April 22, 2016

Greenfield parish supports ecumenical effort to help women with addictions

Father Aaron Jenkins, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Greenfield, stands in a dilapidated house in Greenfield that Friends of Recovery, an ecumenical ministry in Hancock County, hopes to renovate so it can serve as a home for women in recovery from addictions. St. Michael Parish supports Friends of Recovery. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Father Aaron Jenkins, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Greenfield, stands in a dilapidated house in Greenfield that Friends of Recovery, an ecumenical ministry in Hancock County, hopes to renovate so it can serve as a home for women in recovery from addictions. St. Michael Parish supports Friends of Recovery. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

GREENFIELD—Pope Francis recently called on dioceses throughout the world to establish a charitable program during the Holy Year of Mercy that would be a long-lasting legacy of this jubilee year focused on the compassion of God.

He made this call during a vigil prayer service in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on April 2, the night before Divine Mercy Sunday, and suggested hospitals, homes for the elderly or homes for the recovery of addicts.

Father Aaron Jenkins, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Greenfield, was encouraged by the Holy Father’s last suggestion because his Indianapolis East Deanery faith community has been working with other Christian congregations in Hancock County to establish a home for women 18 and older who are recovering from addictions.

Friends of Recovery, an ecumenical organization in Hancock County, hopes to open Talitha Koum Recovery House in Greenfield later this year.

The name for the house comes from the Aramaic words of Jesus that he spoke to a girl that he raised from the dead (Mk 5:41). The words mean, “Little girl, arise.”

“We’re trying to give people a chance to get out of the environments that don’t help them break free from addictions,” said Father Jenkins. “Unfortunately, we don’t have many of those in this county at the moment.”

Linda Ostewig, a member of Brandywine Community Church in Greenfield and a leader in Friends of Recovery, knows firsthand the challenges and the importance of helping people in recovery. Her daughter struggled with addiction for 11 years.

“I would look for help for her and could never really find many places that helped with providing a safe place to learn how to live sober,” she said. “Once you detox and or come out of rehabilitation or jail, you still need somewhere to go that will help you learn how to live life. Otherwise, you go back to the same thing, and relapse happens.”

Ostewig also noted that there are much fewer recovery houses for women in Indiana, and that women in the state struggling with addiction coming out of rehabilitation or jail often have a three-month waiting period before they can be placed in a recovery house. That lag can often lead them back to the habits and relationships that put them into addiction in the first place.

Talitha Koum, Ostewig said, will house women who have been detoxed and are either being released from jail, a work release or rehabilitation program.

“These women will all be in recovery, and we will offer them the tools they need to learn how to live life sober and address root issues of addictions,” Ostewig said. We know the underlining core issue of addiction is pain, and many women who struggle have some kind of trauma they have never dealt with.”

A dilapidated home in Greenfield has been donated to Friends of Recovery, but needs much renovation work in order to serve as a home for women in recovery.

A coffee and dessert fundraising event for this renovation work will take place at 7 p.m. on April 26 at Adaggios Banquet Hall and Conference Centre, 5999 W. Memory Lane, in Greenfield. For more information about attending the event, contact Amy Ikerd at aikerd@hancockcoingov.org or at 317-477-1135, ext. 2247.

Father Jenkins sees this ministry and the parish’s support of it as a real work of mercy.

“It’s a direct link to what we’re supposed to do—helping the sick and those in need,” he said. “It’s also always good for us to serve people beyond our pews and who might not ever darken the doors of our church.”

He appreciates the ecumenical approach being taken to this ministry in Hancock County.

“It’s always good to work as a unified Christian community to do these things,” Father Jenkins said. “It helps us at least have a stronger witness to the larger community.”

Ostewig agrees, saying the ecumenical ministry will “show the love of Christ.”

“We need to be one voice, and I believe it pleases the Lord for us to stand united under a common cause, a great cause—restoring lives of broken women,” she said.

Father Jenkins has high hopes for the effect that Talitha Koum will have on the broader community in Hancock County.

“Hopefully the witness of the women at this house will spur other people on in the community to better themselves,” he said. “It might even lead to just a better community in general.”
 

(For more information about Friends of Recovery, contact Linda Ostewig at thelanding4teens@gmail.com or at 317-525-7791.)

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