Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

DivorceCare seeks to help those hurting from divorce or separation

Going through the pain of separation or divorce can seem overwhelming. DivorceCare, an international organization based in Wake Forest, N.C., and some local churches want to help.

"DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life's most difficult experiences," says the organization's website.

The ministry provides Bible-based support materials for groups, such as churches, to conduct classes and support groups. The 13 to 15 classroom sessions are taught by video instruction and followed by discussion. Each class runs about 90 minutes.

St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Spring Hill will begin new sessions of the ministry Feb. 16. Christian Church in the Wildwood will be start its course Feb. 22. Grace World Outreach Church in Brooksville will host two classes, along with DivorceCare for Kids classes, later this year.

As she has for the last several years, Pat Lonergan will facilitate the classes at St. Frances Cabrini, along with Kathy Small.

"I have a master's in counseling and am happy to donate my time and talent to the church," Lonergan said. "In my experience, most attendees have found the program to be very beneficial in trying to heal from the trauma of divorce and separation."

The first session at the church will begin with prayer, a brief introduction of the facilitators and participants, a 30-minute video about what to expect during the following weeks, general information about separation and divorce, and then discussion about the video.

"Participants share only if they choose to do so," Lonergan said. "Then we close with another prayer."

There is no cost to attend the course at St. Frances Cabrini; an optional workbook is available for purchase.

According to its website, DivorceCare video topics include "What's Happening to Me?"; "The Road to Healing/Finding Help"; "Facing My Anger"; "Facing My Depression"; "Facing My Loneliness"; "What Does the Owner's Manual Say?"; "New Relationships,"; "Financial Survival"; "KidCare"; "Single Sexuality"; "Forgiveness"; "Reconciliation"; and "Moving On, Growing Closer to God."

The class at Christian Church in the Wildwood will be facilitated by church members Robert and Christine Davis.

"DivorceCare is a biblically based ministry that provides a warm, welcoming, safe and confidential place to find hope and healing," Robert Davis said. "(Those attending) will learn how to deal with the pain of the past and look forward to rebuilding a new life."

The Davises, who have facilitated the course for the past two years, say they are uniquely qualified to guide people through the course. Both have been through separation and divorce.

"We truly understand what they are feeling and experiencing," Christine Davis said. "It is a ministry and a passion to reach out to those who are in desperate need for hope and healing."

The companion workbook costs $15; the church will provide a scholarship for anyone that cannot afford it, along with a free Bible if someone needs one.

Anna Vasquez-Gies, 35, took the course at St. Frances Cabrini last fall, shortly after her divorce was finalized.

"I wanted to find some other people that had been through similar situations, just to talk to and have camaraderie with," she said. "It was the right timing for me."

There were about 25 people in Vasquez-Gies' class, of varied ages and situations. Some were believers in the Bible, and some were not, she said.

"Some people had been in long relationships. It was great to have people who understood," she said, emphasizing that everything discussed in the class is kept confidential. "Nobody is judgmental about anyone else's situation. It's a loving environment. People are open and friendly."

Describing herself as a "person of faith," Vasquez-Gies said she was happy the videos have a spiritual emphasis.

"It was based on the teachings of Jesus Christ," she said, "but the group itself didn't push that."

Children also suffer from the pain of divorce, and Vasquez-Gies was happy to have support in talking about child custody issues.

"I'm very glad that I went," she said.

Along with its two DivorceCare seminars each year, Grace World Outreach Church in Brooksville offers DivorceCare for Kids, which helps children adjust to the challenges of living with divorced parents and fosters communication between children and parents.

Lonergan said participants at St. Frances Cabrini are welcome to attend as many of the class sessions as they wish.

"I believe if only one person finds solace from the DivorceCare program, it is well worth the time devoted to these classes," she said. "Even though (participants') stories are different, they find some comfort listening to the videos and the other participants, knowing that they are not alone."

Going through the pain of separation or divorce can seem overwhelming. DivorceCare, an international organization based in Wake Forest, N.C., and some local churches want to help.

"DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life's most difficult experiences," says the organization's website.

The ministry provides Bible-based support materials for groups, such as churches, to conduct classes and support groups. The 13 to 15 classroom sessions are taught by video instruction and followed by discussion. Each class runs about 90 minutes.

St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Spring Hill will begin new sessions of the ministry Feb. 16. Christian Church in the Wildwood will be start its course Feb. 22. Grace World Outreach Church in Brooksville will host two classes, along with Divorce­Care for Kids classes, later this year.

As she has for the last several years, Pat Lonergan will facilitate the classes at St. Frances Cabrini, along with Kathy Small.

"I have a master's in counseling and am happy to donate my time and talent to the church," Lonergan said. "In my experience, most attendees have found the program to be very beneficial in trying to heal from the trauma of divorce and separation."

The first session at the church will begin with prayer, a brief introduction of the facilitators and participants, a 30-minute video about what to expect during the following weeks, general information about separation and divorce, and then discussion about the video.

"Participants share only if they choose to do so," Lonergan said. "Then we close with another prayer."

There is no cost to attend the course at St. Frances Cabrini; an optional workbook is available for purchase.

According to its website, DivorceCare video topics include "What's Happening to Me?"; "The Road to Healing/Finding Help"; "Facing My Anger"; "Facing My Depression"; "Facing My Loneliness"; "What Does the Owner's Manual Say?"; "New Relationships,"; "Financial Survival"; "KidCare"; "Single Sexuality"; "Forgiveness"; "Reconciliation"; and "Moving On, Growing Closer to God."

The class at Christian Church in the Wildwood will be facilitated by church members Robert and Christine Davis.

"DivorceCare is a Biblically based ministry that provides a warm, welcoming, safe and confidential place to find hope and healing," Robert Davis said. "(Those attending) will learn how to deal with the pain of the past and look forward to rebuilding a new life."

The Davises, who have facilitated the course for the past two years, say they are uniquely qualified to guide people through the course. Both have been through separation and divorce.

"We truly understand what they are feeling and experiencing," Christine Davis said. "It is a ministry and a passion to reach out to those who are in desperate need for hope and healing."

The companion workbook costs $15; the church will provide a scholarship for anyone that cannot afford it, along with a free Bible if someone needs one.

Anna Vasquez-Gies, 35, took the course at St. Frances Cabrini last fall, shortly after her divorce was finalized.

"I wanted to find some other people that had been through similar situations, just to talk to and have camaraderie with," she said. "It was the right timing for me."

There were about 25 people in Vasquez-Gies' class, of varied ages and situations. Some were believers in the Bible, and some were not, she said.

"Some people had been in long relationships. It was great to have people who understood," she said, emphasizing that everything discussed in the class is kept confidential. "Nobody is judgmental about anyone else's situation. It's a loving environment. People are open and friendly."

Describing herself as a "person of faith," Vasquez-Gies said she was happy the videos have a spiritual emphasis.

"It was based on the teachings of Jesus Christ," she said, "but the group itself didn't push that."

Children also suffer from the pain of divorce, and Vasquez-Gies was happy to have support in talking about child custody issues.

"I'm very glad that I went," she said.

Along with its two Divorce­Care seminars each year, Grace World Outreach Church in Brooksville offers DivorceCare for Kids, which helps children adjust to the challenges of living with divorced parents and fosters communication between children and parents.

Lonergan said participants at St. Frances Cabrini are welcome to attend as many of the class sessions as they wish.

"I believe if only one person finds solace from the Divorce­Care program, it is well worth the time devoted to these classes," she said. "Even though (participants') stories are different, they find some comfort listening to the videos and the other participants, knowing that they are not alone."

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