Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church News

Fall 2015 


A Remembrance of Wendy Barraco 10/21/1942 – 9/10/2015

by the Reverend Don E. Legge 

Some things come to us that are almost too sad.  The loss of a dear friend, a remarkable woman, and a valued colleague is one such.

Wendy Barraco left us on September 10th after an extended illness. Many of us were privileged to work with her in the mission of the Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church (RMEC) in which she had been active for a good many years.  She began her ministry to those who suffer from alcoholism, and to the Church itself, first in the Diocese of Southeast Florida, then on the Board of Directors of the national RMEC and in time, serving two years as its President.  She accomplished a great deal during those years.   The Call issued by the Church In 1979 to address the growing health problem of alcoholism had seen the creation of a vibrant national organization, and its several Diocesan ministries.  Yet in a few short years, the issue of alcoholism became a victim of our national short attention span, and so was of ever-lessening interest. RMEC fell on hard times; financing for its many successful ventures was hard to come by. 

Wendy, serving as Secretary-Treasurer in those difficult days, became an indispensable member of the team that managed to return Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church to sound financial footing, permitting new growth.  Included were a number of creative programs to assist alcoholics and addicts to find their way to recovery and restoration, to help bewildered families to find health for their afflicted members, and to educate both clergy and the laity of the Episcopal Church about the disease, and about the responsibilities of the Church in ministering to suffering alcoholics, addicts and their families.

Subsequently, as President of the national organization, she continued to grow it as a healthy ministry to the church, and to those whose lives were ravaged by alcoholism and addiction. She continued this service until she was taken ill.  This was Wendy’s beloved Ministry.  She was devoted to it as few have been.

So, her service was immense to this ministry that has meant deliverance from the bonds of alcoholism, and the restoration of the Church to its rightful place as prophet of the possibility of meaningful life to so many.

But quite aside from that:  Wendy was a powerful woman, dedicated as she was to the Church and the Call of Christ on her life, and to her own family, and to her friends.  She was what few can be; Wendy was a Friend, in the most powerful meaning of that word. She was a companion to many. She nurtured broken people, traveled with the lonely, encouraged the despondent, fed the spiritually hungry, and lived out the Word in her everyday world.    She was thoughtful and kind, at the same time, straightforward and real; she was a Truth Teller, and a Truth Seeker.  She was filled with good humor; her laugh was healing.  Once committed, she was there til the finish. She could be counted on!  She brought with her skill and strength and gentleness and tenderness that were powerful and unforgettable. 

Her Friendship was a treasure of love and devotion.  She leaves an aching vacancy in the lives of many of us who admired and loved her. May she rest in peace and rise in Glory!  Amen. 

Read here about Wendy's life  and her final wishes that any memorials be made to Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church.

Donate in Wendy Baracco's Name Now

Implementation of 2015 General Convention Resolutions Begins
Parishes and Dioceses across the country are beginning the work of creation, review and modification of policy as a result of the three addiction/recovery related resolutions passed this summer at The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City. To see the full versions of the resolutions and to begin to explore how the policies may affect your parish or diocese, click below:
Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori Names Members of Commission on Impairment and Leadership

October 1, 2015

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced the members of the newly-formed Episcopal Church Commission on Impairment and Leadership.

The members were appointed by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori in consultation with President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. The Rev. Martha Horne will serve as chair of the Commission.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said, “I am grateful that the Rev. Martha Horne has agreed to convene the Commission on Impairment and Leadership.  I expect its work to aid The Episcopal Church in assessing and improving its responsiveness to disease and human brokenness.  We are people who yearn for the abundant life Jesus promised, yet we cannot hope to experience it without honesty and clarity about its absence.  I pray that this body will help us foster a culture of open awareness and learning about addiction as well as fierce commitment to healing of body, mind, soul, and community.”

The enabling resolutions charge the Commission to serve as “an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the Church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse.”

The commission also must prepare a report to “include recommendations for both action and further review, as appropriate, in order to clarify lines of authority, to ensure mutual accountability, and to promote justice, well-being and safety within both the Church and the world.”

Chairperson Horne noted, “We are fortunate to have the knowledge, wisdom, and experience that members of the Commission will bring to this task.  Recognizing the scope of our charge and the complexity of the issues we have been asked to address, we look forward to working in collaboration with the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, the network of diocesan chancellors, the board of Episcopal Recovery Ministries, and others who will share their professional expertise with us.”

The Commission on Impairment and Leadership was adopted by the Executive Council at its March 19-21 meeting in Salt Lake City. The Executive Council was acting in affirmation of the March 17 House of Bishops resolution.


The members of The Episcopal Church Commission on Impairment and Leadership are:

Jan Brown, Williamsburg, VA, member of the board of Episcopal Recovery Ministries and co-Director of SpiritWorks Foundation, a recovery community organization serving individuals affected by the disease of addiction.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real.

Dr. Mark Hanson, Minnesota, former Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Rev. Dr. William Harkins, Atlanta, GA: Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Care and Director of the Th.D program, Columbia Theological Seminary, therapist with clinical experience treating clients with addictions, and canon associate at St. Philips Cathedral, Atlanta.

Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio.

The Rev. Martha Horne, Alexandria, VA, Convener, Dean and President, emerita, of the Virginia Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Kittredge, Austin, TX, Dean and President of the Seminary of the Southwest.

Canon Jill Mathis, Philadelphia, PA, Canon for Transition Ministry in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Bishop Robert O’Neill, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado.

Bishop Sean Rowe, Bishop of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Bethlehem.

The Rev. Dr. Steven Thomason, Seattle, WA, Dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Chair of House of Deputies Special Legislative Committee on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse, former physician with experience working with the Impaired Physicians Committee of the Arkansas State Medical Board                               
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