Day of Hope is a Matter of Faith

Shown announcing the Wheeling Day of Hope events set for Saturday are from left, Wheeling Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday; the Rev. Joel Richter from Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church; Bethany Goddard, substance abuse prevention coordinator,Youth Services System Inc.; and Rabbi Joshua Lief from Temple Shalom.

WHEELING — Hopelessness comes from feeling alone. Wheeling Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday offered that sentiment during a press conference Monday to announce local events to mark the fifth annual West Virginia Day of Hope, a statewide initiative to bring faith communities together to promote, educate and advocate for substance abuse recovery and prevention.

The Wheeling Day of Hope will begin with the Day of Hope March at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wheeling City-County Building, 15th and Chapline streets, where participants will march north on Chapline Street to Fourth Street United Methodist Church. There the church will sponsor an interfaith service at 1 p.m. All are invited.

Also speaking during the press conference, held at Youth Services System in Wheeling, were Rabbi Joshua Lief from Temple Shalom in Wheeling, and the Rev. Joel Richter, pastor at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mozart. Bethany Goddard, substance abuse prevention coordinator with YSS, facilitated the press conference.

Lief, who directs the oldest and largest Jewish community in West Virginia, said all faith communities know the impact of the opioid crisis in the Ohio Valley.

“All of us agree there is a need to reach out to all who are ill, especially from addiction. The Day of Hope reaches across the lines of congregations. … It’s time to do something instead of nothing,” Lief said.

Scatterday emphasized the need for a team effort to battle the addiction problems that afflict so many in the local area. She said she has had struggles in her life but overcame them knowing “someone was walking alongside of me.”

She issued “a call to action this weekend.”

Richter said he has been involved in counseling people with addictions for the past seven to eight years. He said it is key to dispel the stigma associated with addiction.

“Stigma is a big issue. Addiction is a disease. … We got into this one person at a time and we will get out of it one person at a time,” Richter said.

He praised the various organizations working locally to offer resources to those people battling addiction and their families.

Saturday’s events are the continued collaboration of the Community Impact Coalition & West Virginia Council of Churches. It is typically celebrated the third weekend in September. The month of September is recognized nationally as Recovery Month. Youth Services System is the fiscal and administrative agent of the Community Impact Coalition.

Keeping with the theme, Christ United Methodist Church in Wheeling will host the Day of Hope Memorial Spaghetti Dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 21. Proceeds will benefit the Will Ruberg Service Scholarship at Wheeling University; the House of Carpenter serving those in need in the greater Wheeling area; and the Community Made Serenade to support drug-free and healthy lifestyles.

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