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Thanks for this outline Andy, a great reminder to all church diaconate's as we start out the new year. May the spirit lead and guide us as we serve to lead in our communities, churches and gatherings in 2019!

Thanks for this great starter list. With the encouragement to do a little digging I was happy to learn about a wide spectrum of care and programs available. It would be great if there was more of them but programs ranged from complete abstinence to moderated harm reduction models. One, that some of my friends are involved with and testify to being very meaningful in their lives, is called Celebrate Recovery. And if you are a reader and like biographies, From the Ashes - by Jesse Thistle, is an emotionally difficult read but very eye opening reality to the injustice around this topic. 


Thanks for the honest and open conversation on this topic. Another slightly different angle to AA that I have heard some really positive things about is Celebrate Recovery. I walk with a group of brothers that attend CR meetings and they say it has changed their life and Christian walk. Either way, I appreciate the thoughts shared and agree we need to be compassionate, listening and walking in love.

I am currently reading (and enjoying a lot) Living in Color by Randy Woodley. I enjoy his writing and he is also a great speaker too. I recently read Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle and it was an inspiring book of redemptive love towards a group of hard to love people, gang members and criminals. He now has a follow up called Barking to the Choir which is on my to read list now for sure. If you are interested in restorative justice practices at all, I would highly recommend his book.

Short version: Learning tours, documentaries and discussions! 

One thing that I have recently participated in was a learning tour to Mexico with a group called Quest Mexico ( We were immersed in a different culture and got to hear about some global systems of injustice that many Mexican people face. We heard first hand stories about the history, economics and political systems and how they affected the people. Local Mexicans shared the kinds of oppression they face on a daily basis and we were able to hear about larger picture systems in a different context than our own. We are more connected to Mexico than I had previously given much thought to and I learned a lot of things that our media and governments do not tell the average American. It is something I will be able to share with churches and diaconates in the near future. It is also something that we can practically do anywhere we are, as our motto for the time there was "See, Judge, Act." (With Judge meaning question/reflect/evaluate). A good motto for deacons, looking at systems and injustices.

We have a benevolence fund for members at my church called the "Family Support Fund" but we still call it a benevolence fund and when talking to recipients, we explain the meaning and purpose behind it. I would tend to agree with other comments here about not needing to change the word but emphasizing more of a need for explanation and education. Things like money and gifts are not meant to just be handouts and should be accompanied by an extension, to both the receiving and giving parties, to build relationships and disciple/mentor each other.

Jesse Edgington, NADC

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