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Rally honors drug victims, survivors

Area fatal overdose victims were honored with a Walk of Hope and prayer at the end of the fourth annual Addicted to Hope Rally outside Handley High School on Saturday. EVAN GOODENOW/The Winchester Star Facebook Twitter Email Print Save WINCHESTER — As blues guitarist David Roy played Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in memory of fatal overdose victims at the fourth annual Addicted to Hope Rally on Saturday at Handley High School, Caleb Comer was wearing a memorial T-shirt honoring his first cousin Desirae Lynn-Miller. Lynn-Miller, a 34-year-old mother of five from......

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'There's a lot of love' in church's monthly meals

WINCHESTER — Zack Taylor has spent nearly a fourth of his life serving meals to the less fortunate. The Evendale Elementary School student, who is just a few weeks shy of turning 10, has been volunteering with his church, Grace Downtown of Winchester, since he was 7. “If people can’t help themselves, we should help them,” Zack said. Grace Downtown started serving monthly community meals shortly after it was founded in August 2015. On Friday, the church’s monthly meal was provided to residents and guests of Winchester Rescue Mission‘s homeless shelter at 435 N. Cameron......

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Amid drug crisis, spiritual first responders hit the streets

Sidewalk prayers near shoot-up spots. Sunday sermons in the back of a bar. Pleas to struggling souls to surrender to God. Funerals for members of their flock who didn’t make it. Clergy members have become spiritual first responders in the opioid crisis, often leaving the pulpit to minister on the streets. They can be reverends, rabbis, priests or pastors. Though their faiths differ, they invariably approach people with addiction as equals. No Bible-thumping, no blaming. Quite a few are in recovery themselves. Despite some signs of a slowdown, the nation’s all-time deadliest......

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Rally offers hope to those touched by addiction

WINCHESTER — When Pastor Brad Hill came to Winchester six-and-a-half years ago, he never dreamed he’d see a day where the community’s attitude toward addiction turned from scorn to compassion. Hill started his own recovery from addiction when he came to Winchester, but he said there weren’t many places to go for help back then due to the negative perception people had of addicts and alcoholics. “Since then, I’ve noticed the community opening up so many different things,” he said. “We’ve got a ton of recovery centers now, we’ve got a lot of......

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One city has created a blueprint for tackling the opioid epidemic

Emma is rocking her baby, speaking to her softly in the neonatal intensive care unit of Winchester Medical Center in the city of Winchester, Virginia. The blinds are drawn and the room is quiet. A cheerful poster on the wall says that Emma’s daughter, Story, was born six days ago. She weighs six pounds and 13 ounces. But Story isn’t like most other newborns. In her first days of life, she is going through withdrawal from the opioids that her mother took while she was pregnant, leading to a condition known as......

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Grace Downtown church celebrates new beginnings at new home on Easter

WINCHESTER — Easter Sunday is when Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who gathered at Grace Downtown of Winchester had another reason to celebrate on Sunday as the church, which focuses on recovering addicts and those who support them, held services for the first time in its new location at 35 E. Jubal Early Drive, formerly the site of The River Church. For more than two years, Grace Downtown met in Brewbaker’s Restaurant on the Loudoun Street Mall and coined itself “the church in a bar.” On......

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An Easter message from Grace Downtown of Winchester

The Apostle John certainly did not know on that Friday what we know today. He didn’t know that the tragedy on Good Friday (it wasn’t even called “Good Friday” yet) would be Sunday’s victory. John wrote many years later that the lot of them still “hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). That’s why what John did on Saturday is so amazing. Of course, we really don’t know much about Saturday; there are no verses to read, no history to glean, no wisdom to share.......

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A first step: Church for recovering addicts and ‘normals’ finds a new home

WINCHESTER — For four years, Brad Hill has given his sermons in the back room of a bar in Winchester — an odd place for a pastor who spends much of his time leading addicts toward recovery and whose congregation is half-filled with recovering addicts. But Brewbaker’s Restaurant on Loudoun Street has become too small for a congregation that has grown from 30 or 40 people when it started to a membership that brings around 300 people to church on Sundays. “We’ve blown up, we really have,” Hill said. “And I mean, we needed......

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Grace Downtown finds new home to allow further growth

WINCHESTER — After months of searching for a location, Grace Downtown of Winchester — a church that focuses on recovering addicts in the community — has found a new home. Launched in August 2015 by Pastor Brad Hill, the church has been meeting in the banquet hall of Brewbaker’s Restaurant on the Loudoun Street Mall for more than two years, but it will soon move to 35 E. Jubal Early Drive, formerly The River Church. Grace Downtown started with about 40 people and has grown to about 350, so it needs more......

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