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Church recommends ministry to prisoners

Fresh Start Community Church in Moore recently offered a seminar to encourage other local churches to offer the “Celebrate Recovery” support group ministry in Oklahoma prisons.
by Carla Hinton Published: May 19, 2012

— Brad Yarberry and Tammy Chaffin know the benefits of a recovery support group ministry being offered in state prisons.

The duo each participated in “Celebrate Recovery Inside” while serving prison sentences.

Now successfully reintegrated into society, the pair serve as volunteers for the program begun by noted evangelist Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

“It is lifesaving and life-changing,” Yarberry said of the program during a recent event at Fresh Start Community Church, 309 N Eastern in Moore.

The church offered the “Celebrate Recovery Inside One Day Seminar” on May 12 hoping to encourage other local churches to go into prisons to host the support group ministry for offenders.

The church's senior pastor, the Rev. Dave Dooley, said the Celebrate Recovery and Celebrate Recovery programs have been offered at his church for many years because his church members are accepting of others and have the heart to reach out to the community.

“Celebrate Recovery is about changed lives,” Dooley said.

He said several members of his congregation joined to offer the support group ministry one day a week to people who have addictions, hang-ups and other troubles they seek to recover from. He said it seemed natural to offer the program to prisoners since many of them also are burdened by addictions and life issues they need to address.

At its heart, Celebrate Recovery combines the faith principles of the Beatitudes from the biblical Book of Matthew with the 12-Step recovery process typified by organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous. The program offers support groups for addicts and also a separate group for the addicts' loved ones. Some churches also offer support groups for children and teens affected by a loved one's addiction.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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