VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/4/16)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries announces its mission focus theme for 2016-2017, “See…the Suffering: Drug Addiction.” Building on the 2015-2017 ministry focus “See…,” and in response to the increase in drug abuse and addiction in the United States, the mission focus provides American Baptist women and girls the opportunity to explore this critical issue, especially its impact upon women and girls, and how our faith calls us to respond.
According to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 deaths of women from prescription painkiller overdose has increased 400%, compared to a 265% increase in men during the same time period. The report states that approximately 18 women die of a prescription painkiller overdose every day (6,600 deaths in 2010). The rate of emergency room visits from prescription painkiller misuse or abuse has increased most for women between the ages of 25-54, and women ages 45-54 have the highest risk of dying from a prescription painkiller overdose. Given the statistics, and including family and friend relationships, it is likely that women in our congregations are either struggling with addictions themselves or have been impacted by the struggles of a loved one.
This mission focus will be supported by information and resources listed on the AB Women’s Ministries website (www.abwministries.org/missionfocus) and updated throughout the year, and through a virtual mission encounter scheduled for October 3-7, 2016. Additionally, articles related to the theme will be published in AB Women’s Ministries’ newsletter “Leader’s Reader,” and through AB Women’s Ministries’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
AB Women’s Ministries Executive Director Virginia Holmstrom said, “I applaud our national board for once again openly addressing an issue that doesn’t get talked a lot about in church. By raising awareness of the high incidence of drug addiction in the United States, American Baptist women and girls can be empowered through information and resources to offer support to friends and family members and to seek help if needed.” Holmstrom referenced a similarly-sensitive topic—domestic violence—AB Women’s Ministries addressed in 2015. “Our congregations include those who are hurting and don’t feel safe enough at church to ask for help. Christians bleed too, and are afraid to let the stain show. The Church must meet people where they are.”
For more information, contact Virginia Holmstrom, 1-800-ABC-3USA extension 2284.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God. For more information about American Baptist Women’s Ministries, visit www.abwministries.org.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.