Patten prayer vigil grows to addiction awareness ministry

Posted Feb. 02, 2011, at 7:59 p.m.

PATTEN, Maine — What began as a prayer vigil in August for people struggling with addictions and for their families has evolved into a program seeking to raise awareness about the issue in northern Penobscot and southern Aroostook counties.

Jeremiah’s Corner-Addiction Awareness will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, at Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church, 7 Houlton St., Patten. Stan Pettegrow of Katahdin Valley Health Care will be the guest speaker. A licensed clinical social worker, Pettegrow treats people with mental health and substance abuse problems, according to information on the health care center’s website.

The Katahdin Region Youth Ministry, a Catholic youth ministry that serves the region, will present a short play about addiction at the meeting. Music will be provided by Theresa Schmidt and Carter Health of St. Benedict Catholic Church in Benedicta.

Jeremiah’s Corner-Addiction Ministry was organized by Ellen Dickinson of Patten. She said Wednesday that she has seen her grandchildren and their peers struggling with addiction.

“It started with a human prayer chain in August,” Dickinson said. “We had 300 people hand-in-hand on Main Street in Patten praying for addicted people. The church bells in town rang for half an hour.”

After that, Dickinson, who attends Stetson Memorial UMC, decided to start monthly meetings to raise awareness about addiction in hers and the surrounding communities.

“We’re not a support group,” she said. “We have a guest speaker and music at every meeting. We want people to know there are drugs here, and our young people are getting addicted. I’d hate to see it go on to the great-grandchildren.”

Dickinson said she based the name for the group on Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

A second prayer vigil is planned for the second Sunday in August during Patten’s Pioneer Days event.

For information on Jeremiah’s Corner-Addiction Ministry and its meetings, call 528-2684.

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