Festival Park event brings music, testimony to opioid epidemic

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

12/2 Shine the Light will be a celebration of music, food and ministry on Saturday at Festival Park. But amidst the festivities a weightier subject will be addressed — the opioid epidemic and the many people it affects: parents, children, grandparents, friends.

The event is the work of C.R. Temple and his Same Power Ministries. Temple has pulled in others, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Dream Provider Care Services, to help spread the word and share knowledge about residential programs, meetings and other resources for those whose lives have been dealt a blow by opioid addiction. Temple knows of which he speaks; his ministry is based on his own experience as an addict.

“I have a big heart for it — for a struggling addict — because I have been there. I have walked in those shoes,” Temple said.

Temple isn’t alone in the endeavor. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., several bands will play on the Festival Park stage, including Pink Hill’s One Promise and Beyond the Walls; other people will give testimony. Their common ground: addiction and how faith led to recovery. Temple’s ministry is part food — he brings plenty — and part helping people get into programs, but mostly it’s about sharing how God can change lives and recognizing the opioid epidemic is one that needs to be addressed as a community, Temple said.

“It’s evident now. It’s all over. … Eventually (everyone is) going to have a child or someone in their family that’s going through this,” Temple said.

That’s how 12/2 Shine the Light volunteer Amy Ward became a part of the event: her son is in rehab for a second time. Ward said she’s used her experience as a parent of an addicted child to start conversations about the epidemic. She recalled waiting in line every week for 10 weeks to visit her son in the Beaufort County Detention Center, surrounded by family members of other inmates.

“I’d talk to everyone in line, and over 90 percent of the people in jail right now are there for this. We are just inundated,” Ward said. “Everywhere I go, somebody asks me about (my son), and then they tell me about someone (addicted) in their family. It’s everywhere. … I feel like I have to talk about it so everybody will talk about it.”

For Ward, 12/2 Shine the Light is literally about shining a light on the crisis.

“We want it to be for the whole community. We don’t want people to be afraid to come — that’s what we’re trying to do right now, is to overcome the fear of talking about it, or dealing with it,” Ward said. “It’s just a rally to support, to give people options, different meetings going on. A lot of people don’t even know the options that are right here in Washington.”

Temple plans to make the Washington event an annual one; he also intends to take his street ministry to surrounding counties.

“I just want everyone to come out and be a part of this. We want to win this community back. We all have a job in this,” Temple said. “Knowledge is wisdom, and we’re going to have enough knowledge out there, it’s going to reach somebody.”