Have an ‘amazing spiritual adventure’

Arlen and Ashley Summers, leaders of the Celebrate Recovery team at New Hope Community Church in Gilroy, say the program has helped them become better spouses to each other and better parents to their children.

The stresses of our society lead many people to suffer from addictions to drugs or alcohol, or other compulsive or dysfunctional behaviors. Many well-known programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous have been developed to deal with such problems.
But a Christian program offered by Gilroy’s New Hope Community Church has a different focus as it attempts to help people recover from “life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups.” The purpose of Celebrate Recovery is to fellowship and celebrate God’s healing power in our lives through the Eight Recovery Principles found in the Beatitudes and Christ-centered 12 Steps.
Participants who progress through these principles and steps discover the personal, loving and forgiving power of Jesus Christ, achieving a sense of peace, serenity, joy and a stronger relationship with God.
Locals are invited to attend free sessions at 7 p.m. Fridays at 8886 Muraoka Drive in Gilroy. Issues dealt with include dependency on alcohol, chemicals or pornography; low self-esteem, depression, anger, abuse and fear of rejection or abandonment. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to learn and grow because every participant is treated with respect and everything is completely confidential.
Each evening follows the same format:
• 7 p.m.: Worship by men and women together including music, teaching or testimony and a curriculum developed during the past 20 years at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church currently used at some 20,000 churches worldwide.
• 8 p.m.: Open Share groups divided by gender. Participants discuss struggles and victories, often choosing sponsors to help them in their journeys.
• 9 p.m.: A time of fellowship as participants enjoy coffee and snacks, deepening their personal relationships and forging connections with each other.
According to organizers, there are many potential benefits to attending CR, but people need to know what it is not. Although leaders have received training, this is not a place for therapy; a place to seek dating relationships; a place to rescue or to be rescued; a place for judging others; or a place for a quick fix.
The team leaders at New Hope are Arlen and Ashley Summers. Six years into their marriage they recognized it was in crisis and their children were suffering. Ashley began attending CR at Family Community Church in San Jose while Arlen began attending Al-Anon (because it fit better into his work schedule). Soon they became able to recognize what their problems were and learned tools to improve their lives and get closer to God.
Nine years ago they both became active in CR, joining the leadership team at FCC. They moved to Gilroy in 2007 and joined New Hope in 2013. With the approval of Senior Pastor Malcolm MacPhail and other church leaders, they launched the Gilroy CR program last August. Attendance now averages nearly 50 people each week and the congregation has developed a team of 10 additional leaders.
To learn more about this program “for broken people who want to do better while finding peace, hope and freedom in their lives,” email [email protected]

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