Reformers Unanimous joins Franklin Furnace church

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2003

A year ago, the Rev. Dennie Hankins stood at the grave of a young man he had tried to help break free from the bonds of drug addiction.

Looking down at the man's grave, Hankins wondered how the church might better have helped this man find the peace he was looking for, and how the church might have helped him overcome a problem that was clearly bigger than he was.

Hankins found the answer to his question at a church conference this summer, when he was introduced to a unique program that brings addicts into the church to find the answers to their problems.

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Reformers Unanimous International uses Bible principles to help addicts win their battle for a life unfettered by destructive behavior. After visiting RUI headquarters in Rockford,Ill., and seeing first-hand how the program is helping people there, Hankins started an RUI chapter at his church.

"This is for any addiction," Hankins said. "It can be drug addiction, alcohol, gambling (and) even television."

Reformers Unanimous was started in 1996 by Steven Curington, who was himself addicted to cocaine and alcohol for 10 years.

RUI is a ten-principled program, with each principle rooted in The Bible. Hankins said those who attend learn what the scriptures have to say about living a life with dignity and purpose. Those who attend are also introduced to a church family who can provide the desperately needed support that is crucial for the addict to make his or her break with destructive behavior.

What is it about this program that enticed Hankins to get involved?

"It works," Hankins said. "We've seen it in action and the results are overwhelming. Another thing, the church is taking responsibility for people who previously we were afraid of."

RUI will meet every Friday evening at 7 p.m. at the Franklin Furnace Baptist Church. Why Friday night? "That is typically the time when many addicts get off work and begin their abusing whatever it is they're addicted to," Hankins said. "Friday night is typically when the party starts."

Hankins said those who attend may request transportation to and from the meetings. Hankins said to his knowledge, his church is the only one in the area that has an RUI chapter.

Those who want more information about the program may contact Hankins at Franklin Furnace Baptist Church at 354-9301.