Celebrating a fresh start
You know how some memories are seared into your brain? The first time I went to Celebrate Recovery is one of those moments for me. I remember walking into the Memorial Chapel on a Wednesday night, hearing people declaring freedom from addiction and past hurts, and I felt a little like Moses in Exodus 3 at the Burning Bush. I felt like I was standing on Holy Ground. I kicked off my Birkenstocks and joined in worship with people who were proclaiming a God of deliverance. It was so lifegiving to see people living in freedom.
Over the last 23 years, so many people have experienced that freedom found at Celebrate Recovery Narrows. It is a ministry that goes beyond the walls of any one church and seeks to serve the entire community of Gig Harbor and the entire south sound region. When CR started in Gig Harbor, the hope and prayer was that people from our local community would find a place to bring their hurts, habits, and hang-ups to a good and gracious God who has the power to heal anything and anyone. That is why it was intentionally named “Celebrate Recovery Narrows,” a recognition that it did not belong to one church but was a ministry to all. The incredible thing is that for the past 23 years, we’ve seen that happen. People from all different churches and from all over the community have walked through the doors of CR to an all-are-welcome group that quickly becomes what CR calls a forever family. If you come to Celebrate Recovery, you’ll see this represented in the leadership team and the participants who represent many different churches and communities, and you will experience that forever family.
In March of this year, our CR director came to me and said that it might be time for Celebrate Recovery Narrows to have a fresh start in a new location, on a new night so that even more people could take the courageous step of going to Celebrate Narrows. CR was growing beyond our walls. We sensed a growing need for Celebrate Recovery in our community, and along with that came the need for a dedicated space and night. After several months of prayer and discernment, we can now officially announce that beginning August 7, Celebrate Recovery Narrows will meet at Harbor Covenant Church on Monday nights at 6:30 pm. The final week for CR at Chapel Hill will be Wednesday, July 26.
This isn’t the first time we have released a ministry that has grown beyond the walls of our building: REACH Ministries was founded in 1995 at Chapel Hill to serve, through the love of Jesus, the families affected by HIV/AIDS. Almost 30 years later, REACH serves families in the Pacific Northwest through camp and retreat weekends, mentoring, and year-round family support activities.
There are times when the best thing we can do to serve the broader community is to give away that which doesn’t belong to us in the first place. I love how one of our team members put it: “I feel a little like the rich young ruler. We have heard Jesus invite us to release what is not our possession. There is a bit of sorrow…maybe even grief…because Celebrate Recovery is our treasure! But it is not really ours. It is a heavenly treasure for all the poor in spirit. That forever family is what we are living to build up. So, we celebrate this move, looking forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. We celebrate what God has been doing, is doing now, and what he will continue to do through Celebrate Recovery.”
This decision and process was not easy. Pastor Mark said that it feels a bit like a parent watching a child launch out of the home. But Celebrate Recovery is still very much a part of who we are at Chapel Hill. We are still a part of this forever family. We will still attend CR on a different night in a different place. We celebrate what the Lord has done in this ministry while it met on our campus. And we celebrate this new season of ministry. After all, celebration is in the name!