(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Empower Tusc is once again partnering with local churches across denominations in a collaborative effort to bring hope to communities impacted by challenges related to mental health and drug addiction.
On Sunday, September 25, 2022, every church in Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties is encouraged to participate in Hope Sunday. The event creates a unique opportunity to come together as one in a common goal of finding hope. The event is an opportunity to generate more awareness for areas of concern in our local communities. It also acknowledges the critical role that local churches and community members play in bringing hope and light to those hurting and struggling.
This year’s Hope Sunday video will inform our faith community about legislation and a pending ballot initiative in 2023 attempting to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Understanding this issue is vitally important as our communities are already battling drug addiction. Legalization of marijuana for recreational use will increase drug availability in our communities, and with legalization comes commercialization, which will usher in more potent marijuana products that will be appealing to our youth. It is important to educate our faith community that the cannabis industry (a $32 billion for profit industry of addiction) has been messaging that the legalization of marijuana is inevitable. Messages will continue to be received from the cannabis industry that are meant to decrease perception of harm, normalize marijuana use, and minimize the emerging research on the negative effects experienced by states that have legalized marijuana.
This year’s video will share messages from Tuscarawas County leaders as well as stories from persons in recovery about how marijuana use at a young age was the on-ramp for their battle with drug addiction. In addition, it will help persons understand the negative impact legalization will have on our youth, vulnerable populations, and overall, on our communities. This is a complicated and multifaceted issue, and our intent is to provide education and clarity on the realities of this problem. Our wish for this year’s Hope Sunday video and resources is that our faith community will gain a better understanding that legalization is only inevitable if we take no action.
Participating churches will receive all of the resources needed to share the information with their communities. Resources include the five-minute video that they are asked to share with their congregations, a brief script that can be used before or after the video, bulletin inserts that include prayer requests related to addiction and a list of local resources available.
115 churches across Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties participated in HOPE Sunday in 2021.
Churches interested in participating are asked to contact Jodi Salvo at (330) 440-7320 to receive more information and materials.