Column: Seeking Voices Of Faith, People Of Faith

Dear Readers:

You may have noticed something different on this page over the last few weeks. The “Ask A Pastor” column is no more, but it has not disappeared so much as undergone a renovation – in its place is “Faith Perspectives.” See Page A10 for this week’s edition, online here.

Voices of Faith Needed

The change of the title marks a subtle but important change in the format of the column, said the Rev.  Beverly Kahle, pastor at St. Paul’s UCC in Nashville and president of the Washington County Ministerial Alliance.

No longer will the columns be a carousel of area clergy answering the same question in different ways. Now, members of our faith community can write about whatever they would like to write about, in whatever way they would like to write about it.

If a subject or perspective interests a pastor they can write a single week’s column about it – or write an ongoing series.

They could generalize, do variations on a theme, or just really pick apart a single passage of Scripture. It’s up to them, and the format no longer has to be just based around a question.

While our regular column authors are members of the Washington County Ministerial Alliance, with this change in format it will be much simpler to accept submissions from any of the area’s clergy, without requiring a long-term commitment from them, or “working them into the rotation” around the monthly questions.

If any area clergy would like to write a single column or series, they are welcome to do so. If anyone has an idea for something but doesn’t know how to put it together, please get in touch and we can work on bringing your idea to the page.

I would very much like to see this space take an expanding role in giving voice to Washington County’s faith community.

If there are any questions or submissions for this column or for the Ministerial Alliance, they can be submitted to The Nashville News under the subject “Faith Perspectives” at news@nashnews.net

People Of Faith Needed

The next part of this particular letter also concerns the faith community.  It’s a request for both aid and ideas regarding a different issue altogether – the heroin problem.

This week I’ve published the second part of a story called “The Heroin Project,” the name of a documentary film which was screened in Nashville and Okawville and discussions about combating the heroin epidemic in Washington County.

Please read the articles, or better yet, watch the film or check out a future public screening of it– there’s talk of another one soon and we will publish the date, time and location for that when we have it.

The summary of the request is simple though the problem is not. But there are a a lot of things that can be done to help fight this heroin problem, and there are a lot of things that churches and the faith community in particular can do.

Some of these ideas are things that were mentioned at The Heroin Project meeting. These things would come naturally to churches: helping people get back on their feet, helping them get transportation to meetings or jobs, helping someone in recovery stay accountable to something greater than themselves, helping to show folks a better way.

There are other things that churches can do too though – things that nobody at the meeting thought of, that haven’t occurred to me. These would be your ideas, things that YOUR church, or YOU YOURSELF in particular can do – or things that we can all do, either as individuals or corporately.

When it comes to this heroin problem in particular or even mental health, addiction or public health problems in general, rural southern Illinois just doesn’t have the population, doesn’t have the money, for the same kind of recovery and mental health resources that an urban area might take for granted.

What we do have is a lot of people who are able and willing to help, and a lot of people who know that everybody chipping in gets things done.

I’m not suggesting that any single act is going to be a magic bullet here, but all these little acts together can start to make a dent in a serious problem, and  (please read the story here), but we are all open to ideas when it comes to this thing – because every day that it’s out there is another day when it could claim someone’s life.

So as above, if you want to get involved, get in touch with us. There was a contact list for people involved with combating the heroin problem in this column’s space in the May 17 edition of The Nashville News and it’s reprinted at the end of the continued article in this edition of the paper, on pages A1 and A2, and online here.

As above too, you can get in touch with me here at news@nashnews.net, and just put “Heroin Project” on your email subject line.

        –Alex Haglund, Managing Editor