Anaheim opens ARC recovery corps
A crowd of more than 250 filled the chapel and crowded the anterooms of the Anaheim Adult Rehabilitation Center as Colonel Phil Needham, chief secretary, formally dedicated the Anaheim ARC recovery corps. Needham and Envoy Lynn Svoboda, in-charge, commissioned the first local officers.
Colonel Keitha Needham, territorial secretary of Women’s Organizations, Lt. Colonel Daniel Starrett, ARC commander, Lt. Colonel Helen Starrett, ARC command director of special services, and Majors Glen and Mary Doss, Anaheim ARC, also helped mark the event with song, testimonies, preaching and prayer.
Personal testimonies by the new local officers, Corps Sergeant Major Tina Beaudreau and Corps Treasurer Nancy Lerer, clearly moved the congregation.
When Tina’s husband was a beneficiary in the ARC program in 1994, she attended chapel with him on occasion, she said. One Sunday morning, she “felt compelled to go to the altar. I was praying for God to come into my heart, for my marriage, and that the changes I was seeing in my husband be real….God answered those prayers. I soon started going to Nar-Anon, a 12-step program for families of addicts, and began working the 12-steps for myself. Prayer became a lifeline for me.”
She and her husband were still searching for a church home when in late 1998, she was invited to visit the recovery corps which was evolving at the ARC. “I loved the service. It was 12-step oriented and had congregation participation in the service–I totally related to the singing and the message.
Nancy Lerer, in her testimony, explained she “was born into a middle class Jewish family. I never felt I fit in while I was growing up…I relied on substances to fill that hole inside me. It started with food, then cigarettes, then pot, speed and cocaine in large quantities over a long period of years. This still didn’t help. It just masked the feelings that having a big hole inside caused.”
She heard about the ARC corps when attending a public Narcotics Anonymous meeting at the facility. Still, after almost six years in recovery, “I didn’t have the daily conscious contact with my higher power that I have now. I turned my life over to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This started a marvelous journey that has brought me to the place I am today. I am able to give back some of the love, hope and strength to which I was introduced when I first got clean.
Needham, in commissioning the new local officers, pointed out that Christ’s original disciples were also in recovery. “That’s where the church began, with those 12 guys. If there was ever a recovery group, it was that group of 12 men who were very pigheaded, who made many, many mistakes, and had to be lifted up again and again–especially Peter, who became one of the great leaders of the church.”
Those early church founders were also lay people, he said. “Whenever something vital happened in the history of the church, it was the lay people who were at the very center of it. The center of this corps will be folks like Tina and Nancy–those lay people who make themselves available to the Holy Spirit who will lead and enable them to minister to and touch the lives of others. Nancy and Tina have a calling no less than any Salvation Army officer or any ordained minister. Officers, if you like, are called to go; local officers are called to stay. And, in many ways, staying is more difficult than going. If the world is going to be saved, it will be saved through the ministry of those who stay.
Anaheim ARC soldier Bruce Markham sang a stirring solo during the offertory; the Tustin Ranch Corps’ “Praise Works!” band provided featured entertainment.
The Anaheim ARC Corps was opened as an outpost in October 1998 and designated a corps effective August 1, 1999.