Missioner Spotlight: The Rev. Deacon Loretta Go
Jan. 30, 2024
Nearly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment. More than 250,000 deaths from drug overdoses and excessive alcohol use were reported last year.
The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri now has a missioner dedicated to helping those with substance use disorder and the people affected by another’s addiction.
Bishop Deon Johnson has appointed the Rev. Deacon Loretta Go as our Missioner of Recovery Ministries.
Deacon Loretta has been involved in Episcopal Recovery Ministries since 2019, when the Diocese passed a convention resolution to place a renewed emphasis on addiction recovery ministries. She became the chair of the committee in 2023.
“I had an eye-opening experience when I went to the National Episcopal Recovery Ministries Conference,” Deacon Loretta explained. “It seemed like everyone there – clergy, everybody – was in recovery of some sort.” Although she is not in recovery of any kind, Deacon Loretta says that experience allowed her to see the struggles so many people are dealing with and gave her perspective to find ways to help.
One of the initiatives gaining a lot of attention now is the installation of Narcan boxes on church properties throughout the Diocese. Narcan is a potentially lifesaving medication that can revive someone who has overdosed on opioids. Deacon Loretta is helping to connect interested churches with a local carpenter who builds the boxes and providing information and training for those making the drugs available.
Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Louis’ Central West End and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville already have boxes installed. Deacon Loretta says Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Charles, and Calvary Episcopal Church in Louisiana are also looking into placing boxes on their church properties.
Our diocesan recovery ministry has also produced a video that weaves the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into a liturgy of Scripture, prayers, and reflections. The video is available on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdkk0aTf8Cw&t=2s)
Deacon Loretta says one of the biggest challenges she faces in this ministry is the public stigma of addiction. People don’t want to ask questions or get help because they are afraid to be “outed” for their disease. That’s why the ministry’s website is so important. ERMdiocesemo.org is full of resources to enable those affected by addiction (of many varieties) to find they help they need.
Loretta was ordained as a vocational deacon in 2023. Along with her role as Missioner of Recovery Ministries, she also serves as a Deacon at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville and travels with the Bishop on his parish visitations.
Learn more about Episcopal Recovery Ministries in the Diocese of Missouri and get resources at:
Statistics from: AddictionCenter.com, CNN.com, NIH.com