Southern District and the Challenge of the Drug Epidemic: Responding to our Neighbors with Love

Leader: Rev. Barry BallHe works as an agent assigned to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Barry has a lot of practical experience of working to end the drug epidemic as well as exploring the spiritual and theological implications. He will help us see how we can make a difference. Barry is a gifted storyteller and is also married to Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball.
Every day we hear some news about the drug epidemic that has struck West Virginia, and specifically our neighborhood. This can be news about an overdose, an arrest, a shooting, a burglary, prostitution or HIV. I have been struck by a question in the midst of all this bad news, what can the local church do to help? Can we pray for the addicted, their families and our community…absolutely. Can we open our church buildings for AA, Al-non and NA meetings…absolutely. But how can we as Christians, as members of local United Methodist Churches, get to know our neighbors whose lives are being torn apart by addiction? How can we as Christians do hands on ministry with family members who maybe have no idea what great news we as Christians have to offer in such a horrible situation? How can we reach the lost children of the addicted who out of no fault of their own, live in this horrifying situation and think that it is normal?
On Saturday February 25, we will gather at Matheny UMC and spend the day learning, discussing, laughing and praying about how God might be calling us to respond. Beginning on Monday February 27, a new and hopeful day will dawn for our lost children, our church and our community! If you don’t believe me…I challenge you to participate in the United Methodist Challenge Weekend, if you do believe me…put on your seat belt, because who knows where God will call us!

Register by contacting the District Office: or 304-252-7985

Schedule for Saturday, February 25:
8:30        Gathering
9:00        Introductions, discussing how, where and who addiction is in our community
10:00      Our Wesleyan Heritage
11:00      A brief overview of drug addiction and recovery strategies
12:00      Lunch and viewing video “Lost Childhood”
1:00        Realizing just how lost many people are spiritually, culturally, academically and socially
2:00        Why Mentoring?
3:00        Where are they? Brainstorming to find and connect with lost children