A one-day conference designed to educate members of the local faith community on how to respond to the opioid crisis will be held this Wednesday at Good News Gathering south of Hillsboro, organizers said Monday.
The Equipping Conference, now in its second year, will include workshops on a variety of topics related to the opioid crisis, such as medically assisted treatment, sober living facilities, human trafficking, drug prevention, trauma care and the science of addiction, and offer members of the faith community opportunities for getting more involved, according to Heather Gibson, CEO of REACH for Tomorrow.
REACH, which stands for Restoring, Educating, Advocating, Collaborating and Hope, is a Greenfield nonprofit that has helped facilitate a number of local events and initiatives aimed at reducing drug abuse and raising awareness of other societal issues here.
Gibson said Darryl Strawberry, the former pro baseball player and pastor slated to give the keynote address at the conference, withdrew from the event recently to focus on developing a ministry facility in Florida.
Instead of Strawberry, Christian singer Michael English will serve as the keynote speaker on Wednesday, Gibson said.
Gibson said English will speak about his personal struggles with addiction and redemption.
“He has a pretty powerful testimony,” she said.
English will also perform a free concert at Good News Gathering Tuesday from 7-9 p.m., according to Gibson.
Theresa Flores, a victim of human trafficking, will be the opening speaker at the event Wednesday morning.
Gibson said Flores “has a real passion for equipping people… to see the signs they need to watch for,” to prevent human trafficking.
“Her story took place in an affluent suburb outside Detroit,” Gibson said. “For people to think this just happens in poor communities or urban areas is simply not true.”
The event will include roundtable discussions and informative workshops by various community members and experts in related fields, according to Gibson.
Speakers include Dr. Beth Delaney, Tessa Miracle, Amy Willmann, Danielle Ratcliff, Kelly Mettler, Amy Hutchinson, Greg Delaney, Jessica Gunwin and Gibson.
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Registration and worship begin at 8 a.m.
Christian musical group Timbre Hitch will lead worship.
To register online and view a schedule of events, visit www.reachfortomorrowohio.org.
The only cost associated with the event is a $10 lunch ticket, Gibson said. The meal will be catered by Ponderosa.
“I think people aren’t used to having this caliber of opportunity in their backyard, so I encourage people to take advantage of it,” Gibson said. “It’s not every day you get to hear from folks like this for $10, and certainly not when you only have to drive across town.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.