Becky Davies can’t compare DivorceCare to other support groups for people going through divorce or separation. She hasn’t been to other support groups. But she has facilitated DivorceCare at Northwoods Community Church for the last three years. A lot of the sessions deal with what the Bible has to say about divorce, she says. So what does the Bible say about divorce? “It does not like divorce.” Davies doubts anyone does, which is one reason she’s passionate about the program.
Becky Davies can’t compare DivorceCare to other support groups for people going through divorce or separation. She hasn’t been to other support groups. But she has facilitated DivorceCare at Northwoods Community Church for the last three years.
A lot of the sessions deal with what the Bible has to say about divorce, she says.
So what does the Bible say about divorce? “It does not like divorce.”
Davies doubts anyone does, which is one reason she’s passionate about the program.
Thursday was the last session of DivorceCare at the church.
Over the past 13 weeks, a small group, a few more women than men, sorted through all the torn feelings that come with divorce, from anger and shock to loneliness and depression. While the adults met in one room, child participants of DC4K, or DivorceCare for Kids, met in another for dinner, crafts and other projects.
The goal was to help adults understand why forgiveness is important, how reconciliation can occur even if the marriage can’t be salvaged and how a strengthened relationship with God can eventually grow out of a broken marriage.
If 13 weeks of DivorceCare is designed to help people begin the singular process of healing, DC4K aims to have a broader impact.
“We’re trying to knock down the pattern with the kids so they don’t think they need to grow up and get married and get divorced,” says Carolyn Gunn, who oversees a variety of Northwoods’ support groups, including DivorceCare and 12-step programs.
Neither DivorceCare or DC4K is specific to Northwoods. It is a program model, laid out in a series of DVD seminars moderated by nationally-known ministers and available at www.divorcecare.org — where those interested can also find DivorceCare ministry kits, DivorceCare posters, DivorceCare publicity brochures or DivorceCare CDs among items for sale.
“We believe there is no healing without Christ,” Gunn says of DivorceCare’s goals, which is a long way from the days when many churches routinely taught Christianity forbids divorce and remarriage.
Gunn says the Biblical grounds for divorce include infidelity and physical abuse. A “non-believer” who wants out of the marriage or enters into a different lifestyle, including long-term substance abuse, can also be grounds for divorce. Remarriage, she says, should not happen unless a person has exhausted all attempts to reconcile with the original spouse or if the ex-spouse remarries.
Increasingly, churches are accepting the fact that the divorce rate among church members can be as high as the divorce rate of the general population. Eight area churches are currently running or have recently completed DivorceCare workshops.
About 4,000 people attend Northwoods, Gunn says. She estimates the divorce rate of the congregation mirrors the national average of about 50 percent.
However, Northwoods’ Divorce-Care program is not just for Northwoods’ members. Non-members are welcome, though Davies suspects, of the recent group, more are members than not.
Northwoods’ DivorceCare facilitators are volunteers but they must have experienced divorce in order to work with the program. Davies was divorced nine years ago. She and her current husband, Jeff, are the main leaders of DivorceCare at Northwoods.
“I wish I would’ve had something like this when I went through my divorce,” she says.
She says “faith-filled” women supported her through her divorce, along with Bible study classes and counseling. “But when you’re in the midst of it, you can’t imagine feeling happy again.”
With each new DivorceCare session, she has learned the faces and names may change but the stories are essentially the same.
“When you go through a divorce, you feel so alone. You don’t think anybody else has ever gone through the same thing. But I’m starting to understand we, as humans, make the same mistakes over and over again.”
The healing begins, she says, when participants realize they’re not alone.
Pam Adams can be reached at (309) 686-3245 or email@example.com.