Pastor speaks on addiction, faith and charity
“When addiction enters the picture, all bets are off.”
This is often the case at Triune Mercy Center where Rev. Deb. Richardson-Moore has been the pastor and director for the past eight years. In a Wednesday CLP titled “Our Triune God, Closer than You Might Think,” Richardson-Moore detailed the struggles and triumphs of being a pastor and director at the church, whose congregation includes the homeless and drug-addicted.
Richarson-Moore, who worked as a writer at The Greenville News for 27 years before becoming a pastor, claimed that at first she “thought ministers were boring” and that she was “more likely to become a bullfighter than a minister.”
However, she began to develop an interest in religion and the religion writer for the News and took a few classes at Erksine Theological Seminary. Soon she began to see Christianity as a vocation and profession. After graduating, she was offered a job at Triune Mercy Center, which is located six miles from Furman on Rutherford Road.
However, the job did not come without struggles.
Before working at Triune, Richardson-Moore said she thought that enough money and supplies would solve poverty. However, she soon realized that many times, donations simply “helped the homeless become more comfortable in their homelessness” and that donations can lead to unintended consequences. Money could be used in drug trade and canned goods and clothes could be sold to feed other bad habits.
Richardson-Moore instead stressed the importance of providing her parishioners with a sense of community and purpose. Having a meaningful role that contributes to the community, she said, makes parishioners feel needed and more willing to do what they can to benefit the community.
Richardson-Moore told the story of one of the church’s parishioners, Lee, a troubled drug addict who would attend the meals and services, but not much else. However, when he was asked to help out with serving the meals, “he transformed from self-absorption to compassionate and caring towards others.”
In terms of what we as the public can do to serve Triune, Richardson-Moore said “Worship with us, come be with us.” Simple presences and meaningful relationships mean a lot to the parish. This also promotes the vision of a close God who has different experiences with each of his worshipers but can unite people in a community like Triune.