Archive for Friday, August 22, 1997

PROGRAM AIMS FOR SPIRITUAL, EMOTIONAL GROWTH

August 22, 1997

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The "Making Peace With Your Past" program will run through mid-November.

It can happen to those who have been abused as children, are overweight or having a difficult time dealing with death.

Symptoms may include plummeting self-esteem, fear of being honest and a sense of isolation from family, friends and God.

A program combining spiritual and emotional measures will begin next week for people experiencing those feelings and others.

The program, "Making Peace With Your Past," aims to provide a safe environment for growth.

"It's an integration of spiritual and emotional growth," said the Rev. Ron Goodman, pastor at First Christian Church, which sponsors the program. "This offers practical, spiritual guidance while dealing with people's own personal issues and problems."

The program, which uses small group discussions and 14 adult program leaders, combines nondenominational Christian messages with 12-step program strategies.

The program is open to the public.

An introduction session will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the church, 1000 Ky.

The program will begin with an opening retreat from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 5 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 6 at the church.

It will continue with meetings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 11 at the church.

Topics for the weekly meetings will be compulsive behaviors, release from shame, overcoming fear of joy, help for people who grew up too soon, perfectionism and procrastination, healing painful memories, advantages of a turbulent past, being yourself, forgiving people who hurt you and receiving the blessing.

A closing retreat will be held Nov. 21-23 at Chihowa Retreat Center in Perry.

Organizers intend for participants to attend the entire program, including opening and closing retreats and all weekly sessions.

This year marks the fifth year of the program, which was developed by members of First Christian. It is held in fall and spring. About 150 people have participated so far.

"What we try to do is provide a safe place for people to deal with certain problems," said K.J. Langlais, coordinator of the program.

Asked how people should determine whether the program is right for them, she said, "Are there issues in your life that are blocking or robbing you from something? If you can't feel joy, if you can't be yourself in the world."

Program participants have ranged in age from 19 to 74, she said.

"This becomes a safe place to say things you have never said before," said Lyn Reeves, one of the program leaders.

She, like all leaders, have gone through the program.

Goodman said the program is similar to a 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups, with Christianity added.

"There are similar concepts with this program, but the Christian faith is also used," he said. "It's been a very effective program in the last four years."

For more information, call the church at 843-0679.

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