Category: Passages

Kicking Heroin Addiction

“Many experts have documented that patients who started legal, prescribed, regular opioid painkillers and became addicted, then switched to heroin when their doctors cut them off or they could no longer afford the pills. Some addicts originally were workers injured on the job, victims of auto accidents, or even young athletes with sports injuries who started taking opioid-based pain medication like Vicodin or OxyContin for a legitimate pain condition and end up addicted.” (from the book “Our 50-State Border Crisis”)

Rico got caught-up as a teen with being a heroin addict on the streets of New York.

Have you ever tried to kick an addiction? Rico shares about his addiction on Passages.

We go inside the world of the heroin addict with Rico. Listen to him talk about fading into despair.

Rico struggles with his withdraw from heroin. Support and care by people help to bring him out of being high.

It is an emotional war with being addicted to heroin. “I couldn’t open up to admit to my addiction.”

Hope is found in the early part of Rico’s treatment. Again, he tries to kick the heroin habit.

It takes special support to have healing begin! Rico goes onto beat the heroin addiction and is now a professor at a United Methodist seminary.


Preventing Drug Abuse: The Best Strategy

Why is adolescence a critical time for preventing drug addiction? As noted previously, early use of drugs increases a person’s chances of developing addiction. Remember, drugs change brains-and this can lead to addiction and other serious problems. So, preventing early use of drugs or alcohol may go a long way in reducing these risks.

We keep in our thoughts and prayers all those folks in the process of recovery and healing in their lives!


A Special Time In Seattle!

This week Special Olympic Games will be held in Seattle!

What a great opportunity for fun competition and building of relationships as we affirm those around us that face some of the most difficult physical challenges that a human being can deal with in a lifetime.

Here is a link to the Special Olympics website for the all the details and some super photos.

Now from Survivors and Passages stories of hope and inspiration are stories from some special Olympic athletes and a motivational story from Special Olympics.

Listen to Joann tell of her Special Olympics experience …

Tony is an amazing wheelchair athlete and he knows that practice only makes him better …

Setting the context for Special Olympics by life coach Carl Mays …

We pray for a great week for all the Special Olympic participants and their families in Seattle.

A form of child abuse! Border problems and immigration

Separating families at the border is “a form of child abuse.”

Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The debate and controversy over who is allowed into the U.S.

“Patrolling our borders effectively today…demands a combination of law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and foreign adversary engagement skills and tactics beyond basic law enforcement.”   Howard Buffett “50-State-Border-Crisis”

An interesting book to read and here is a review of an author’s attempt to a balanced approach to the immigration issue from Mexico.

Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus were a refugee family as they fled to Egypt.

So in looking back we have all had our families histories lift-up the fact we migrated from somewhere.

The lack of self-respect and esteem to be so insecure about the stranger and what he or she brings to a new place and experience seems to threaten some Americans today.

Listen to the stories from Passages that share insights in our needing to be empathetic towards those crossing our borders as families and living here legally.  The importance that family is for those coming to this country is critical too.

Manuel speaks about being Mexican and living in the southwest on Passages stories of hope and opportunity!

Roberto shares his struggles in being of Hispanic decent on Passages ….

Olfa has great appreciation for her new country and the importance of family.  Caring for her family is an

important part of her daily life and living in the U.S.

Talaki is very appreciative in being a new citizen of the U.S.  Family values are important to him.

Let us all pray for less politics and more common sense in working at resolving some or all of the issues with immigration.




Filled with Grace and Hospitality

It has and continues to be one of the best things there is about being involved in mission and ministry, the wonderful people you meet along the way!

The Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM) journey couldn’t have been complete without Joan Humphrey of Unity Presbyterian Church and Pittsburgh Presbytery  .

Joan a former board member from the early days in the 1980’s was dependable and knowledgeable about how to get things done.  She stepped in when the first PMM Board President was pregnant (Rev. Mary Marks King from Union Church in Cowansville, PA) and needed to step aside for almost a year.  Joan who was serving as VP stepped in as Interim President.without hesitating to serve.  She did an excellent job for this newly formed mission organization.

Joan also was active in seeing a need and as a result put the wheels in a motion to help people during some of the most demanding times in their lives.  Joan was interviewed for our Passages Radio Show about her ministry work at one point in her life when Pittsburgh was first on the map as a medical transplant headquarters in the U.S. and the world.  She formed a mission called “Those Who Wait” for patients and their loved ones who found themselves in Pittsburgh with limited resources and needed a place to stay.  Listen to Joan share about “Those Who Wait” by clicking on the audio button below.

On Saturday, June 9, 2018, a celebration of life and service of witness to the resurrection was held for Joan.  She passed from this life to the next life on May 22nd.  Read more about her by clicking on the link

We thank Joan, her husband Roy, and daughter Julie for being such good friends who have and continue to share in the mission of the Church and PMM!  Great people caring about all of God’s people.




Remembering on Memorial Day

We honor those who sacrificed their lives for country on this Memorial Day!

Here is the story of a daughter of a World War II veteran during his last days on earth.

Listen to Keri’s Story of her father, a WW II veteran, at the time of the construction of the memorial in Washington D.C.

Keri’s story ends with the most important thought her father wanted her to remember about those who served their country.  What do medals really mean?  Final challenge from a dying father.

WWII Memorial

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Howard is a vet who served on the USS Wasp.  He helped NASA recover the capsule from the Gemini Space Program and also served in Vietnam.   Some of his friends didn’t return after the war.  They served their country well.  Howard has struggled since returning to civilian life and is a homeless vet.

Listen Howard’s story on Passages ….

Vietnam War Memorial click on the link below …

Memorial Day

We pray for those who gave their lives for their country and the families of those who gave their all!

Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day!

Celebrating Mother’s Day

It was a number of years ago, when visiting Dennis and Marilyn Benson in Michigan,  that Dennis took my wife aside and interviewed her for Passages. Dennis had Tina share about her mother Thelma. Thelma was a great lady having raised 9 children! Tina is the youngest.

So here is Tina telling her love for her mother on Passages this Mother’s Day weekend.

Click on the audio link below.

History of Mother’s Day. Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”


Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service.

Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.
Did You Know?
More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.


The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children.

These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”

We appreciate and pray for all the women who call thenselves mom’s this Mother’s Day! We are thankful for them everyday.


Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

We celebrate the contributions and life well lived by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Laura is someone who was able to be up-close and personal with Martin Luther King, Jr.

She shares on Passages the impact that King had on her and others,  Listen by clicking on the audio button below.

Laura shares thoughts on racism. Listen by clicking on the button below.

Lena has grown up in an all white community and shares about racism on Survivors. Click on the button below.

We pray for our nation and our world aa we remember all the good that Martin Luther King, Jr. did and what still needs to be done!

March For Our Lives

What a wonderful display of non-violent demonstration to allow the freedom of speech and protest giving voice to young peoples concerns about gun violence in our schools.

There was another time when marches and protest helped to bring an end to a war that had seen thousands of young men die. It was the Vietnam War. Dick recalls walking in Washington D.C. as a trained non-violent protester on Passages.

Do you know what your young teen is doing in his/her life? When it comes to guns there is a responsibility for parents or those significant others who care  for them to know what is going on in their lives. Listen to Jean’s story about what shocked her to find out about her son on Passages.

We pray that those young people who marched yesterday are heard by the leaders of our country!

We pray for all parents in caring for their children in a world that can lead them in many different directions in life.

Remembering Fred Rogers on his birthday!

Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. Rogers was famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his kind-hearted, grandfatherly personality, and directness to his audiences.[1]

Initially educated to be a minister, Rogers was displeased with the way television addressed children and made an effort to change this when he began to write for and perform on local Pittsburgh-area shows dedicated to youth. WQED developed his own show in 1968 and it was distributed nationwide by Eastern Educational Television Network. Over the course of three decades on television, Fred Rogers became an icon of American children’s entertainment and education.[2] He was also known for his advocacy of various public causes. His testimony before a lower court in favor of fair-use recording of television shows to play at another time (now known as time shifting) was cited in a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Betamax case, and he gave now-famous testimony to a U.S. Senate committee, advocating government funding for children’s television.[3]

Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, some forty honorary degrees,[4] and a Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, was recognized by two Congressional resolutions, and was ranked No. 35 among TV Guide‘s Fifty Greatest TV Stars of All Time.[5] Several buildings and artworks in Pennsylvania are dedicated to his memory, and the Smithsonian Institution displays one of his trademark sweaters as a “Treasure of American History”. On June 25, 2016, the Fred Rogers Historical Marker was placed near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and was named and dedicated in his memory.[6

More on Fred

Click on the audio button below for a Passages Radio Show featuring Fred talking about his start in TV, attending seminary, helping start WQED and PBS, and his ministry to children and their families.

In the fall of 1997, Presbyterians Today editor Eva Stimson interviewed Fred Rogers in his cramped office at WQED in Pittsburgh. Her story appeared in the March 1998 issue of the magazine.

The Real “Mister Rogers” (below is an excerpt from the article to reflect on)

In the early 1960’s, Fred recalls, national staff in the United Presbyterian Church U.S.A. began talking to him about developing a children’s TV program as an outreach of the denomination.  But then priorities shifted and money for the project evaporated.  Did the church miss a big opportunity?

“It’s hard to say,” comments Gregg Hartung, executive director of Presbyterian Media Mission and a personal friend of Rogers’. “I’m not sure a ministry like Fred’s could be done within an institution.” If a church-Rogers partnership had come to fruition, the PCUSA might be known today as a trailblazer in TV evangelism.

On the other hand, the constraints of working within a church bureaucracy might have had a stifling effect on Rogers’ creativity. Or his programming might have been buried in a “religious ghetto,” reaching only a fraction of the people whose lives have been affected by watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

As it turns out, Rogers’ principle tie to the Presbyterian Church is his unusual ordination to the ministry. In 1962 Pittsburgh Presbytery ordained him with a charge to continue his work with children and families through the media. He has never served in the traditional role of pastor, but through television he brings his simple message of affirmation and acceptance to a “congregation” of millions.

“I’ve seen it happen so often – what I present in faith somehow nourishes the viewer,” Rogers says. Before taping a TV show, he always prays to God: “Let some word that is said be yours.” He firmly believes in “holy ground,” which he describes as “the space between the person who is offering his or her best and how the Holy Spirit can translate that to help another person in need.”

Presbyterian Historical Society releases rare early video of Fred Rogers’ “Sunday on the Children’s Corner”

PHILADELPHIA (PHS) The Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) has recently transferred to digital video a rare 16mm print of Sunday on the Children’s Corner, the first television program to feature the piano-playing and puppeteering of Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, supporting his creative partner, Josie Carey. Carey was born Josephine Vicari on August 20, 1930, in Pittsburgh.

Happy birthday to Fred and 50 years of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS!




All the World is Green today!

Over the years there has been much saddness when it comes to Ireland!

We reflect on some Irish stores that shared the sadness that always had an underlining hope that through efforts by the Church and people in their communities they would find peace.

Listen to Father Tom a Catholic Priest who shares about the struggle of getting jobs for folks that would be a major step towards peace for this island country.

Wilford Orr shares about the Protestant struggle and finding a way for common purpose and mutual understanding in Ireland.

John tells of a special community “Corrymeela ” that brings people from various traditions in Ireland and around the world together to find ways for peace where there is heartache and disagreement.

Finally, a Pittsburgh icon, Art Rooney Sr. who’s son Dan served as Ambassador to Ireland on Passages. Art tells about how he as one of the founding owners of the NFL/Pittsburgh Steelers’ was humble guy and an everyday person that was a good example for his family, friends, and the Pittsburgh community.

Irish stories of hope and faith this St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!