Women's support group to hold first meeting

It got started when ladies associated with the Mooers United Methodist Church voiced a desire to have a place to meet to communicate their common issues. From my understanding, it grew out of the self-help group (Twelve-Step Model), but it seems to have caught on and has interest in just being a supportive faith group for ladies, said Pastor Al Johnson. The organizers simply want to offer women a place to share and grow. No dues, no fees, no membership required, and no men, myself included. Im just helping to get it off the ground. Some important aspects of the group are anonymity of members (use of first names only), opposition to cross-talk (i.e.: dialogue with the person who is currently speaking), the right of anyone to pass when the group is sharing on the weeks chosen topic, the absence of a leader, and the lack of emphasis on a particular faith. The Twelve-Step Model helps one to find the god of their understanding, said Pastor Johnson. So if a person wrestles with the God of Christianity, thats not a pre-requisite. Part of the groups guiding principles are these steps, summed up as follows: We admitted we were powerless over our life and it had become unmanageable; we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity; and we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God. Some people when they start, they start in a Good Orderly Direction (GOD), Pastor Johnson said. So whatever they can latch onto to help them get started, to help them deal with issues they have, is okay. It might just be the power of the collective conscience thats in the group. Further guidelines are the Twelve Traditions, including the following: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on the group unity, leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern, and the only requirement for membership is a desire to live well. The Twelve Promises are also guidelines. They include: We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness, we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it, and we will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. The benefit of the support group, according to its meeting format document, is: Whatever your problems, concerns, or issues, there are others here who have had them too. If you allow yourself to listen to both yourself and others, you may find the help you are looking for. You will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be improved upon and no unhappiness too great to be lessened. Regular attendance can be beneficial, giving freedom from the past and facilitating life-change, but it is not required. The Mooers Womens Faith Support Group will hold its first meeting on Monday, April 2, from 7 to 8 p.m. in The Pine Room at Mooers United Methodist Church. Traditionally, a lot of Twelve-Step groups meet in houses of worship, but not all, Pastor Johnson said. Sometimes theyre held in fire houses or American Legions. The group is open to any woman from teenager on up. That Im aware of, a fundamental Twelve-Step self-help group says youre not beholden to any organization, Pastor Johnson said. So it doesnt become a church organization. For more information contact Pastor Al Johnson at 236-7129 or pastoral@twcny.rr.com

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