Guest Speakers: Chuck Blair, Mary Haney + Rob Nash

Pastor Chuck Blair, of New Church Live, along with Mary Haney and Rob Nash, both members of the congregation, spoke to Solutions Journalism: Covering Addiction today about faith-based recovery efforts. New Church Live hosts an annual Family and Addiction service, as well as regular recovery support group meetings for those affected by substance use disorders.

 

“Blessed, Broken, and Shared”: How One Church Tries to Address Addiction

by Megan Dorantes

For the past few years, Chuck Blair has been leading NewChurch LIVE, a congregation that has come together to address various community issues – among which is addiction. Accompanied by Rob, a former addict, and Mary, a mother who lost her son to addiction, Chuck introduced us to his idea of spirituality, assistance, and recovery.

Chuck first stresses the difference between NewChurch LIVE and other spiritual houses by explaining the “tree” model on which it runs. Instead of being a pyramid that operates top to bottom, they utilize a method that emphasizes starting from the roots and making your way to the top. The structure allows for people to ask for help and support at the grassroots level with people who have been through similar experiences. As Chuck suggests, it relies on the rhetoric that we all need to “listen to what people’s’ experience are,” as Rob then adds, “you don’t have to solve their problems. You just have to listen.”

NewChurch LIVE seeks to offer spirituality to the recovery process, yet it is not the focal point of their program. Chuck and his team help guide individuals as they enter the “what next?” stage of recovery. As Chuck puts it, the church runs on the idea of people being “blessed, broken, and shared,”- it’s about coming to terms with addiction, acknowledging the pieces that need to be put back together, and the sharing of those experiences that bond and strengthen the recovering community. With or without spirituality, individuals coming into NewChurch LIVE receive support from a congregation that knows the importance of such care. “Just love them’” Mary notes, “that’s the one doable thing.”

About the author

Covering Addiction Editor

Jillian Bauer is an assistant professor of journalism in the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. She teaches courses in design, multimedia, data and solutions journalism. Contact Jillian at jillian.bauer@temple.edu.

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