Sherman Church helps those with drug, alcohol addiction

SHERMAN — The 11 men of Adult & Teen Challenge of New Haven stood in matching gray shirts, singing and testifying about God’s love and power to bring deliverance from drug and alcohol addiction Sunday, Aug. 15, at the pavilion at the Sherman Town Beach. They were hosted by the Sherman Church.

“I’ve been in detox 12 times,” said Orlando. “Being off drugs for 15 months was a stretch. Now I’ve been here for nine months and I’m clean and sober.”

Twenty-three-year-old Timothy lost his father when he was 14, left his family and lived in a shed so he could do drugs. “I overdosed three times and finally hit rock-bottom alone,” he said. “God can open doors that no man can open. The new door was Teen Challenge.”

A 2019 study conducted by the Center for Compassion at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., reported that nationwide 78 percent of graduates of the Teen Challenge program remain sober and substance free post-graduation, a release said.

Teen Challenge was founded in 1960 by the Rev. David Wilkerson who detailed his work in the book “The Cross and the Switchblade.” From a recovery program in one house in Brooklyn, the organization grew into a worldwide ministry with more than 200 centers in the United States and more than 1,400 in 125 countries around the world, according to the New Haven website.

“The organization accepts no federal funding,” Pastor Wayne Gallagher, assistant director of the New Haven center, said. “So we are able to stick to our faith-based principles.”

The cost for room, board, counseling and training is $2,300 per resident, and Gallagher said no one is ever turned away, according to a release. Donations are by check made out to The Sherman Church, with Teen Challenge in the memo line, or online via shermanchurch.org with Teen Challenge in the comments line are welcome.