Faith Leaders Gain Addiction Skills to Support Congregations

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Northeast Delta hosts training to develop substance abuse, addiction and recovery ministries

NE Delta HSA's Faith Partnerships logo.

To be successful, all sectors of society must be informed and work intentionally. Only by working together can we truly transform the lives of individuals, our region and our state

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority will host a day-long Faith Partnership Initiative leadership training on January 26 at North Monroe Baptist Church, 210 Finks Hideaway Rd, Monroe, LA 71203.

The training is the first of four 2019 trainings, part of the agency’s effort to educate and equip faith leaders to address substance abuse prevention, support and recovery needs in their congregations. Leadership training is for pastoral and lay leaders from various faith traditions. "Our region is facing challenging issues around various addictions and mental health, and we must pull various sectors of society together to identify where there are needs and how to best address those needs,” said Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, Northeast Delta executive director. “This training is an important next step.”

The Saturday program is another in a series of training events to help northeastern Louisiana faith leaders in the agency’s 12-parish region. On October 25, dozens of faith leaders gathered in Monroe for readiness training. The fall program equipped faith leaders with skills to better serve those in their congregations and communities struggling with alcohol, drug and other addictions. The training included a “messaging exercise.” The participants learned how their respective faith and denominational traditions communicated about mental illness and addictions, and how those ideas shaped their understanding of people suffering from these devastating challenges. Participants also discovered similarities and differences between various faith traditions.

January’s leadership training will be facilitated by Sizer and Drew Brooks, a nationally recognized faith-based prevention and treatment specialist. Sizer leads Northeast Delta from a headquarters office in Monroe, providing a safety net of services, working with partner agencies and organizations. Brooks serves as the executive director of Faith Partners, an organization that has successfully utilized an evidence-based intervention approach to equip 350 different church congregations from over 20 different faith traditions.

“To be successful, all sectors of society must be informed and work intentionally. Only by working together can we truly transform the lives of individuals, our region and our state,” added Sizer. “Our objective is to help our faith leaders better understand the science and complexities of those battling mental illness and addiction so that comprehensive solutions can become more evident.”

The free leadership training is at 9 a.m. in the North Monroe Baptist chapel. To register, or to get more information, contact Northeast Delta Strategic Initiatives Coordinator Andrew Koetsier at Andrew.Koetsier@la.gov or 318-362-4237.

Additional training will be offered in April, May and June. Team training will be provided April 5-6. Clergy-specific training will be held May 17-18. General skills training will be hosted June 22.

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Will Sutton
Northeast Delta Human Services Authority
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