Here are some answers.
Why did you start Healing Refuge?
We’re in recovery ourselves. We’re also church members. We’ve watched congregations try to help those who struggle with addiction, trauma, and mental illness. They mean well. They want to help. But they haven’t been very successful. Part of this is lack of understanding. Few church members have actually experienced these problems first-hand. They don’t understand the life and death struggle that many of us face trying to get recovery.
But there’s also a cultural aspect. One long-time pastor described it as, “We put on our best face at church.” The underlying assumption is that going to church makes your life look right. That suggests that if your life isn’t right, you’re doing something wrong, and no one wants to admit that.
But Jesus said, “Those who are well need no physician” (Mark 2:17). When we’re struggling, we don’t need to be singled out as “the project.” We need people who’ve been there, who understand, and who will walk with us as equals. That’s the kind of community we want Healing Refuge to be.
What do you do at your gatherings?
Right now, we do a Bible Study on the Twelve Steps every Tuesday. Most people know the Steps as tools of recovery, and they’re very effective. Many don’t know that these same Steps originated in a Christian discipleship movement called the Oxford Groups. The Steps are a practical guide for discipleship as well as healing.
On Thursdays, we gather to share our challenges and pray for each other. (See this blog post on healing prayer.)
On Sundays, we celebrate together in worship and then share a meal.
What’s most important is not the individual activities we do, but meeting together regularly, getting to know and trust each other, and building the support that every one of us needs. Only in a trusting group can we become honest enough to share our brokenness, and only by sharing it can we find healing.
What if I don’t believe what you believe?
We don’t ask that you believe anything. We’re Christians, and we don’t hide that. We share from our experience, which includes our relationship with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. But following Jesus is and always has been a choice each person makes for themselves.
Some of us previously followed other religions. We respect those who choose to follow them, and hope that the principles we teach might be useful.
Some of us have been skeptics or atheists, and had bad experiences with Christians in the past. We know that few people are convinced of good intentions by words alone– or by browbeating. We encourage you to walk with us for a while. Whether faith comes to you or not, we will strive to be examples of Jesus’ loving Gospel.
Still have questions? Contact us!