St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Greenville, SC is engaged and bringing change personally to the community they love. They call themselves “Battle Buddies”. Women doing ministry for women with children fighting substance abuse. St. Paul’s knows addiction is a leading cause of family collapse and harm to children in Upstate South Carolina. They are there to battle for their buddies at Serenity Place.
Serenity Place and is a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for women. Serenity Place is part of the larger umbrella of the Family Effect which has various residential and outpatient treatment facilities in the area. The mission of the Serenity Place is to heal the mother’s addiction and also keep families intact. Many of the women are pregnant and have preschool school age children. SP is unique because the mothers can bring their younger children with them to treatment. The women receive group counseling, classes, mentoring, individual counseling, planning for the future. In addition individuals from the community come and teach basic life skill classes such as budgeting, parenting skills, etc. Many of the children come to the Serenity Place with development and emotional needs from living with a parent or parents who use. The children are treated, cared for and educated with while their moms attend their classes. In fact, a new child therapeutic center is under construction right now with plans for completion this year.
St. Pauls member Jen Harding says, “From a spiritual perspective, the women are hungry. I was thinking a couple of weeks ago about it in the sense that these women are lost in a deep, dark cave. No hope, no idea if they will ever be free, wondering if people on the outside have forgotten about them or worse yet, if God has forgotten about them. What does one do if lost in a deep dark cave but search for a source of Light. For these women, the Light is Jesus. As the women get closer to the light that is Jesus, hope emerges and it is beautiful thing”.
There are many churches and religious organizations of all denominations serving as the Body of Christ for the women and children of the Serenity Place. St. Paul’s journeys with the women through Bible Study groups, prayer group, serving homemade meals and providing hand crocheted baby blankets and prayer squares.
The women really are the Same Kind of Different as me OR as put another way, the ground at the base of the cross is level. Brothers and Sisters, like the friends of the Paralytic Man let us join together and lower the women and children of the SP on their mats to the feet of Jesus and just as in the parable, the faith of the women will be seen and they will be healed AND the faith of the friends will be seen and we will all be part of the blessing.