The Bridge—A New Twelve Step Recovery Healing Service
Those whose lives have been touched directly or indirectly by addiction know that getting clean and sober is hard work. With a drug addiction epidemic ripping across our nation more and more families are experiencing the heartbreak and despair of watching loved ones withdraw into addiction. Often this is an unintended and tragic result of the medical profession’s compassionate desire to treat pain. And alongside opioids we now have a catastrophic collection of illegal drugs, and of course the drug that has always been with us—alcohol. Human beings are capable of becoming addicted to things that don’t fit the drug profile as well. Food addiction, gambling addiction, technology addiction and pornography addiction are endemic in American society. But nobody talks about it, at least not in church they don’t. Church is for good people, right? Church is for people who never make mistakes, never struggle with addiction, never need a helping hand at all. There’s only one problem with this. If that kind of perfect church is in existence, Jesus isn’t in attendance.
To date, Twelve Step Fellowships are the single most successful treatment for addiction. Some people get annoyed about this, because God features heavily in the twelve steps. Most addicts arrive desperate and with no faith at all. Those who make it are those who are capable of being honest with themselves and who find faith. For some this is as far as they want to go. They are perfectly content to let their home group be their faith community. But for others there is a deep hunger for the sacred—for something more—for the kind of healing grace traditionally found in a church. Unfortunately church just doesn’t feel comfortable.
To meet this need, on Sunday, March 13th at 6:30 pm the Penn Wynne Presbyterian Church, (130 Haverford Road, Wynnewood 19096) is hosting a new kind of service. It is a healing service designed by and for people in Twelve Step Recovery groups, although, as Pastor Lisa Farrell will be quick to tell you, everyone is invited. The service is called The Bridge, because that is what it is intended to be—a bridge connecting people to God, people for whom organized religion hasn’t always worked very well. Pastor Farrell is especially sensitive to the need, because she herself is a person in recovery. “God loves us unconditionally,” says Pastor Farrell, “but many churches have been very poor at demonstrating that love. Twelve Step programs have brought many back to faith or to faith for the first time, yet church settings often feel strange and unfamiliar. We are designing a service that feels like home.”
The service will include readings from the bible, a meditation, and contemplative Christian music that is both ancient and contemporary. It will be a healing service with an opportunity for people to receive confidential prayer with the option of being anointed with oil, an ancient practice that has been associated with healing for over 2000 years. “And that prayer,” says Pastor Farrell, “can be for anything. You can come for physical healing. You can come for emotional healing. You can come to ask God to remove the desire to pick up a drink or a drug, misuse food, gamble, obsess over social media or watch porn. You can come without having a clue what you need, and we will pray for you just the same. It’s completely confidential, and completely judgment free. God loves us unconditionally.”
The theme of the first Bridge Healing Service will be powerlessness, a universal human experience. ALL are welcome, not just those touched by the devastation of addiction. For more information check out Penn Wynne’s website, or call the church at (610) 642-1308.
Please click here for a downloadable brochure to share with your congregation: The Bridge pamphlet