Matt Roberts, pastor of Haleysburg Church of the Nazarene, and Donna Baughman, a member of Browntsown Church of the Nazarene, are starting new group meetings called HOPE, which stands for Helping Others and Praying for Everyone.
The first meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Brownstown Church of the Nazarene, 616 W. Commerce St., Brownstown.
Meetings will continue at the same time on the third Monday of each month.
“In a nutshell, we hope to offer hope, encouragement, prayer, support and information on what we can do as concerned citizens to help our community learn how and what we can do to help those who are struggling with such issues as addictions,” Baughman said.
Those addictions could include drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography and depression. A state group also is interested in sharing what can be done to better protect children and keep people informed on such things as sex trafficking, Baughman said.
Meetings will feature speakers who have either succeeded in rising above the addictions or possibly even those who are still struggling. It also could be a parent who has lost a child to drug addiction who just wants share about their child.
“Also, we want to invite law enforcement to our meetings so we can learn insights from them on how we can better help and encourage them as well as advice from them on how we can better support and help those who are struggling,” Baughman said.
The first meeting will feature someone who has struggled with drug addictions and lost his family and career due to the addiction. The man has been clean for a year and wants to share his story in any way he can to help others who are struggling.
During the second meeting, someone who has struggled with alcohol and pornography will speak.
“We are hoping to get some individuals from Teen Challenge to come and speak with us, also,” Baughman said of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for teenagers. “We also have a few other people lined up who have said they would be willing to share their stories because they want to help those who have been where they were.”
Each meeting will end with prayer.
“We want to pray for those who are struggling, pray for our community, pray for law enforcement and ourselves on how we can become more like God in reaching out to those who are struggling,” Baughman said.
“We have so many people who have been affected by these addictions,” she said. “It’s not only those who are doing them, but it affects family members, friends, workplaces, etc. Our heart hurts for all of those, and we just want to do something.”