Did you ever think about the words “CHANGE FOREVER” in a spiritual context? What comes to mind? How do you “change forever”? Have you ever had an experience with God that you knew had changed you forever? I have! After Mike Ragon from Peter’s Shadow Healing Ministry laid his hand on me and I rested with the Holy Spirit, I knew I would never be the same again. I was surrounded by peace and carried that feeling for days and talked to anyone that wanted to hear about my encounter with God.
I founded the Addiction Response Ministry over 2 years ago with the help of parishioners of St. Agnes and friends. God showed me an opportunity on how to impact more lives, so I did not hesitate and called Kim Botteicher, Executive Director of FAVOR, to see if FAVOR had a place for ARM. FAVOR was extremely excited to have us and in December ARM merged with FAVOR. With the beatitudes in mind and heart full of love and hope in hand, “Support Thru Faith” was created and set out to help those in need of spiritual companionship. “Support Thru Faith” wants to touch God’s people that have encountered sadness, bitterness, loneliness, denial, grief and are spiritually empty or need a boost of faith. “Support Thru Faith” wants to give people a place where they could encounter God and change forever their relationship with him.
The “Support Thru Faith” core team aims to fill the spiritual hole that is left when substance and alcohol use disorders takes hold of a family. There is also a need to reach out to the community and meet the people where they are at the midst of this disorder. In other words, we felt called to be Fishers of Men. We prayed and were led to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 5:9-10:
The ARM core team decided to start their mission by reaching out to Sage’s Army, Inc. Sage's Army, Inc. was founded in 2012 by Carmen Capozzi following the death of his son, Sage. Sage's Army is dedicated to bringing awareness, compassion, and action to communities affected by the drug epidemic.
I spoke to Kat Fieser, Director of Recovery Programs at Sage’s Army in February of last year with an idea of helping families with loved ones affected by substance and alcohol use disorders with a prayer model refined by Sandy Monier and Anne Papinchak. Sage’s Army welcomed us with opened arms as they do with other community groups that have programs that can offer peace to families dealing with substance and alcohol use disorders. Kat Fieser said, “Faith is important to stay grounded during storms in our lives. When we need to believe in God’s plan, we also need support to help us communicate better with him. We are grateful to have this offered through a prayer gathering for loved ones.”
Co-creators and facilitators are Sandy Monier and Anne Papinchak. Sandy has a BA in Pastoral Ministry, a MA in Spiritual Direction and is working on a certification in leading individuals through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Anne Papinchak is a Qualified Spiritual Director, Executive Coach and Business Consultant. The Change Forever Prayer Gatherings offer spiritual reflection, meditation, and life application through scripture. The prayer gatherings are for loved ones of those affected by substance use disorder.
Sandy and Anne have trained Adam Daykon, Donna Henkel, and me as facilitators for the Change Forever Prayer Gatherings. Over the past months the facilitators have been learning about the key components of the program: paraphrasing, empathy, redirection, affirmation, and encouragement.
Adam Daykon was asked, “What are your experiences with Change Forever Prayer Gatherings?”
Adam answered, “At first, I was skeptical about becoming a facilitator for this kind of group because I always fear the unknown, but when Mary asked, I decided to at least give it a try. I’m very glad I did. During the facilitator trainings, I’ve come to learn that the format for these gatherings revolve around a safe place for people to gather and explore their spirituality with a Higher Power. It’s a great way to practice self-care, slow down, and re-center ourselves through scripture, prayer, and positive feedback. When I left the practice session, I felt respected, heard, and spiritually joyous. I look forward to sharing these experiences with those in the community.”
“Support Thru Faith” has decided to come to FAVOR in Bolivar to offer our support thru prayer. Please join FAVOR to experience this prayer model. It is just one hour a month dedicated to deepening your relationship with God.
Friends/Family of those with substance use disorder (SUD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD) are welcome to participate at any time.
Please contact Mary Loretta Wheeler on cell phone: (724) 400-5464 or email@example.com