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About the UU Addictions Ministry: Our Mission

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Addictions Ministry is called to walk together with congregations and religious professionals to educate individuals, families, congregations and communities about the suffering caused by addiction.

Our purpose in doing this ministry is to transform cultures of misuse and abuse into cultures of healing, wholeness, and health.

History of the UU Addictions Ministry

The UUA Addictions Ministry grew out of the work of the Rev. Denis Meacham, author of the Skinner House book, The Addiction Ministry Handbook: a Guide for Faith Communities.

Denis recognized the effects of addictions on individuals, families, and the larger congregational community. Meacham envisioned a congregation-based program to identify and support individual members affected by drug, alcohol and other addictions. Rev. Meacham was a persistent, early voice in holding up addiction and recovery as issues often neglected by faith communities in general and Unitarian Universalism in particular. Through his encouragement, a group of activists from throughout the United States met in Chicago in April 2006. These early steps to convene a national group were supported by the UUA and the Rev. Dr. Michelle Bentley, then Professional Development Director of the UUA Department of Ministry and Professional Leadership.

In 2008, the group, by then known as the Addictions Ministry Task Force, met in Boston under the leadership of the Rev. Alex Holt and the Rev. Jory Agate, UUA Ministerial Development Director. One result of that meeting was a collective commitment to call for a unified, UUA-endorsed, staff and lay-led Addictions Ministry Committee. Since then, the Addictions Ministry has grown and continues to gain entry into Unitarian Universalist districts and congregations. The Addictions Ministry is committed to supporting individuals, families, congregations, districts, and communities in facing the challenges of addiction and the hope of recovery as affirming of our Seven Principles and the UU Sources

Team Members

Harriet Altman, Member of Church of the Larger Fellowship

Sarah Gettie Burks, Resident Chaplain, Alegent Health, Omaha, NE

Rev. Dr. Russell K. Elleven, Minister, Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, Fort Worth, TX

Rev. Dr. Nancy Holden, Community Minister, Recovery Network of River Falls, WI, affiliated with Unitarian Universalist Society of River Falls

Dr. Therissa Libby, Lay Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD and Principal, The T.A. Libby Group

Rev. Denis Meacham, author of The Addiction Ministry Handbook: a Guide for Faith Communities.

Rev. Barbara Meyers, Community Minister, Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Fremont, CA

Bill Zelazny, District Executive, Ballou/Channing District; Staff Liaison to the Addictions Ministry Team

Copyright 2010, UU Addictions Ministry

Rev. Denis Meacham

See Contact Us for contact information for members of our team.