Celebrate Recovery commemorates anniversary

Published 4:05 pm Friday, August 9, 2019

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Note: First names only are used for those in the Celebrate Recovery program to preserve the confidentiality of the group.

Celebrate Recovery, which meets at Clanton First United Methodist Church, is commemorating the fourth anniversary of the program.

The ministry was started on Sept. 14, 2015.

Leaders for the program had been working on going through the steps and other preparation in the months leading up to the launch.

“Every year, since then, around that day, we try to have an anniversary celebration,” CR Leader Lawrence said.

This year’s event will be on Sept. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Clanton First United Methodist Church, 207 8th Street.

Each year, other recovery groups in the region as well, as the general public, are invited to participate.

Cindy Hildebrand of My Sister’s Place ministry for women will be the guest speaker.

While many recovery programs focus on a particular addiction, CR focuses on keys to recovering from “hurts, habits and hang ups.”

Lawrence has been with the program since it began at FUMC.

“It truly is a great program,” Lawrence said.

He made the choice to become involved with the ministry after the pastor at the time preached about it.

Group meetings are held every Monday at 5:30 p.m. beginning with a free dinner and followed by a large-group meeting at 6:30 p.m. Men’s and women’s small groups meet at 7:30 p.m.

Step program meetings are held on Wednesdays.

“In Celebrate Recovery, we use the 12 steps that are out there for every recovery program, we just word it a little different in some areas,” Lawrence said. “The main difference being we don’t say ‘a god as we understand him’ we say ‘through Jesus Christ’ because we are a Christian organization.”

Participants work through booklets for each of the 12 steps and eight principals developed by Rick Warren. FUMC Co-pastor Wes Kelley said these steps apply to multiple struggles one may have in their life, such as grief, divorce, abuse recovery, conflict, etc.

“I love Celebrate Recovery,” Kelley said. “I love that model of ministry. It is a model of ministry that is good for every Christian even if they don’t think they need it.”

“Everyone struggles with something,” Jada said. “This is really a program for everyone in helping them respond.”

She said going through the steps helped her have a “deeper relationship with Christ.”

The small group setting gives people a safe place to talk about what they are struggling with.

“We don’t try to fix anybody because we can’t, but we do try to encourage and help them,” Lawrence said.
Jada has been working with the program for about a year. She said she had initially started working with the children for the “precovery program” Celebration Place for ages 5 to 12 and wanted to become more involved.

“The highlights (of the past four years) are to see some of the people,” Lawrence said. “We have had a number of people who have accepted Christ through this program and have recovered and are recovering and have become members of different churches.”

The CR leadership team represents members from three different churches.

“It is a ministry that belongs to the whole Chilton County community,” Kelley said. “It is not just about First Methodist. We like to resource it and support it in every way we can. We think it is the strongest when we share it and let it be (an) open source to everybody.”

The program is run by volunteers.

“That’s one of the great things about Celebrate Recovery is it empowers people to be servant leaders and servant volunteers,” Kelley said. “So many of us see bad things in the news or you hear a tragic story and you think ‘There is nothing I can do’ — in CR, there is something you can do.”

Lawrence said step 12 of the program “is about giving and continue to carry this message to others.”

Goals for the future include hopes for starting Celebrate Recovery prison ministries and a program in Spanish.