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Salvation Army’s shining light

Rosemary Phillips has become a beacon of hope to drug users that come through the doors at Habour Light's drug rehabilitation centre.

She has seen first hand the scourge that drugs can cause in the community. “It leads to non-productive people walking around and all of them can talk to you about the crime and the stealing in their lives,” she said.

Still the 67-year-old believes in the power of the Salvation Army's treatment programme and its reported 83 percent success rate upon completion.

She was recently awarded in Caron Bermuda's Community Service Awards breakfast for her “compassion, understanding and integrity” in the addiction services field.

Each week Mrs Phillips leads religious devotions, bible-study classes and one-on-one spiritual counselling with men at the centre.

She said spirituality was an important component in most people's recovery. “Most of them when they come in it's amazing they will say they never stopped praying.

“They are always praying 'Lord help me,' so that indicates there is always a spiritual yearning in all of them.”

Before taking up the post as Harbour Light Chaplain three years ago, Mrs Phillips was a teacher for 35 years and spent nearly three decades with the Berkeley Institute.

She was called out of retirement to take on the role.

“I do believe my whole life and life experiences have prepared me for these three years I have been here, and maybe a few more. The most rewarding part is seeing the clean addicts walking around in Bermuda and still claiming to be drug free.”

Her role is to equip recovering addicts with the emotional and spiritual tools to handle life outside the programme. But admitted what she gets in return far surpasses the service she gives each day.

“These gentlemen bring joy and laughter into my life. They are hilarious, lovable, they wait on me hand and foot.

“I am also excited to witness the spiritual awakening that is happening in each of them. They come to Harbour Lights distraught, unclean and hungry with a prayer on their lips and on their hearts. 'Lord I come to you broken in need of help'.

“When they leave here it's amazing they do pick up those tools and use them so they know what to do. Even when they fall down they can get back up and they know where to go.”

Mrs Phillips, selected for her “unwavering Christian beliefs in providing hope and comfort”, said she was delighted and honoured to receive the award.

She told

The Royal Gazette: “From knowing [the men I work with] I have learned there is always hope and no matter how broken a person is they can always change.

“I have never seen a man yet who isn't able to change.”

Amazing Grace- Rosemary Phillips took home the Spirituality Award in the CARON Community Service Award Breakfast for her dedication in offering hope to drug users that come through the Salvation Army's Harbour Light programme. (Photo by Jomar)

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Published November 07, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 06, 2011 at 12:16 pm)

Salvation Army’s shining light

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