2002-02-16 / Front Page

'I Am My Brother's Keeper' Local Pastor Reaches Out To Help Addicts

By Gary G. Toms

'I Am My Brother's Keeper'
Local Pastor Reaches Out To Help Addicts

By Gary G. Toms

The House On The Rock Church, located at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, second floor, in Rockaway Beach, has welcomed members of the community for the last seven years. During that time, some of those who took part in the religious services were people trying to kick their dependency on drugs and alcohol. The pastor of the church recognized the need to set up a special program to address the needs of this particular group, so he started "The Seekers Club."

"People were coming in who needed help, so we decided to start this program so they could have not only a place to turn to, but offer them spiritual guidance as well," said the pastor of the church, Garry Patrylo.

Patrylo came to Rockaway in 1953, and he has since called it home. He was ordained as a minister in 1994, and went on to start his House On The Rock Church ministry. It was during this time that he also ministered at the Park Inn Adult Home, on Beach 115 Street, and the Chai Adult Home on Beach 125 Street.

The Seekers Club program, which is scheduled to begin on February 18, will host a half hour session that offers words of encouragement and support to members of the community who are battling addictions. Once the program begins, it will continue to host meetings, with light refreshments, every Monday evening at 8 p.m. at the House On The Rock Church.

"The program will start at our church, and we will focus on infusing religion with methods of treating addiction. Attending "AA" (Alcoholics Anonymous) and "NA" (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings are great, but we feel that God can also be instrumental in their growth and sobriety. If anyone decides that they want to go further in obtaining help, we direct them to a facility in Virginia called "New Life", where they can receive professional help and care," said the pastor.

Patrylo points out that the program is not limited to just members of the Rockaway community, and hopes that people will come from all over to take part.

"I want to stress two things. One, we are open to receiving people wherever they come from. If they want help, we're here for them. Secondly, although the program is religion based, we are not trying to hit people over the head with the Bible or shove religion down their throat when they come through the door. Ultimately, we leave it up to the individual to decide if they truly want to get help. We are here simply to offer an alternative," stated Patrylo.

The pastor realizes that he may have a difficult task ahead of him because similar programs have been set up through churches, only to have one or two people show up to actually take advantage of them.

"Even if one person shows comes in a week, we are going to keep the program going. Hopefully, people will find out about us and come down," he added.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, or if you know someone who might need help with an addiction, contact Pastor Garry Patrylo at (718) 474-5515.

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