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New Jersey church hosts ‘Addiction & Recovery’ program

Attendees examine one of the Stations of the Cross at St. John’s. Photo/Sharon Sheridan Hausman

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boonton, N.J. on April 1 hosted a program called “Addiction & Recovery: A journey of remembrance, awareness and hope” that featured a memorial to lives lost, Narcan overdose training and religious art.

The four-hour event highlighted the tragic human cost of addiction and provided resources for recovery and support and opportunities for spiritual reflection.

The Black Poster Project, a New Jersey addiction and overdose awareness group, displayed about 75 posters selected from its collection of more than 600 that memorialize lives lost to addiction.

Stations of the Cross, created by church members and area artists in conjunction with the poster project to reflect on the crisis of addiction, were exhibited in the parish hall. The Stations trace Jesus’ steps in his final hours as he is sentenced to death, crucified and buried.

Morris County’s Hope One van, which offers critical support for those struggling with addiction, was outside the church from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. to provide Narcan training and other resources. Hope One travels throughout the county to bring services to people in need. It is staffed by a sheriff’s officer, a licensed mental-health professional and a certified peer-recovery specialist.

The Black Poster Project, displayed at St. John’s. Photo/Sharon Sheridan Hausman

“With this event, we hope to raise awareness about a crisis many of us might prefer to ignore. We want to put a human face on the problem of addiction and also to provide resources for recovery and hope,” said the Rev. Sharon Sheridan Hausman, St. John’s priest-in-residence.

“U.S. government agencies report that 107,000 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12 months ending in January 2022,” she said. “Such numbers can seem abstract and overwhelming.

“The posters in this exhibit help us look into the eyes of individual souls lost to this ongoing health crisis. The Stations of the Cross offer an opportunity to reflect on it from a spiritual viewpoint. We remember the suffering Jesus endured, and take comfort in knowing he walks beside us in our suffering today. Most importantly, we remember the lesson of Jesus’ resurrection – that there is always hope!”

Hausman will lead a Way of the Cross worship service using the uniquely designed stations at noon on Good Friday, April 7. The Stations also will be open for viewing, prayer and reflection from April 4 to April 15.

For more information, contact St. John’s at admin@stjohnsboonton.org or 973-334-3655.

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