The Center of Addiction & Faith is a movement of God’s Spirit, to open the church and other faith communities to better understand the extensive ramifications of addiction of every kind, and how to respond. Addiction in all its manifestations has been classified as a legitimate disease. It is also widely acknowledge there is a distinct spiritual facet of the disease that is not fully understood—but much needed for healing and recovery. We believe faith communities can bring a great deal of healing power to this problem, if they to strive to understand it better, and respond more faithfully. We fervently believe all would be greatly enriched by doing so.
Our Mission - Our Vision
Educating Clergy, Faith Communities and Caregivers About Addiction
Offering the hope of recovery to the addicted, and to those who love them.
We are spearheading a movement encouraging faith communities to finally wake up and understand the true nature of addiction, and its impacts on us all. We want to rejoice in seeing people in recovery sharing their stories, giving them permission to open their hearts, and share their own struggles in life. We see a transformation of faith communities becoming more fully places of welcome, educated understanding, hope, encouragement and healing for all.
Our Goals and Objectives
The primary goal of The Center of Addiction & Faith is to create a nation-wide, ecumenical, interfaith ministry designed to educate, inspire, and equip spiritual leaders and faith communities to better understand addiction in all of its manifestations. In addition, to teach them to respond with faithful and appropriate compassion and care. This national ministry will establish itself through outreach to clergy, spiritual leaders, faith communities, addiction treatment facilities, hospitals, mental health providers, and the recovering community.
The highlight of the ministry is the annual Addiction & Faith Conference, which has already reached leaders from 14 different denominations, 32 states and Canada. Spring boarding from this foundation, the ministry is developing resources and partnerships, as well as an online website presence that will continue to provide up-to-date education, resources, tools, and guidance to those looking for knowledge and support.
Our Purpose and Guiding Values
Congregations across the country have an abundance of individuals of all ages in recovery, who attend and participate in the life of the church. However, they are largely silent about the salvation they have experienced from the bonds of addiction. Their stories are the story of God’s saving work in their life’s, and need to be heard. When Jesus healed the demoniac, he begged to follow Jesus, but Jesus said no,
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).
Imagine how many lives that demoniac went on to save by sharing his story of God’s healing. Imagine the transformative healing power that would be unleashed, if those recovering in silence began to share their stories openly in their faith communities across the country.
Congregations should be places where those suffering from addiction can find compassion, guidance, and support. God has created them to be places of welcome, educated understanding, encouragement and healing. The Center of Addiction & Faith’s ultimate goal is to reach clergy, congregational leaders, and those in recovery with the tools, inspiration, and guidance they need to provide hope and healing ministries, for them and their loved ones.
The Holy Spirit encourages addicts of every kind to turn to their place of worship to find answers, compassion, and community. Too often they find very little help, due to lack of knowledge and understanding. The Center of Addiction & Faith is an organization created and called by God, to offer solutions to congregations and their leaders to assist those who suffer.
How We Share God’s Abiding Love
Complete Unconditional Love and Acceptance
This is the firm conviction that every single living soul is a child of God. God’s gift to them is that they are saved for eternity, no matter what they believe, do, don’t do, or say. Eternal salvation is granted to every soul whether they know it or not. God loves everyone, has saved everyone, and calls us to love everyone above all else.
“Our Father’s love is sacrificial and unconditional. It is overwhelming and welcoming. His unconditional love for each of us runs so deep that we are called children of God. Because of His love, you are God’s child.” –Romans 3:23
God loves and welcomes all, period…
Authenticity and Vulnerability
Because we are saved and loved unconditionally by God, we no longer have to live in shame. We can be open with ourselves, with who we are, and what our brokenness is. This is the true freedom of the Gospel, to live justified and free. We no longer live in fear of judgement from God, and through education, from our neighbors either. We no longer need to hide behind masks, pretend to be something or someone we are not. We can finally be ourselves without fear.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
With God’s help, our strength is made perfect in weakness. Being authentic and vulnerable means admitting we are not strong, but weak sinners. We know God loves us despite all our weaknesses. We further realize that by being open and authentic, and inviting others to be the same, that there is no more pretending or hypocrisy.
When we are authentic and vulnerable, we are more able to show compassion and understanding. Compassion is the natural response and state of those living in the grace of God’s unconditional love. From this love comes great levels of compassion and understanding, which is a great gift to those who live in shame and fear.
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made”. —Psalm 145:8-9
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” -Ephesians 4:32
The love of Jesus is demonstrated throughout his life and ministry, in that no matter where he travelled, he was drawn to those who suffered. His compassion led him to those on the margins. He let nothing keep him from caring for those who needed it most—not even the threat of death.
Nobody fully understands God, and our theologies can only scratch the surface of comprehension. We can only see dimly. Theological humility begins with the acknowledgement of our sinfulness and limitations. It begins by saying, “God, here is what I believe, and here is why I believe what I believe. I am open to correction.” Theological humility does not claim a corner on the truth, but is open to new ideas and new ways to think about God. It is not ignorance, but rather honest, sincere, and a serious reflection from our understanding of scripture, and of our life experience about who God is and how God works.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” –Proverbs 11:12
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” -Psalm 34:18.
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
Philippians 2:5-11 tells us: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Ultimately, humility is understanding that our sole purpose and calling in life is to use ourselves and all that God has given us. This is achieved by elevating others by encouraging them, lifting them up, blessing them, and saving them.
The Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy (FRLC) is a national fellowship with the mission to support clergy in recovery and in need of support. It also advocates for good health policies around addiction.
As clergy we believe faith communities are in an ideal position to make a significant difference in healing addiction, and yet they do very little to address it. For way too long, religions of every kind have avoided this issue, and it’s time to stepped up. We want to help teach them what they can do.
In 2018, in response to the opioid epidemic (the biggest health crisis facing our country at the time), the FRLC held a conference to teach faith leaders more about addiction, and how their communities can better respond. We pulled together the best scientists and theologians on the topic, and prayed we would get at least 50 local leaders to attend. We were pleasantly surprised when we had to cut off the registration at 200, and had leaders from 22 states and 7 denominations (including a Pastor from Canada) attend the conference. Our second conference in 2019 was even a greater success! We had an significant increase in attendees, with 34 states represented (and another Canadian Pastor) and 12 denominations.
Spring-boarding from highly successful annual Conferences, and continuous interest in healing addiction, The Center of Addiction & Faith was born. The Center of Addiction & Faith provides a desperately needed resource for faith communities, healthcare professionals, and those struggling with, or in recovery. The Center of Addiction & Faith plans to continue to feature an annual conference. The Center offers a robust website that is evolving with up-to-date education, guidance, tools, best practices, and wisdom from industry leaders on addiction.
We believe the time is now! We imagine a whole army of caregivers out there waiting to be shown what to do. We believe The Center of Addiction & Faith has been called to lead this movement.
Addiction is the number one preventable killer of people of every age, race, and nation. We can never stop it, but we can reduce it, and mitigate the terrible impacts on families and communities. We ask that you will share this opportunity with some who might be interested. We can save lives, with the faith communities help.
Rev. Dr. Ed Treat
“I’ve been many places in life. Spiritually I’ve been all over the map – my faith is being transformed continuously. I was a full-blown drug addict the first third of my life, then an ordained pastor for the second third, and now God is calling me to be an addiction crusader.” Learn More About Pastor Ed
Board of Directors
The Center of Addiction & Faith
is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
All donations to this mission are tax deductible
Rev. Dr. Ed Treat
Rev. Dr. Ed Treat has an M.Div. and D.Min from Luther Seminary, and has been a parish pastor for 25 years. He has served four different congregations, including one he started as a mission developer.
In 1990 he joined the newly formed Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy (FRLC), a non-profit joint effort between pastors of the LCMS and ELCA to provide recovery support to professional clergy and their families. In 2001 Pastor Ed became the director of the FRLC, and has been its leader for the past 19 years.
In 2018/2019 Rev. Dr. Treat (with the support of the FRLC and in partnership of the Recovery Ministries of the Episcopalian Church – RMEC), launched the highly successful Addiction & Faith Conference to educate, inspire and equip congregations in addiction ministry.
Rev. Dr. Treat currently serves on the Boards of the FRLC, RMEC, and The Center of Addiction & Faith.
Rev. Dr. Treat is blessed to have 24 years of recovery from addiction.
D. Richard Wright
Mr. Wright is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Bear Clan, Pillager Band. He was raised on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in North-Central Minnesota.
Mr. Wright attended the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Community Technical College, and the Archbishop Harry F. Flynn Catechetical Institute, Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota.
He is Licensed as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor with the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Therapy. He has an active interest in drug addiction, as he has worked in the field since 1986. Mr. Wright started his career in the Hennepin County, MN 4th Judicial District Court, adult probation, and has since worked in residential treatment programs including Hazelden-Betty Ford as a clinician.
Mr. Wright has spoken on both an International and National level on drug studies. He has authored three books, “Mukwa and Adjidamoo”, “The Way of Our People”, and “From Wine To Mouthwash”.
Mr. Wright is currently a supervisor of drug addiction programs at the Indian Health Board, and is also a consultant in the Chemical dependency field.
Mr. Wright is the proud father of nine children, eighteen grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Rev. Sharp is Executive Director of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, which mobilizes clergy nationally to end the war on drugs.
He served for fifteen years as the founding executive director of Protestants for the Common Good, an Illinois-based faith advocacy organization. He was also Vice President for business and finance at the University of Chicago from 1980 through 1993.
Rev. Sharp graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1996. He became an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ in 2007.
Rev. Dr. Sonia Waters , Ph.D
Rev. Dr. Waters , Ph.D. is an Episcopal priest, and a Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
She holds a Ph.D. from Princeton Seminary, a M. Div. from The General Theological Seminary in New York City, and a B.A. from Wheaton College in Illinois.
Rev. Dr. Waters, PhD served in parish ministry in New York and New Jersey. Her current research and teaching focuses on addictions with her book, “Addiction and Pastoral Care”.
She has a growing fascination with embodiment, spiritual practices, and the incarnation in response to our ever-growing addictive culture. Her broader teaching interests include attachment and family systems theories, relational perspectives on the self, and feminist and womanist pastoral theologies.
Timothy McMahan King
Mr. King is a nonprofit professional, and the owner of Vagabond Strategies. He is a writer, and author of the book “Addiction Nation”. His work has been published in Christianity Today, Sojourners, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal.
Mr. King has worked as a community organizer in Chicago, a Chief Strategy Officer with Sojourners, and as a consultant for The Center for Action and Contemplation.
Mr. King is a graduate of North Park University with degrees in both theology and philosophy. He lives with his wife, Hannah, in New Hampshire.
Rev. Brian C. Herron
Rev. Herron was ordained in 2006, and currently serves as Pastor at Zion Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. He is also a Mental Health First Aide Instructor for Youth and Adults, and a Trauma Trainer for Sidran Institute Risking Connection Program.
Rev. Herron is a former Minneapolis City Council-member, is active in the community, and is an advocate for justice and increasing peace in the Twin Cities.
Rev. Thomas Scornavacchi
Rev. Scornavacchi was ordained in 2010, and is a Pastor and mission developer for Common Ground Recovery Communities in Wyomissing, Reading, and Douglassville, PA.
He is passionate about creating authentic faith communities that welcome diversity, foster intimacy, embrace vulnerability, and celebrate God’s love for all of creation.
Rev. Scornavacchi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Health and Addiction Studies from Alvernia University, and a Master of Divinity from The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.
Mr. Brooks is the Executive Director of Faith Partners, a non-profit organization providing leadership, administration, and training for a congregational addiction team ministry model.
He has worked in the prevention, treatment, and public health fields for over thirty-four years. Mr. Brooks has worked with Hazelden, Johnson Institute, and other organizations providing training, and has consulted with faith communities, schools, and community organizations across the country.
The Center of Addiction & Faith is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. All donations to this ministry are tax deductible.
The Founding Board for the Center of Addiction & Faith