Christ Church Easton–Easton always enjoys solid attendance at its “Alive at Five” service on Saturdays at 5 p.m., but on September 17 it was a packed house as the church hosted Recovery for Shore’s “A Message of Hope – Recovery Happens!” celebration of National Recovery Month with a special service and free picnic supper.
The event began with the Alive at Five service, led by Christ Church Easton Rector Father Bill Ortt, which featured special testimony by Bruce Strazza, a member of Christ Church and leading figure in the local recovery community. Strazza’s testimony, presented on video on the two large screens in the front of the church, told the moving story of his journey through addiction, the loss of his older brother from a heroin overdose, his new life of service to others and his ongoing recovery. It received a standing ovation from the large and diverse crowd of individuals, couples and families as well as many treatment providers from around the Mid-Shore region.
Strazza also led Alive at Five Band in the soul-stirring, uplifting music for the service.
“It was a beautiful, standing room only event,” commented Dr. David Hill, of Chesapeake Treatment Services. “Bruce Strazza’s testimony was quite moving and showed that no matter how great the addiction has become, there is a road to health through recovery.”
“Here was an opportunity to show those individuals doing the hard work of recovery that ours is a caring and supportive community — and that even in the midst of what might appear as failure to some, there always remains hope for those still struggling within the process of recovery from the disease of addiction,” noted Joe Kettinger, a member of Christ Church-Easton’s Recovery Ministry. “The video of Bruce openly discussing the compelling story of his transition through the worst elements of the disease to finally discovering his recovery in the joy of spiritual peace and service to those still suffering was a message of hope.”
After the service, parishioners and community members convened on the church lawn for the picnic supper provided by Recovery for Shore members and a number of local businesses, including the Washington Street Pub, Rise Up Coffee, Earth Data, Inc., and the Inn at Bartlett Pear. Several recovery resources including Dri-Dock Recovery, Mariah’s Mission Fund, Narcotics Anonymous, Chesapeake Voyagers and Rising Above Disease were on hand with literature and other promotional items to share with those in attendance.
Event sponsors were NCADD of MD, Cigarette Restitution Fund of the Talbot County Health Department, Shore Behavioral Health, Queen Anne’s and Talbot County Health Departments, Warwick Manor, Christ Church of Easton and Chesapeake Treatment Services.
“We came away with a really great feeling about the sense of solidarity and support our community demonstrates toward those in recovery and the need for greater public awareness and funding for recovery initiatives,” says Sharon Dundon, substance disorders program specialist, Shore Behavioral Health and coordinator for Recovery for Shore. “We are so grateful to our sponsors, our food donors and our many volunteers as well as to Christ Church-Easton for helping make the Message of Hope such a wonderful evening. Our task now is to keep up the momentum and hopefully get more people informed about the escalating problem of addiction and involved in advocating for recovery resources.”
For more information about Recovery for Shore, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Recovery for Shore Facebook page.