The Temple News, and a regular freelancer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chestnut Hill Local. Contact Erin at tuf62032@temple.edu.

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By Erin Moran