Advocacy: Champions for Change – The Legacy of Faith Partners at Transfiguration Lutheran Church

Rev. Dr. Ed Treat

Rev. Dr. Ed Treat has a Master of Divinity and a Doctorate in Ministry from Luther Seminary and has been a parish pastor for 25 years. He has served four different congregations, including one he started as a mission developer. In 1990 he joined the newly formed Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy (FRLC), a non-profit joint effort between pastors of the LCMS and ELCA to provide recovery support to professional clergy and their families. In 2001 Pastor Ed became the director of the FRLC and has been its leader for the past 19 years. In 2018 Rev. Dr. Treat (with the support of the FRLC and Transfiguration Lutheran Church where he was serving as Senior Pastor), launched the highly successful Addiction & Faith Conference to educate, inspire and equip congregations in addiction ministry. Rev. Dr. Treat currently serves on the Boards of the FRLC, RMEC, and The Center of Addiction & Faith. Rev. Dr. Treat is blessed to have 36 years of recovery from addiction.

In 2001 the parish nurse of Transfiguration Lutheran Church initiated training with Faith Partners to launch an addiction awareness ministry. A team was formed and ministry began. At that time, the issue of addiction and how it affected individuals and families, was not well understood. TLC utilized a congregational survey to gauge member awareness. Because of the survey results, TLC became much more open to how the disease of addiction affected people and how to become more welcoming to those struggling with this deadly disease.

The TLC team worked in conjunction with the pastor and began the work of teaching the congregation about addiction and providing a valuable resource to support the pastor.  The Faith Partners Team also introduced TLC’s annual Addiction Awareness Sunday. One of the highpoints over the years was a dramatization produced by TLC’s that shared stories of addiction and recovery from people in our own pews.

When the pastor left TLC’s commitment of ministering to people in recovery took another step forward. The congregation called Pastor Ed Treat as senior pastor. Pastor Ed at the time of his call to TLC had been in recovery from addiction for many years. Ministry to recovering people was a part of Pastor Ed’s calling since seminary and he brought that commitment and experience with him to TLC.

The Faith Partners training at TLC was a key reason why this congregation chose a pastor who understood addiction. And because this congregation supported addiction and called a pastor who understood addiction it eventually led to the hosting of a national conference on addiction. The conference was hugely successful and led to the establishment of a national ministry called The Center of Addiction & Faith.

When the leadership team of FRLC gave the green light to this project 20 years ago, no one knew where it might lead. It’s amazing what can happen when a congregation decides to raise awareness around addiction. The crisis of addiction in this country has never been worse and because of the training from Faith Partners 20 years ago, the Holy Spirit used Transfiguration Lutheran Church to play a key role in raising addiction awareness in the church to a national level. We thank God for the work of Faith Partners.

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