MARION, Ind. – St. James Lutheran Church has decided to do something about Grant County’s war with heroin.
On April 30, the church is hosting an event discussing the effects that this drug has on the community and how it can be fought.
In March, the heroin epidemic touched this church community close to home. A member’s sister, who occasionally visited the church herself, passed away due to overdose.
Beth Lahrman, member of the church and Rev. William Lahrman’s wife, said, “People don’t realize that there are people here in the church who are struggling with the effect of addictions and the impact it has on families.”
The Lahrmans are relatively new to this particular church, and Rev. William Lahrman has been pastoring it for the past four years. This year, however, there’s been a shift in the church’s focus.
“This year, we are going to be debt free,” William Lahrman said. “We want to do something with the extra money that we will have; we want to put ourselves out there.”
Every year, the church chooses a passage of scripture to focus on in their ministry. This year, the emphasis is from a verse from Luke that emphasizes the need to get out into the world and minister. As a result of these initiative, the church has sought to increase their local involvement.
“When our neighbor passed, we wanted do something. There was a meeting scheduled for shortly afterwards which is where we came up with this idea,” William Lahrman said.
Linda Wilk, Hands of Hope director, is a part of the team that is putting this event on. She said she views this event as complementary to the work that she’s a part of with her organization.
“This really plays into the Hands of Hope’s vision,” Wilk said. “You can’t separate one issue from the other. Addictions is a huge part of domestic violence.”
Through addressing this issue, many other issues could be addressed as well.
At this informational gathering, a representative from Marion General Hospital will be presenting the hospital’s findings on heroin usage and corresponding complications. Recent statistics have shown a sharp increase in not only Heroin overdoses and deaths but Hepatitis B and AIDS. These ailments are affiliated with unsanitary needles that heroin users use.
Joel Makin, an addictions therapist at Family Service Society, will be speaking at the event. He will discuss how addictions is a disease and provide further tools to assist addicts in their recovery.
However, the main focus of the event will be on two recovering addicts who have volunteered to share their story.
“What I want people to realize, is that it can happen to anyone,” Wilk said. “We want the community to come so we can educate.”
The event will take place Sunday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at St. James Lutheran Church located on North Miller Avenue in Marion.