Cape Town conference to tackle addiction scourge through collaboration

A Culture of Recovery Conference that will take place in Cape Town at the end of August will seek to ensure that no one is left behind in the delivery of effective prevention and addiction intervention services.

This is according to Karin Ussher from Project Exodus, which is described as an “innovative initiative, striving to make expert recovery resources accessible for all South Africans.” It was launched by Anthem Recovery, a justice and mercy ministry of Anthem Church in Durban North, in late 2018 to help other churches replicate its thriving recovery ministry.

“To achieve its vision, Project Exodus harnesses the power and coverage of the local Church, equipping and empowering a network of church partners to establish their own recovery ministries, therapeutic support groups and specialised programmes. Empowerment takes the form of education, training, mentorship and resource provision, across the key areas of prevention, intervention, recovery groups, recovery programmes and specialised addiction counselling,” explains Ussher.

She adds that the project is supported by the leadership of pastors Richard and Jaci Mun-Gavin and the eldership structure of Anthem Church, with a team comprising six fulltime staff members, each with specialised addiction-related qualifications and extensive experience in the addiction recovery sphere.

Ussher says that one of Project Exodus’ key current strategies is the establishment of addiction and supporters’ recovery groups in as many communities as possible.

“Being part of a recovery group is an essential part of the recovery process – proven to significantly contribute to sustainable rehabilitation outcomes. Groups have so far been established at the following churches in Kwazulu Natal: Anthem Church, Durban North; Olive Tree Church, Morningside; Cornerstone Community Church, Phoenix; Jump Youth Mission, Verulam; Grace Family Church, Umhlanga; Grace Family Church, Riverside; and Grace Family Church, ADCA, Ballito; as well as CRC in Kimberley, Northern Cape; Church Unlimited in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Life Changers Church in Tableview, Cape Town; as well as Urban Life Church in Centurion and New Creation Church in Randburg, Gauteng,” she says.

The project’s focus is on recovery, given the undeniable reality of the social crisis of addiction, which does not discriminate against age, race, culture or creed.

“We are all affected and addiction not only destroys individual lives; it tears apart families and the very fabric of society. Improving the accessibility and affordability of impactful addiction treatment services is an urgent global need, mandated by both local and global authorities,” says Ussher.

According to Ussher, the World Drug Report (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) states that much more action is needed to ensure affordable access to scientific, evidence-based care for addicts, while key outcomes of the South African National Drug Master Plan (Department of Social Development) are to reduce the biopsychosocial and economic impact of addiction; strengthen mechanisms for implementing cost-effective interventions to empower vulnerable groups; ensure sharing of current good practices in reducing harm; and support the ability of all people in South Africa to deal with problems related to addiction within their own communities.

The Culture of Recovery Conference will focus on finding a collaborative way forward for South Africans and the Church and provide attendees with an opportunity to learn more about the recovery process and the nature of addiction; explore how individuals, churches, schools, businesses and organisations can participate in innovative, community-based solutions; become acquainted with global, governmental and biblical mandates pertaining to rehabilitation; be equipped to respond effectively to substance abuse and addiction; collaborate with other like-minded individuals, churches and organisations; as well as be inspired, motivated and encouraged.

For further information and to book seats at the conference on August 30 and 31 at Life Changers Church in Cape Town, you can contact Sade Lee at: or visit

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