Faith & Addiction: A Conversation
First Call led a conversation on May 3, 3021, that offered education and support for the high need faith communities are finding themselves in regarding substance use and mental health. Individuals and their family members within our communities have always faced these issues, but they are currently exacerbated due to the current level of fear, lack of resources, social unrest and isolation individuals are experiencing. “Faith and Addiction: A Conversation of Hope” addressed language that reduces stigma in our conversations and offered resources available to those seeking help in the Kansas City metro area. The conversation featured faith leaders across diverse backgrounds and religious affiliations as they offered their personal and professional perspectives of hope.
The conversation was held virtually on Facebook Live and YouTube.
Pastor Michael E. Brooks, The Oasis Church, Concerned Clergy Coalition of KC
Pastor Michael Brooks is a proud native of Kansas City, Mo. He is married to Mable Johnson-Brooks. He is the proud father of four children, Tyler, Kendra, Antoine, and Michael II, and has seven grandchildren. He graduated from Central High School, Kansas City, in 1980. He served his country in the United States Air Force from 1982-1992 and served a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.
As a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, he has worked in many different settings inpatient, outpatient, and detox units around the country. He returned to Kansas City in October of 1998, working in the Swope Parkway Health Center Homeless Department and Synergy Services Prevention & Intervention Department.
In October of 1985, Pastor Brooks accepted Gods’ call to the Gospel Ministry and was licensed as a Gospel Minister at the New Hope Baptist Church in Anchorage, Alaska. He currently serves as the Senior Pastor of The Oasis Church, formerly known as the Zion Grove Baptist Church in Kansas City. He has over 25 years' experience as a Senior Pastor and has served in ministry for over 30 years.
Pastor Brooks is heavily involved in the community. He is the former President of the Concerned Clergy Coalition, Co-Chair of the of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equality (MORE2), and a founding member of the Violence Free KC Committee with the Kansas City Health Department. He is also the founder of (H.O.P.E.) Ministries, Helping Our People Evolve and was Co-Founder of HOPE Academy Charter School, for high school dropouts. He is a coach, mentor, counselor, and consultant in Kansas City.
Pastor Brooks served as the 5th District City Councilman in Kansas City, Mo., from 2011-2014, and was Vice-Chair of Finance Governance and Ethics Committee and served on the Public Safety & Emergency Services Committee.
He is a former Board Member of Mid America Regional Council (MARC), Chairman of the Head Start Advisory Board, & Co-Chair of Kansas City Health Commission. He has proven to be an innovative; out of the box; forward thinking preacher that believes with God, nothing is impossible. His theme scripture is "And we know that all things work together for the good of them who love The Lord and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Victor J. Dougherty, Temple Buddhist Center of Kansas City
Victor J. Dougherty is a co-founder of The Pathless Land Center for Meditation and Mindfulness. Victor has been practicing for over 20 years and has participated in numerous retreats, classes and workshops around the Midwest.
Currently, he is the Director of The Temple Buddhist Center. Victor also serves on the board of Mid- America Dharma, Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council and several other organizations.
Rabbi David M. Glickman, Congregation Beth Shalom
Rabbi Glickman is the senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, Kansas since 2012. Rabbi Glickman hails from Michigan and served at Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas, Texas. Rabbi Glickman is a sought after teacher, a lover of the arts, and a bit of a coffee maven.
Pastor Tom Langhofer, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Tom Langhofer has served as Pastor of Recovery Ministries at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, where he oversees an array of addiction recovery programs, since July 2017. These programs include recovery from alcohol and substance use, eating disorders, sexual addictions, and support for family and friends whose loved ones are affected by Substance Use Disorder.
Tom graduated from the University of Kansas is 1982 with a degree in Business Administration. Prior to his call to ministry, Tom was General Manager of Rodrock Development for thirty years. He served as Chairman of Economic Development for the City of Shawnee and on the board of Economic Development for the City of Olathe.
Always inspired to give back to the community, Tom served on the Board of Directors of Healing House. He is a member of the Olathe Citizens that Care Leadership team and is the former President of the Board for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.
In 2014, Tom was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award by Kelly T. Davis & Company. He was also awarded the Community Volunteer Award by the Kansas City Recovery Coalition in 2017.
Married to Marcy Langhofer for over 34 years … they have two children, Kathryn Langhofer, who lives in Kansas City, and Erin Langhofer, who we lost far before her time last year. As a person in long-term recovery, it is Tom’s mission and passion to help those who are dealing with addictions of any kind to find sobriety through Jesus Christ.
Sarah Pierce, Synodically Authorized Minister, All Saints Lutheran Church
Sarah Pierce is the Synodically Authorized Minister at All Saints Lutheran Church, Blue Springs, MO. A registered nurse, she also works as Director of Clinic Care Management at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph Missouri. Over her 12 years at Mosaic, she has worked as a nursing assistant and a registered nurse, where she provided care, before moving to care management, where her focus shifted to discharge planning and chronic disease management.
She lives in Liberty, MO, with her wife, Dr. Rebecca Morris, a clinical psychologist, and their children Charlie and Anna. Sarah is a December 2020 graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is currently awaiting first call in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Rev. Darren Faulkner, Faith Defenders Bible Institute
Rev. Darren Faulkner is the Director of Community Engagement for the Kansas City No Violence Alliance where he is responsible for the Social Services side of the organization. In this role, Rev. Faulkner provides needed social services to those close to violence in our community. He also supervises Client Advocates who work one on one with justice involved individuals.
Rev. Faulkner has more than 25 years of social service experience, working in various capacities from case management to non-profit leadership, and executive level management. Rev. Faulkner has worked at the Federal, State, County levels of government all with a focus on the betterment of community. He is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor II (CSAC II), has facilitated Anger Management classes and has been a Case Manager within the federal and state penal system. He is currently a state certified mediator and uses this skill to support community in Neighborhood Accountability Boards.
With his career experience in the criminal justice system, Rev. Faulkner has been able to bring his knowledge of working in MO and KS, working in jails and prisons, to the violence prevention side of things. He is well versed in various models and strategies of crime reduction and violence and is currently on the front line in his current position. Rev. Faulkner is the founder and CEO of Ruby Visions, a Non-profit 501c3 which has a focus on Victim/Offender Mediation and furthering community development.
Rabbi Doug Alpert, Congregation Kol Ami KC
Rabbi Doug Alpert is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami-Kansas City’s non-affiliated, urban, progressive synagogue. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in New
York in 2012. He also holds a Masters in Judaic Studies from the Siegal College of Jewish Studies, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Affairs from the George Washington University.
Rabbi Alpert is on the Missouri Coordinating Committee for the Poor People’s Campaign, co-chaired by Rev. Drs. William Barber and Liz Theoharris. He is the immediate past president of Missouri Healthcare for All, an allie with Stand Up KC-the fight for low wage workers, the faith co-chair for Missouri Jobs with Justice, and a board member of Missouri Faith Voices. He is on the Missouri executive committee of the NAACP, and received the 2017 Harold Holliday Civil Rights Award from the NAACP-KC Branch.
He is a member of MORE2, the Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity. Alpert was a featured speaker at the Kansas City Women’s March in 2017, has been the Jewish representative speaker for many years at the annual Gay Pride Interfaith Service. He was a speaker at the vigil following the Pulse Nightclub murders in Orlando. He is a chaplain for the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. He is also the immediate past President of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City.