BALTIMORE — Tuesday, June 23, 2015 will go down in East Baltimore’s architectural and religious history as the day the new and larger New Life Evangelical Baptist Church broke ground at the corner of East North and Milton Avenues.
The church, which will rise among rows of abandoned, boarded up houses in one of the inner city’s most economically depressed and heroin plagued neighborhoods, was hailed by church founder and pastor, Reverend Milton Emanuel Williams, Jr., as another “next step” in New Life’s mission to save both lives and souls by bringing hope and healing to those struggling in the “evil grip” of heroin.
When completed, the church building will accommodate over 500 New Life faithful, while also freeing up more space in their one-of-a-kind faith based Turning Point Methadone Treatment Clinic for patients seeking recovery from addiction. The clinic currently treats 2,000 addicts a day.
Reverend Williams told the gathering of parishioners and religious and government dignitaries at the ground breaking ceremony that he sees this move forward as an example of what can and should be done by his fellow ministers in the heroin war now raging in Maryland.
Reverend Williams pointed out that most churches in Baltimore and the state continue to exclude drug addicts and remain reluctant to welcome them into their congregations, while very few even offer spiritual counseling to those suffering from addiction.
“Envision with me, if you will, a day when all churches of every faith located in drug ravaged neighborhoods become Jacobs Ladders of helpful heavenly light leading the way to recovery,” Reverend Williams said. “And, God knows, our government leaders and law enforcement need our help more than ever as the heroin wave continues to crash over all of Maryland and all America. They correctly see that the real victims of drug abuse are the Community, the family, and the overburdened tax payer.”
He added that while some in the on-going heroin battle still fear that an effective approach to lasting recovery may never be found, the church’s treatment clinic has found one way out of addiction that actually works: Methadone treatment combined with spiritual counseling is truly a Godsend.
“Therefore,” he added, “Religious leaders throughout this state and nation should not be surprised to learn, as we have, that the first step toward recovery from drug addiction is often through a church door.”