Churches Help People in Divorce During the Holiday Season

November 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Christian News

Churches across the nation are hosting DivorceCare Surviving the Holidays seminars to help people in divorce or separation deal with the painful, debilitating emotions they face during the holiday season. The total participation from non-churched people has exceeded expectations.

Churches are finding this two-hour, video-based seminar consistently draws people from the community into their churches. Don Hooper, who led an event at Worthington Christian Church in Columbus, OH, said, “We were overwhelmed with the turnout … 40! There were 10-15 who had never walked through the door before!”

Why are these programs so effective?

Dr. Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University specializing in religion and culture, says, “In times of death or divorce, people are most likely to reengage in a church.” With a Surviving the Holidays seminar, churches act as an oasis, providing on-target help when people are hurting the most. A one-session seminar is a low-risk, low-commitment way for newcomers to step into a church environment for help.

The lay-led, biblically based Surviving the Holidays seminars begin with a 40-minute video presentation. The video features short interviews with Christian counselors, authors, speakers and others who have faced the holidays after a separation or divorce. Experts interviewed include H. Norman Wright, Paul Tripp, Sabrina Black and Elsa Kok Colopy.

After viewing the video, seminar attendees participate in small group discussion focused on information presented in the video and personal experiences of divorce or separation. Topics discussed include:

· Is it normal to feel depressed during the holidays?

· Child custody issues

· What to do if you’re alone for Thanksgiving or Christmas

· How can God and others help me this holiday season?

The Surviving the Holidays resource comes as a kit, which includes a DVD video session, a Leader’s Guide with instructions for hosting an event and suggestions on how to promote the seminar throughout the community, Holiday Survival Guides to pass out to attendees, and access to free, online promotional tools. Kits can be ordered online at www.divorcecare.org/surviving or by phone, 800- 489-7778.

Is it too late to plan an event? “We only had two weeks to promote, but we had 25 people show up,” shared Naomi Ford-Bolt of All Nations Lutheran Church in Nashville. Jeanie Postell, who hosted an event at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, said, “We planned it really very last minute, but there were somewhere between 55 and 60 folks here.”

About DivorceCare
DivorceCare is a network of over 12,000 churches worldwide equipped to offer divorce recovery support groups. A searchable database of DivorceCare groups is located on the web at www.divorcecare.org. DivorceCare is a ministry of Church Initiative of Wake Forest, NC

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