Sunday, 26 October 2008


Founder, Arthur Williams

About 20 years ago I was involved with a coffee- bar in limerick city called Maranatha, a place for believers to gather and an outreach towards those who were curious about the gospel. One evening this guy came in to Maranatha in a very agitated state and after a few minutes conversation it was clear that he was locked in the grip of drug addiction and wanted to break free. We did what we could at that time , speaking to him and praying with him often, but soon realised that even with his desire to go clean that he needed specialist help. After several phone calls we finally discovered that the only available Christian run drug rehab was across the water at Yeldal Manor in Berkshire, England. Unfortunately despite at first agreeing to travel over to this facility our friend never did go for treatment and soon slipped back into his old ways. I recalled this story as I thought how the gospel has taken root in this land over that period, as I listened to the work of Stauros this morning at the Door of Hope fellowship. The Stauros Foundation ( ‘Stauros’ is the word in New Testament Greek for the cross) was set up back in 1980 to “minister to people who are addicted to alcohol and to other drugs and to offer support to their families”. The Irish work takes place at the Haven in Tipperary and I was first made aware of it through my friend Tony Carey who has been a supporter of Stauros for the last few years.
The Foundation was established through the experiences of Arthur G. Williams who lost almost everything through his addiction to alcohol and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in May 1971. Arthur had heard the gospel a full 6 months before when his doctor explained that the root of his addiction problem was a spiritual lack that could only be filled through the power of a risen Saviour. He responded by trusting Christ and experienced the peace and forgiveness that only Jesus can give. Over the next several months he fell back into the old lifestyle until he found himself in the hospital at rock bottom. Here, God met him in a new way , filling him with the Holy Spirit and giving him power to overcome his sin. From this point Arthur’s life of service began. After leaving Cliff Bible college he worked as a lay evangelist with the Methodist Church in Ireland and in time went on to pastor a church in Glasgow until 1982. During his work in Glasgow the vision for an agency to help people with their addictions was formed and the Stauros Foundation was set up in 1980.
The Irish branch at the Haven has been operating since 1994 where residential care is provided within a Christian framework for men and women who have a dependence on drugs or alcohol. About 90% of all who pass through make a commitment to Christ and several of the residents have overcome their addiction and gone into full time Christian work. The drug problem in this country cannot be overstated as it hits every strata of society, every age and socio-economic group and is as prevalent in rural areas as urban. Thank God for the men and women of the Haven who not only have the necessary skills to deal with those who wish to kick the habit, but also know the power and mercy of God who can make everything new ! This is good news for all who are afflicted with this scourge and a work that did not exist within these shores 20 years ago is now by His grace quietly going about its business deep in the Tipperary countryside. If you would like to know more about the work of Stauros or support it, visit their website at
Gerard O'Shea

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