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New Life in South Philly

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by Rachel Sensenig, pastor of Circle of Hope in South Philly

The recovery community is growing around our congregation in South Philly. A decade ago, we started hosting a candlelight Narcotics Anonymous meeting on Friday nights called The 11th Hour. It was a popular and life-saving place to be. We knew from experience in our own lives and as a community that God shows up in miraculous ways as we ask for help and avail ourselves to a Higher Power. 

When we moved further South on Broad Street, we were moved to expand our recovery work. We added several Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that welcome newcomers from all walks of life, as well as oldtimers that ground the movement in the neighborhood. As pandemic lockdowns kept people isolated, and the opioid and prescription drug epidemics continue to increase in our country, the meeting attendees offer real embodied hope and connection. 

Now we are adding a Gamblers Anonymous and Gamers Anonymous group to the weekly schedule, as well as offices for a sober housing startup called Evolution 2 Recovery in our lower level.

Evolution 2 Recovery offers high quality sober living homes in South Philadelphia. Owner Rachel Murray says, “We pride ourselves in running spacious, affordable, clean and safe recovery housing for those looking to leave drug and alcohol abuse behind. Not only will we provide you with a comfortable living space for recovery, but also a welcoming and safe, family-like environment dedicated to helping anyone in need of transitioning to a sober life. We have a powerhouse of management and owners that care and are available on a daily basis. I personally make sure that all of our clients are happy and I take pride in that. Because someone did that for me. Don’t hesitate to reach out.”

As Rachel’s friend and witness to her ongoing recovery process, I can attest to the powerful truth of these claims. The twelve steps are a spiritual program that reveal a life in Christ in ways that are undeniable to me. But God doesn’t require a particular set of beliefs or religious affiliation in order to find help. The door is open by way of Love that is always present and unconditional and full of hope. If you want more info about any of this, or would like to talk with someone personally, let me know.

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