Jay Hanson has seen the deadly power of addiction. The pastor of the Chapel in Brunswick even lost friends recently to the growing opioid crisis.
“I had a couple of friends that died from overdoses and it tore me up,” he said.
“Then I started getting more knowledgable about it. This is an epidemic, we are going on 60,000 people who died last year opioid overdoses. That’s how many are dying every year in the country.”
Hanson felt compelled to do something to help. And, as fate would have it, that very opportunity presented itself. Roughly six months ago, Hanson and his staff were approached by the Methodist organization about taking on a church that had recently closed its doors.
That was the former Blythe Island United Methodist Church, 6326 Blythe Island Hwy., in Brunswick.
“The church had closed out there but it had a good, long history ... but I guess it just ran its course,” he said.
“The Methodist denomination asked if we’d like to assume the property and run a ministry there. At first, I wasn’t interested in doing that. It had some significant debt.”
But Hanson had a change of heart. Instead, he decided to go for it and devote this particular location to helping those suffering from addiction.
“We decided that we had to do something with the complex. So we started a new campus over there that focuses on being a place where people in recovery or who are dealing with those issues can go,” he said.
That place is The Chapel’s Grace campus. Hanson says, that while anyone is welcome to attend services there, those struggling with addition or abuse have a special home at the center.
“It is a new campus over there with a real heart for people in recorder or who are dealing with those issues. It is a place that they are accepted, valued and wanted,” he said. “Of course, we have our regular services there as well and there shouldn’t be any stereotypes about going there. It will be a full-fledged church. But it will have a special heart for people in recovery.”
The church has already hosted a number of small groups focused on recovery. But it will open its doors to the whole of the community at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. That will allow visitors and guests a chance to become acquainted with the new mission.
“The community has been very supportive so far. We have a large recovery community in our area in fact we had a cook out with 150 people not too long ago out there,” he said. “We just want everyone to come out and see what we have planned. We will officially launch Sept. 24. We just want everyone come be a part of the solution.”
And he hopes that, as they continue to spread the word, more and more groups will want to use the space for meetings.
“We welcome any small groups out there to come out and meet here. We want it to be a hub for the community groups ... even Weight Watchers, just any groups associated with recovery efforts. We welcome those,” he said.