Churches unite wanting to bring hope for people fighting addictions, poverty

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – A participant has outstretched hands during Sunday’s multi-church service at Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina. Jennifer Printup and Steve Hodgins, right, are members of the praise band at the church.

MEDINA – Several local church leaders say they have been praying for a revival for years, that more Orleans County residents would give their hearts to God and seek God’s help in fighting addictions, and overcoming barriers that keep people in poverty.

About a dozen local pastors were part of a service Sunday at Oak Orchard, which included featured speaker Debbie Davis, founder of the faith-based “One Voice,” a non-profit organization that works with people fighting addictions in West Virginia.

Davis said God needs to be part of a community’s rebirth, but the people need to want God. She urged churches to reach out to people struggling with addictions and feelings of hopelessness.

“God bless them in their mess,” Davis told about 300 people at Sunday’s service. “I can tell you everyone sitting here in the pews has a mess. It just looks different.”

Debbie Davis shared how churches in West Virginia united to start the “One Voice” ministry to help people of all ages fighting addictions.

She praised the churches in the Orleans County community for wanting to be part of helping people with addictions. The dozen church pastors took turns speaking at the service, and church-goers from several congregations attended the service, many with hands outstretched during the music.

“This doesn’t happen everywhere, people,” Davis told the group about the spirit of fellowship and unity among the churches. “This is special.”

About 300 people attended Sunday night’s “Awakening” service at Oak Orchard.

Several church leaders in the county have been getting together for about a decade to pray for a spiritual awakening in the county.

The church leaders recently formed PACT, Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation. The pastors and many of their church members get together regularly for prayer and ecumenical services.

The church last month showed the documentary, Appalachian Dawn, at the Albion Free Methodist Church. That documentary shows how churches took the lead in pushing the community in eastern Kentucky to fight the drug problem and help people get clean.

Davis, a middle school teacher, said the effort united churches and many in the community, and is now leading to spiritual fervor especially among high school students.

Davis said pastors and people from churches met every Saturday for 5 1/2 years before they saw the spiritual awakening in their communities.

She urged the community to pray, including for specific people who are wrestling addictions.

Several local pastors asked for God’s blessing on the community, especially for those feeling the hopelessness of poverty and addiction. The pastors also praised the work of local organizations, such as Care Net Center of Greater Orleans, Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern and Hands 4 Hope Orleans.