Speak­ers at Prayer Break­fast high­light the power of faith

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

EAS­TON — The 36th an­nual Mayor’s Prayer Break­fast packed the Tide­wa­ter Inn’s Gold Ball­room Fri­day, Oct. 26.

Pas­tors and speak­ers from mul­ti­ple fel­low­ships blessed those in at­ten­dance, while shar­ing Scrip­ture read­ings. Mu­si­cal per­for­mances by Vic­to­ria Gomez and Krys Kozin­ski book­ended speak­ers dur­ing the break­fast.

Bruce Strazza, wor­ship leader for Christ Church in Eas­ton, spoke about his strug­gle with ad­dic­tion and find­ing his faith through his strug­gle. Strazza said be­fore he was sober, he swam to the mid­dle of the ocean.

“So yes I have heard the voice of God. And the God of heaven whis­pered ‘Abigail,’” Strazza said. “And I couldn’t un­der­stand why I was think­ing of my nine-year-old

niece at my time of de­spair. See, I went into that ocean not want­ing to come out.”

Strazza said af­ter his reve­la­tion, he went to his sis­ter, Laura’s house, who said she could no­tice a des­per­a­tion in his voice when he asked for her help. His sis­ter and her hus­band then took Strazza to Eas­ton to her other sis­ter, Eileen’s house.

He stayed in a tent in her back­yard for nearly two weeks while detox­ing.

“What I’m not telling you that on June 16th of 1996, we found my old­est brother Mark dead in an aban­doned house in Bal­ti­more with a nee­dle in his arm,” Strazza said. “My fam­ily knows tragedy.”

Strazza said he be­lieves the opi­oid is­sue is worse than peo­ple think, as he has wit­nessed the ad­dic­tive na­ture of the dis­ease first­hand.

“So peo­ple are talk­ing about that this is an epidemic that’s go­ing on in our world with the opi­oid ad­dic­tion, and I be­lieve that’s a lie. This is a pan­demic. This has com­pletely en­com­passed the globe,” Strazza said.

Strazza said par­ents need to be aware of the story of opi­oid ad­dic­tion be­cause of­ten, they can be the largest en­ablers in ad­dicts’ lives. Leav­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs where they are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble is just one way adults can en­able their chil­dren with­out real­iz­ing.

“And maybe I’m hurt­ing your feel­ings right now and strik­ing a nerve, but that’s why I’m here. To tell you the truth,” Strazza said. “It costs $30 to buy a lock box and put your opi­oids in there. It costs $10,000 to bury your child and a life of grief that you don’t un­der­stand — but I do un­der­stand. It never goes away.”

Stephanie Saun­ders, first vice pres­i­dent of The Hill Group at Mor­gan Stan­ley, spoke about her re­la­tion­ship with God, and how her faith had guided her to the life she wanted. Saun­ders said it was im­por­tant to “step into your re­la­tion­ship with God.”

“When we’re in right stand­ing with God, those doubts, those things that peo­ple say over you, they don’t have an ef­fect on you. You don’t take of­fense be­cause you stand in who you are, ...” Saun­ders said. “We walk this beau­ti­ful path of peace and along that peace comes a ton of joy.”

Saun­ders said while not ev­ery­one is meant to be a pas­tor or preach the word of God, that ev­ery­one had the abil­ity to lend a kind hand to peo­ple dur­ing times of need.

“We’re there to up­lift oth­ers. We’re there to see oth­ers for who they are, to honor them and to live a cul­ture of honor where we bring Je­sus Christ to oth­ers and we share the sim­plic­ity of the Gospel,” Saun­ders said. “And I think that you just save lives that way.”

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

Christ Church Eas­ton Wor­ship Leader Bruce Strazza speaks dur­ing the 36th an­nual Mayor’s Prayer Break­fast at the Tide­wa­ter Inn’s Gold Ball­room Fri­day, Oct. 26.

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

The room was filled dur­ing the 36th an­nual Mayor’s Prayer Break­fast at the Tide­wa­ter Inn’s Gold Ball­room Fri­day, Oct. 26.

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