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Archive for Friday, January 15, 1999

PROGRAM TAKES AIM AT LIFE STRUGGLES

January 15, 1999

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PeaceWays program gives people a chance to learn about themselves in small, Christian groups.

Sometimes, it takes working through problems to find God.

"We strive to help people with life-struggle problems," the Rev. Ron Goodman said. "If they've kind of shut themselves off to God, they start to open up."

Goodman and several volunteers prepared this week for the next session of PeaceWays, a program of Care Ministries of the First Christian Church, 1000 Ky. A small assembly of program organizers sat around a table preparing for an informational meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the church.

"Traditionally, we've said come to God, and all your problems will be solved," Goodman said. "That may be true, but we may put up walls. ... This program offers an opportunity to learn to trust God."

The program is Christian-based and offers small groups for people to work in. Topics range from overcoming shame and guilt to discovering the power of forgiveness.

"We talk about faith issues, but we don't shove it down their throats; we don't preach to them," Goodman said.

All the group leaders have been through PeaceWays themselves.

"Everybody's been through the program," Goodman said. "We almost have more volunteers than we can use."

Group leaders talked about what they learned and their experiences at their organizational meeting.

"All of my adult life, I've had a hard time being happy," said one of the leaders, Barb Babcock.

She said she had tried different programs, groups and counseling.

"Until I went through the program, I never learned why I am the way I am," she said. "Along the way, I rediscovered God and how much influence he had in my life."

Susan King said it helped her let go.

"I learned to let go of a lot of things and let God take control," she said.

For Debbie Lundmark, it was about forgiveness.

"I need to forgive a lot of people and myself," she said. "I couldn't do it by myself; I needed God to give that to me."

The program includes a two-day opening retreat, 10 two-hour Tuesday night sessions, and a three-day closing retreat. The Tuesday sessions are centered on a topic. Tuition is charged.

"It's not grocery store chit-chat, it's real-life discussion," Goodman said. "We laugh and we cry. ... There is a really strong sense of community."

People interested in the program are invited to the informational meeting on Tuesday. Call the church office, 843-0679, for more details.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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