Celebrate Recovery marks five years in community with event on New Year’s Eve

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Donna and Jim Yearsin outside Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Photo by Deb Wuethrich.

Celebrate Recovery, an ecumenical ministry that helps people address their “hurts, habits and hang-ups,” will celebrate its five year anniversary of having the program in Tecumseh on New Year’s Eve. To commemorate the occasion, the group will hold a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 31, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. that will be followed by a “safe and sober” party to bring in the New Year.

“We plan to have food and fun with a euchre party and will watch a yet to be determined movie,” said Jim Yearsin, Southern Michigan state representative of the program. “We plan to ring in the New Year with a time of worship as the ball drops.” He said Celebrate Recovery welcomes others to join them for the free event which will be held at the group’s home base at Covenant Church, 313 N. Evans Street.

Yearsin said the group got its start in the spring of 2007 when Pastor Tom Hawkins of NewSong Community Church approached him and his wife, Donna, and asked them to start a Celebrate Recovery in Tecumseh.

“After a time of prayer and fasting we agreed on faith, not knowing where God would take us, but knowing that God indeed had a plan for us,” said Yearsin. “The only condition was that we were to lead the program by the book, and it was our desire to lead a model Celebrate Recovery based on the Saddleback model from Pastor Rick Warren’s church in Orange County, California.”

The program was founded more than 20 years ago by John Baker and his wife, Cheryl, at Saddleback and has grown to a worldwide movement with material translated into more than 20 languages. Its website at www.CelebrateRecovery.com notes that more than 700,000 people have gone through the program and groups have met in more than 17,000 churches. As the Southern Michigan state representative, Yearsin has assisted the formation of new groups in other churches in the region including in Monroe and Adrian. Most recently, Celebrate Recovery has started inside the Gus Harrison facility in Adrian.

Tecumseh’s Celebrate Recovery has moved around a bit, but now has found a home in the Covenant Church (formerly St. Peter’s). In August of 2007, Yearsin and his wife, Donna, attended the annual three-day Celebrate Recovery Summit at Saddleback and returned with a 90-day plan to start a chapter in Tecumseh. “One of the things we knew we needed was an appropriate facility,” Yearsin said. “We would need space for worship, teaching and testimonies, and we would need meeting rooms for our gender-based, issue specific groups and a place to have our fellowship events.”

Pastor Hawkins introduced the couple to Pastor Richard Mortimer of the First Presbyterian Church in Tecumseh and the group used the church at 211 W. Chicago for a few years. Yearsin said through the help of numerous volunteers, the first meeting was held on Friday, Jan. 4, 2008.

“We had 43 participants that first night and that was still our largest turnout,” he said. “That was a testimony to the desire for people to experience healing and restoration through the power of Jesus Christ, and the steps and principles of recovery.”

In October of 2010 the group launched “Celebration Station,” designed for kids ages 6-13 in what the Yearsins call “pre-covery,” which teaches the same principles and lessons taught in adult groups but at age appropriate levels. Donna Yearsin, who is a training coach for the program, is very involved with the Celebration Station programs. The group also hopes to soon re-launch “The Landing,” which is a recovery program for middle and high school students.

“There are lots of hurting kids in our community who need the support and hope that this program can offer,” said Yearsin. “By offering these programs, we’re trying to put ourselves out of business in the future.” He added that Celebrate Recovery also provides support for family members of those who struggle, and noted that people come into the programs with not just alcohol or drug addiction situations.

“Some people struggle with sexual addiction, anger, shopping or spending too much, or food addictions; some are survivors of abuse,” Yearsin said. He tells the story of one group member who learned of the group through a Tecumseh Herald article when Celebrate Recovery first started.

“This coming December 31st, we will not only be celebrating our fifth anniversary in Tecumseh, we will also be celebrating his five-year sobriety and he will be receiving his five-year chip at our celebration,” Yearsin said. The man, along with his wife, have taken things a step further and will begin a Celebrate Recovery group at their home church at Bethany Assembly of God in Adrian. “He’s been faithful in working his recovery,” Yearsin said.

Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday nights and may include fellowship activities such as dinner or dessert sharing. The meeting itself includes a time of worship, testimony, readings of the 12-step principles and the full version of the Serenity Prayer. The attendees then break into gender-specific or issue-specific sessions. Youth programs run concurrently, and childcare is available for children under five years of age.

“We also do quarterly fellowship events, and have gone on hayrides, played golf at Stone Mountain and other things,” Yearsin said.

Celebrate Recovery will also be supporting a new movie coming out April 19 that features the program in the film. It will open at the Adrian MJR Theaters.

“It’s a story of hope and restoration on the line of a ‘Courageous,’” said Yearsin. “We’re committed to selling 1,000 tickets for opening weekend.”
Donna Yearsin said that friendships and bonds have been formed among group members as they share their journeys and learn new healthy lifestyles and behaviors and do things together.

“If you’re going to change your life, you’ve got to change your relationships,” she said.

For more information, call 424.4345 or email jyearsin@yahoo.com.




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