By: Jeremy Crawford, DSC Communications Assistant Editor
To combat addiction and substance abuse, members of Sunrise United Methodist Church are holding weekly recovery gatherings that are accessible to people of all faiths.
Over 1800 people have perished from drug overdoses in Arizona so far this year, making it one of the leading causes of death in the US. Since meetings and interpersonal contact are what keep many members of recovery sober through difficult times, the absence of access to meetings caused many addicts to lose crucial tools for sobriety during this period. Determined to provide hope in the community, Sunrise UMC members, Art and Charles joined forces to restart a longtime tradition of recovery meetings at the church.
Art Erb and Charles Taylor have contributed years of service to their peers in recovery, amassing over 50 years of sobriety combined. Art has been a longtime member of Sunrise UMC and initially became involved with the church by helping with its youth program, which provided a weekly public safe space for children of all faiths. He eventually teamed up with Charles Taylor, a successful former director of multiple sober living facilities, to revive weekly sessions throughout the pandemic. Together, the gentlemen host meetings every week, providing attendees with multiple tools for recovery, while strengthening relationships with God. Charles says, “It is important to acknowledge the power of community gatherings. These meetings give people hope and we are witnessing God’s work every day that one takes place.”
Sunrise UMC now offers weekly meetings for other recovery communities, including Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous. The Speaker Recovery Worship service on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM has seen the fastest growing audience as it offers a special experience involving a devotional, testimony, prayers, candle lighting, and sharing. In addition, participants are given the special opportunity to receive communion once every month. Art says, “By being inclusive to members of all beliefs, we can expand the recovery community’s access to God by emphasizing the importance of the second step of recovery – which is about connecting with a power greater than ourselves.” The weekly meetings schedule for Sunrise UMC can be found at sunrisephx.org/recovery-groups.
Sunrise UMC continues to make an impact by welcoming all those seeking a better life and connection with God. As Art and Charles continue to extend a helping hand to members of the community, the church’s recovery worship service gathers more people as a result of spreading its message of inclusivity and hope. All meetings hosted by Sunrise UMC are open to the public. Email Reverend Donna Hughes or Art Erb if you would like to learn more or make a donation to their recovery network.
Sunrise United Methodist Church is located in Phoenix, Arizona, and is led by Rev. Donna Hughes, a retired ordained pastor in the Iowa Annual Conference of the UMC. Sunrise offers weekly worship services every Sunday at 10:00 AM and provides Adult Ministries in addition to Recovery Groups. The church’s office hours are Mondays through Wednesdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Phone Number: (623) 780-1008
Office Email: email@example.com
Rev. Donna’s Email (Pastor): firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Erb (Meeting/Worship Coordinator): email@example.com