Carpinteria ARC Opens Recovery Corps
The Carpinteria, Calif., Recovery Fellowship Corps recently opened its doors for the first time. Led by Lieutenant Julie Brown, director of special services, 132 people attended a vibrant evening service. Lt. Grady Brown shared God’s Word, challenging all to support the new corps.
Major Marilyn Gregory, ARC Command corps coordinator, enrolled three senior soldiers and nine adherents, all of whom had attended membership classes at the ARC. Major Robert Gregory, ARCC personnel and property coordinator, installed Jerry Bloom as corps chaplain/coordinator.
Six months ago, the Carpinteria ARC began Sunday night services to fill a need for the men in the center. New men needed direction, and graduates were being lost because they couldn’t connect with a church. The first of these services were held in July, and attendance began to increase as men and their families came to enjoy the lively meetings.
As employees, counselors, volunteers, and people in the recovery community began attending the services on Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday evening, many expressed an interest in membership because they felt welcomed and cared for.
Encouraged by Major Dan Starrett, ARC commander, the Browns let him know they were ready to move forward and establish an outpost in Carpinteria.
The enrolled soldiers and adherents join six soldiers and five adherents already attending ARC services. Currently, 14 people are attending soldier and adherent classes. Their enrollment date is set for Easter Sunday.
Other programs have grown, as well. Sunday school began at the first of the year with 54 people in attendance. The second week, there were 67. Two new classes have had enthusiastic support.
In addition, a “12 Keys to Freedom” program has begun on Tuesday nights. Thursday Bible studies now include study groups that are open to the community. An Overcomer’s Outreach step study meets on Thursday evenings and is sponsored by the corps. Area church members, as well as sponsors, counselors, and many family members, have supported with attendance. Other programs are in the planning stages.
The most important element of the new corps has been the impact on the men in the program, and on their families. Brown reported that men are staying longer in the program. They are bringing their wives, children, mothers and fathers to the services, and graduates continue to stay in recovery more successfully. Several families have expressed a desire to have their children dedicated under the flag of The Salvation Army.
Lt. Julie Brown stated that if the numbers of people attending, or the lively spirit and support of the people, did not confirm the need for the corps, then seeing whole families come and kneel at the altar was God’s confirmation of it.