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'Celebrate Recovery' with a family picnic

The program helped save Deb Hines' life, her marriage and her relationship with her children.

A little more than a year ago, she initiated a Celebrate Recovery program at Christ's Family Church. Four people came to the first meeting. Now the weekly Wednesday evening meetings usually have between 30 and 35 people in attendance.

A national program, Celebrate Recovery started in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. At that time, the church was meeting in a high school gymnasium. John Baker wrote Pastor Rick Warren a letter outlining the vision God had given him for Celebrate Recovery. After reading Baker's letter, Warren told him to do it. The program is now nationwide

The goal of Celebrate Recovery is overcoming habits like addiction, sex disorders, and life issues with a 12-step program based on Christian principles.

Hines, who is very direct about her previous life style ("I have been sober for four years," she said), was in counseling and approached the Rev. Paris Pasch of Christ's Family Church about the church possibly hosting Celebrate Recovery. (Another Celebrate Recovery group has been meeting for several years on Fridays at The Harbor Church.)

The church was very receptive, Hines participated in facilitator training, and the first meeting was held.

The meetings are held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the church, 518 E. Second St.

Each meeting begins with a meal - participants bring food dishes to share with others. The meal is followed by a service focusing on one of the program's 28 lessons. Sometimes there is testimony from people about how the program has helped them. Following the service, there are small group sessions. Confidentiality is stressed in the meetings.

"What we are about is trying to prevent the bad habits, and working through the issues," Hines said. "And we are a family, we are not there to judge, and we are open and caring."

The increasing number of people at the meetings does not surprise Hines. She believes there is a need to be met among Hastings people.

"There is a real hurt here," she said.

In an effort to bring about more community awareness of the program, participants are holding a Celebrate Recovery community picnic from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at Roadside Park.

A community night was held last November and included Christian bands, food and speeches. More than 300 people attended what Hines described as a "phenomenal night."

The upcoming picnic is for anyone interested in learning more about Celebrate Recovery, enjoying good food and company, sharing testimony, and listening to Christian music provided by a DJ.

Those attending are asked to bring a dish to share with others. There will also be food vendors selling hamburgers, corn dogs. hot dogs, polish sausage, French fries, onion rings, cheese curds, nachos and beverages.

For more information, call Hines at 651-788-0211 or Mike Kovacs at 651-353-2449

Celebrate Recovery schedule

Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Christ's Family Church, 518 E. Second St.

Friday, 6 p.m., The Harbor Church, 11125 W. Pt. Douglas Road S. Child care is available from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 437-9770.