BROOKVILLE — Whether a person is suffering from addiction or an emotional struggle, support is available through Celebrate Recovery, a ministry program offered at the Brookville Church of God.

Celebrate Recovery (CR) is designed “to help hurting people” begin “a journey toward wholeness.”

Celebrate Recovery is held every Monday evening at the Church of God, led by a five-member ministry team of trained leaders: Rick and Lisa Ross, Barb Yeany, and Tyler and Molly Ross. The group has been meeting for six years, offering confidential support through Christ-centered principles.

“One of the things that is very important is that when we talk about recovery, everyone’s mind generally goes to drugs and alcohol,” Lisa Ross said. “Celebrate Recovery has a host of life issues that are encompassed in the ministry,” from anger to anxiety to shame to perfectionism to other addictions.

“Anything you can recover from is part of Celebrate Recovery,” Rick Ross said. “Our end goal is to bring people to a relationship with Jesus Christ and to be free from their issues, having Jesus Christ come alongside them in their walk and recovery, and really experience freedom.”

Team members stressed that “Celebrate Recovery is not church. It is designed to bring those who are lost and or struggling to a safe place where they can be themselves without fear of judgment or condemnation.”

“We have churched and not churched come through the doors; it’s a blessing either way. This is an opportunity for anyone in the community,” Rick Ross said.

Although Celebrate Recovery is biblically based, “we do not try to inject our personal beliefs,” Molly Ross said. “We are not licensed counselors, so we don’t offer psychiatry or psychology. CR is a peer-based group, here to support each other.”

Lisa Ross said, “One of our guidelines is that we are here to support each other, not fix each other. Everybody that comes has their own personal recovery, something they work on between them and God, with the support of the people they are in group with.”

Each week the Celebrate Recovery meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a time of fellowship, followed by a large group study which includes prayer, praise and worship.

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Everyone then goes into small groups for sharing, men with men and women with women, where confidentiality is stressed. “We typically average 15-20 participants on a meeting night and our age group is very diverse in that we have young adults to those in their 60s,” Rick Ross said. The only restriction for participating is that a person must be 18 or older. The meeting closes with a time of fellowship.

Tyler Ross said one of the “big things about Celebrate Recovery is the environment it provides for people, whatever their issue. It gives them an opportunity to talk about what they are struggling with; it no longer just has to be on their mind, in their head, the biggest secret of their lives. You are in an environment where you can get it out. Sometimes it takes time, but you know that you can walk into this room and say something, and that’s where it is going to stay.”

Lisa Ross added, “We laugh. We joke. We cry. You come as you are and hopefully leave touched by the Holy Spirit.”

Each member of the CR leadership team was struggling with issues when the local CR program was started. Their issues included “a need for self-forgiveness,” “realizing that God is in control and I’m not,” “overcoming co-dependency,” “learning to take care of myself,” “healing from grief and past hurts” and “celebrating six years of sobriety.” Team member Barb Yeany said, “Anyone that struggles with anything could benefit” from Celebrate Recovery.

The local ministry began in January 2015, after several weeks of training for the ministry team. “We were searching for an opportunity for support,” Lisa Ross said, “and were drawn to this ministry, thinking it might be something that could help other people and finding that we were the very ones that benefitted first. From there it just blossomed.”

Celebrate Recovery meets every Monday night, including any and all holidays. “Sometimes those holidays are when somebody is having their worst day and needs somebody,” Yeany said.

“The only time we have missed in the last six years not meeting here was ten weeks from March when the church was closed for COVID,” Rick Ross said. During those weeks, “we did it live on Facebook.”

Team members agree it requires a strong commitment, “but because we are on the national locator map, we would never want not to be here if someone shows up,” Lisa Ross said.

Along with the weekly meetings, “another thing we like to do is service,” Rick Ross said. “We give back to the community as much as we can. We like to be active in community events that are available and we really stress to our participants to get involved, because sometimes that is key to recovery, to be accepted into something else. We always like to present service opportunities. Some people are introverts, and when you can see them come into something like that and blossom, it’s tremendous.”

Rick Ross said, “At Celebrate Recovery, we build a relationship with each other. Once you open up and start sharing with each other, you really become joined. We call ourselves a forever family, a bond that never rally gets broken.”

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