Dr. Watkins used his position as the first-ever student liaison for the Ninth Avenue AA Group to reach out in two directions: he held workshops on addiction and recovery awareness training for the GTS community, and organized a series of Recovery Eucharists in the Good Shepherd Chapel at GTS for the AA Group.
Three awareness training workshops were held, one in each of three consecutive semesters. Watkins enlisted help from the Ninth Avenue AA Group and from the New York AA recovery community. There were speakers, with question and answer sessions, and free materials were available. The workshops will continue to be offered by the Ninth Avenue AA Group.
Four recovery Eucharists were held during the same period, and a variety of musical and liturgical styles were explored. Celebrants came from the GTS community and from the NY recovery community, and attendance at the services included members from both the GTS and the Ninth Avenue AA communities. Through feedback from the participants, it was determined that the service should be offered monthly for the next year. Sponsorship of the service will be taken over by the Rev. Stuart Hoke, adjunct faculty member at GTS, who will use the service as a practicum for his 12-Step Spirituality classes in the fall and spring semesters.
Dr. Watkins’ work led him into new areas of leadership and risk-taking, which he feels will be well-served in future ministry. As the conversation on addictions and recovery escalates within TEC, he believes that this program has strengthened him and others for leadership through prayerful witness and shown them opportunities for pastoral care in unanticipated settings. Finally, persons who were not members of a worshipping community had the opportunity to re-engage their faith.