Mid-Ohio Valley pastors discuss addiction solutions

Photo Provided Tim Craft, founder of High On Hope Ministries in Parkersburg, speaks to pastors at a breakfast meeting Monday at 14th Avenue Gospel Mission Church in Parkersburg.

PARKERSBURG — Hosted by the 14th Avenue Gospel Mission Church on Monday, several pastors from the Mid-Ohio Valley gathered to hear about what they could do to help fight the addiction crisis this region is facing.

High On Hope Ministries founder Tim Craft challenged the churches to partner with the efforts of his ministry. They were informed about the problem but also invited to help bring the solution, Craft said.

Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens was also at the gathering and he spoke to the pastors about what he has seen the ministry do and the work he has seen accomplished.

The pastors were informed by Craft about the outreach efforts and treatment placement High On Hope does along with the possibility of the churches partnering with the ministry to bring a women’s facility to Parkersburg.

The pastors were also informed about the partnership the ministry has entered into with Land of Goshen Treatment Center to bring a men’s facility that can house 16 men in Malta, Ohio, Craft said.

The idea of the gathering in Parkersburg was to unite the churches together to work as one to try to defeat the drug problem here, Craft said.

Stories of freedom over addiction were shared by Craft and Julia Kempton, who spoke about the importance of having God and a strong faith family in their recovery.

Kempton also spoke about how the efforts of the ministry’s “Freedom Project” have helped to change her life, Craft said. That effort is a response team that works with some first responders in Belpre to help in a crisis, such as overdoses, and offer the addicted person a way out.

Craft said he hopes with these efforts “we can see a difference in our region. The churches had the opportunity to partner financially, have the ministry come speak to their congregations or have their church host an awareness breakfast to help spread the word that there is help available.”

Sheriff Stephens said Monday’s meeting went extremely well, with Pastor Tim Burch of the 14th Avenue Gospel Mission Church as the host. He estimated that 30-40 pastors from West Virginia and Ohio attended the meeting.

Stephens told the pastors that 363 overdose calls were received at the Wood County 911 Center in 2017. This does not include the ones transported to a hospital without individuals calling 911, he said.