Addictions Ministry Team
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Addictions Ministry is called to walk together with congregations and religious professionals to educate individuals, families, congregations and communities about the suffering caused by addiction.
Our purpose in doing this ministry is to transform cultures of misuse and abuse into cultures of healing, wholeness, and health.
The UUA's Addictions Ministry is carried out by the Addictions Ministry Team, which is lead by a steering committee of a few Team members.
- Sarah Gettie Burks, Resident Chaplain, Alegent Health, Omaha, NE, sburks @ uuma.org
- Dr. Russell K. Elleven, Minister, Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, Fort Worth, TX, relleven @ gmail.com
- Harriet Altman, Member of Church of the Larger Fellowship, haltman @ ec.rr.com
- Dr. Nancy Holden, Community Minister, Recovery Network of River Falls, WI, affiliated with Unitarian Universalist Society of River Falls, d.n.holden @ comcast.net
- Dr. Therissa Libby, Lay Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD and Principal, The T.A. Libby Group, tal @ talibby.com
- Denis Meacham, author of The Addiction Ministry Handbook: a Guide for Faith Communities, djmeacham969 @ comcast.net
- Barbara Meyers, Community Minister, Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Fremont, CA, com_minister @ mpuuc.org
- Deb Rostorfer, Member of River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Plantation, FL, debrostorfer @ gmail.com
- Bill Zelazny, District Executive of Ballou Channing District, UUA; Staff Liaison to the Addictions Ministry Team, wzelazny @ uua.org
History of Addictions Ministry
The UUA Addictions Ministry grew out of the work of the Rev. Denis Meacham, author of the Skinner House book, The Addiction Ministry Handbook: a Guide for Faith Communities. Denis recognized the effects of addictions on individuals, families, and the larger congregational community. Meacham envisioned a congregation-based program to identify and support individual members affected by drug, alcohol and other addictions. Rev. Meacham was a persistent, early voice in holding up addiction and recovery as issues often neglected by faith communities in general and Unitarian Universalism in particular. Through his encouragement, a group of activists from throughout the United States met in Chicago in April 2006. These early steps to convene a national group were supported by the UUA and the Rev. Dr. Michelle Bentley, then Professional Development Director of the UUA Department of Ministry and Professional Leadership.
In 2008, the group, by then known as the Addictions Ministry Task Force, met in Boston under the leadership of the Rev. Alex Holt and the Rev. Jory Agate, UUA Ministerial Development Director. One result of that meeting was a collective commitment to call for a unified, UUA-endorsed, staff and lay-led Addictions Ministry Committee. Since then, the Addictions Ministry has grown and continues to gain entry into Unitarian Universalist districts and congregations. The Addictions Ministry is committed to supporting individuals, families, congregations, districts, and communities in facing the challenges of addiction and the hope of recovery as affirming of our Seven Principles and the UU Sources (listed below):
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
For more information contact addictions @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Thursday, May 23, 2013.