First Interfaith Celebration and Memorial for Victims of Overdose Will Take Place Today in Providence

Providence’s landmark church founded by Roger Williams, will serve as the host site today (Thursday, June 29th) for a special program to honor victims of addiction and overdose.

Faith Infused Recovery Efforts (FIRE) and clergy from local churches, temples and mosques will sponsor a memorial event to celebrate the 1250 Rhode Islanders who have passed away from addiction and overdose in the last five years. “The drug war and access to treatment continue to

“The drug war and access to treatment continue to disproportionately destroy the lives of the poor. All faith traditions are called by their higher Wisdoms to address preventable suffering with compassion and ingenuity.”  FIRE is heeding the words of Rev. Dr. Don Anderson, executive minister for the RI State Council of Churches.

Our 90-minute program “United: An Evening of Hope and Remembrance,” will begin at 7PM at the church and is the first interfaith memorial ceremony of its kind in the country for victims of overdose. Spiritual leaders from several faith traditions will share prayers, wisdom, and music.

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In remembrance, at 8 pm, church bells across the State will ring and after a moment of silence, the names of those who have died from an overdose and shared by their loved ones will be read aloud.

The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with food, refreshments and access to resources and members from RICARES, Anchor Recovery, Parent Support Network, The Providence Center, Prevent Overdose and Naloxone Intervention (PONI), COAAST, Rhode Island Department of Health, Blessing Way, and CODAC who are supporting FIRE’s mission of hope and remembrance and providing resources for community members.

FIRE is under the umbrella of RI Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RICARES), and consists of representatives from Catholic Diocese of Providence, the RI State Council of Churches, The Episcopal Diocese, Parent Support Network, Anchor Recovery, and community members dedicated to supporting folks in recovery and those who care for them.

“We know that there is evil in the world and the overdose epidemic is evidence of this as we endure the spiritual battle between the forces of life and death” notes Deacon John Silvia of St. Barnabas Church in Portsmouth who is also the Clergy representative on the St. Matthias Ministry for Addiction and Alcoholism of the Diocese of Providence.