Betel, WEC’s ministry to addicts, has been restoring broken lives for 30 years. Manchester is the latest UK town to see a Betel centre established, with several others already in existence.
Anthony Parkinson and his wife Angie are pioneering the Manchester centre, which accommodates thirty men. Anthony is frank about the need for more help, but still talks confidently about plans to set up two further houses in Manchester for women. Beyond that, he envisages Betel setting up smaller houses in other cities in the north. ‘There is huge need in this area,’ says Anthony.
Residents usually find out about Betel online, or are referred by Christian organisations, or by word of mouth. Increasingly, Betel is seen as a viable option by the police, prisons and probation services looking to help ‘long-term prolific addicts’. The main reason is that Betel is entirely free, as it meets most of its running costs through its charitable businesses.
Betel is committed to expand into every major city of the UK and Ireland. If there isn’t already a centre in your area, it may not be long before one opens up.
Anthony came into Betel’s Birmingham centre ten years ago, homeless and addicted to heroin and crack cocaine. He was ‘going through the courts for various stuff’ and his life was in danger from drug dealers. He had somehow managed his addiction in the early years, remarkably going to university and getting two degrees. But wherever he went, his addiction went with him.
After returning home to Nottingham, he was caught stealing from his girlfriend and things began to spiral out of control. He knew of two brothers who has gone to Betel and, though at first he made fun of them, he eventually decided that Betel was the only way he was going to beat his addiction – having tried everything else.
‘I had no intention to become a Christian,’ says Anthony, ‘just to get cleaned up and then go and live my life'.
But I noticed a very real difference about the guys at Betel, how they looked after me when I came off the drugs.
The experiences of addition and coming through it make people like Anthony ideal to pioneer new Betel projects. When Anthony talks about the ‘huge need’, he knows how to meet it.
Find out more about our Betel ministry
Since starting up in Spain in 1985, Betel has become a global phenomenon, now established in over 80 cities in 21 countries worldwide. In each Betel residential centre, people struggling with addictions are inducted into a caring Christian community and nurtured back to wholeness. In the words of UK Directors, Kent and Mary Alice Martin, they ‘gradually rebuild their dignity with meaningful relationships and meaningful work.’ Betelitos are encouraged to stay for 12-18 months and many of those who have been healed stay on after that to help in the ministry.
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Need help? Are you or someone you know struggling with an addiction? Contact us.