On Tuesday, September 26, eighty-two people attended the Town Hall Meeting at Lorain Faith UMC to discuss opioids and heroin. The congregation practiced radical hospitality. Three members stood outside to welcome people as they came across the street. When the parking lot was full, another member stood at the entrance of the parking lot and re-directed people to another lot. People were greeted as they entered the doors of the church. The congregation was engaged with those who came.
Pastor Karen Hollingsworth opened the meeting with the following greeting, “In 2016 close to 140 people died of an overdose in Lorain County. That’s a staggering number and it’s just not acceptable. You are here tonight because your life is impacted in some way by this epidemic. It impacts our city and the lives of our children. As a church we could no longer be silent as families are torn apart by heroin. We believe every life has value. Every life is worth saving. So we began to ask the question, ‘What can a small little church on the corner of West 22nd and Reid do in the face of this epidemic?’ The answer came. We can raise awareness, provide information and resources. We can speak up and say, ‘You are not alone. There is help. There is hope!’”
The panelist of speakers included Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County Coroner, Detective Calone of the Lorain Police Department, Elaine Georgas, Executive Director of the Alcohol and Drug Services Board of Lorain County, and Kim Mason, paramedic from LifeCare Ambulance.
Following the meeting Pastor Hollingsworth spoke to a man who said, “When you help me, you help the community.” We often think that if we only help one person we are not making much of a difference. His words shed a whole new light on the difference helping one person can make and how it ripples out into the community.
Lorain Faith provided a place where people could come, engage in conversation, and learn how to be part of the solution. They were educated about the opioid and heroin crisis. They received help and they received hope! Lorain Faith continues to strive to be a vital presence engaged in our community. They continue to ask God, “What is ours to do?”
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