Recovery Congregations: Empowering Faith-Based Organizations to Support Those Suffering from Addiction and Seeking Recovery

Community News |Nov 6, 2019|3 min read

On Monday, November 18th, Muskegon County will welcome Dr. Monty Burks, Director of Faith Based Initiatives, Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services to speak with community members and local churches on expanding Recovery Congregations in Muskegon. The event will take place at St. Paul’s Parish Hall, located at 1006 3rd Street, Muskegon from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


In Muskegon County, there are approximately 240 churches. The goal is to expand the Recovery Congregation initiative to over 50 churches or more, which will ultimately expand Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery supports in Muskegon. SUD professionals and local churches are hoping to work together to bridge the gap between substance abuse services, recovery coaches, and community resources. The evening forum will provide community members with education around the current initiative.


“Recovery Congregations are just getting started here in Muskegon County, so we are excited to learn from the State of Tennessee, as well as from Dr. Burks’ personal experience with the program’s development and ongoing practices. Tennessee has been doing this for some time; they now have more than 300 Recovery Congregations.  There is always much to do in our community and new research all the time in the field of addiction recovery. Collaborating with treatment providers we can expand the supports for individuals and their families.  Faith-based organizations have a key role to play.” stated Lily Marx, Program Coordinator at Muskegon County Cooperating Churches (MCCC).


In Tennessee, Dr. Burks looked to transform his local community by galvanizing faith-based congregations to support people struggling with addiction, and those whose families have been affected by addiction.  Dr. Monty Burks leads Tennessee’s Faith-Based Initiatives aimed at empowering congregations to provide a safe haven for those living with addiction, where they can find love and support during their time of need.


“People with a substance use disorder have often burned bridges with those around them.  Tennessee has been quite successful in galvanizing the faith community and equipping them to become a key support to those in recovery.  I am excited to hear from Dr. Burks how we can do more in our own community to support both people in recovery and the people who love them,” explained Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough, Executive Director at Mediation & Restorative Services.


This effort is in collaboration with the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches, Public Health Muskegon County, Mediation & Restorative Services, and the Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon (DFC). The DFC consists of six community collaboratives that focus on substance use prevention initiatives. The DFC acts as an informational resource on Muskegon County data, substance use prevention initiatives, community agencies, and community collaboration. For more information, please visit: