Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Churches' response to addictions focus for seminary's annual health conference

PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 19, 2008) – Addictions come in many forms, and many church leaders are not comfortable with the church’s response to addictions.

Hence, this year’s annual Health Ministry Conference Saturday, March 29 at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will attempt to unpack the challenges and help rostered church leaders, health professionals and concerned lay leaders explore the possibilities for “healthy responses.”

The day long program begins at 8:15 a.m. in the seminary’s Amphitheater. Keynoters are Terry Lieb, executive director of Diakon Family Life Services; and Tim Philpot, associate director at the Bucks County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

Participants in the program will be able to define addictive behaviors, identify the variety of addictions, discuss the relationship between a person’s “survival plan” and addiction, and compare and contrast effective responses and educational approaches for addictive behaviors when working with individuals, families and faith communities.

“Everyone has a survival plan,” notes Lieb in discussing the anticipated conference. “As part of their plan many people are controlled by addictive behaviors, ranging from the familiar forms of alcohol and drug dependence to other behaviors, including smoking, eating disorders, gambling, pornography and workaholism.” Lieb and Lutheran synod executives have recently reported that counseling involving pornography addiction is considerably on the increase. “We’ll be talking about healthy responses to such challenges,” Lieb says. Sometimes, he and others have noted, the church builds a wall of silence around the challenges posed by addictive behaviors.

Terry Lieb, a National Certified Counselor and Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor, has counseled hundreds of individuals and families on a wide range of addictive behaviors. During his career he has led hundreds of workshops on emotional and other kinds of health issues challenging families and churches.

Co-presenter Tim Philpot has worked both as a private psychotherapist in a group practice and as a behavioral health therapist and case manager at Princeton House in Princeton, NJ. In 2002 he became the manager of Prevention Education Services at the Bucks County Council before becoming associate director in 2006. Philpot is a member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in New Hope, PA. He makes frequent community presentations on addiction, parenting, alcohol and drug prevention and group dynamics.

For more information or to register on line go to www.Ltsp.edu/healthministry or call Beverly Freed-Lawrence at 215/572-5654. The $45 conference fee includes continental breakfast and lunch. Student rate is $25.

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