Bayside Church celebrates recovery

KINGSTON — The coordinators of Bayside Community Church’s Celebrate Recovery gathering this weekend are hoping attendees will walk away feeling good about meeting new friends and seeing an award-winning nationally-recognized musician at the end of the night.

CR Ministry leader Brian Whelan and others have coordinated the event, which starts at 1 p.m. Nov. 20, at the church as a way for people to share their recovery program experiences with others from around the region.

Bayside’s CR is a Christ-centered recovery program, based on the national CR program, that has been taking place at the church since June 2003. Using the basics of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program, the group addresses problems from drug addiction to anger management. The group meets every Friday evening at Bayside.

Saturday’s event will have a similar agenda to a typical Friday night meeting with worship and testimonies, but will also include a potluck and a concert by contemporary Christian singer Bryan Duncan.

But the biggest thing Whelan hopes people get out of the event is the chance to interact with Bayside CR members and other Western Washington recovery group members, while also teaching newcomers what CR is all about.

“Just an understanding of what the program is about and how a Friday night works,” he said, noting that about 30 to 40 people, most of whom are not members of the church, currently attend Bayside’s weekly meeting.

Based on his past experiences from going to other CR conferences, Whelan discovered that just casually chatting with folks is where he attained the most helpful information on how to improve recovery efforts.

“I think the best information will be traded at the potluck from 3-5 p.m.,” he said.

Following the day’s events, the group will go to the North Kitsap Auditorium in Poulsbo to see a 7 p.m. performance by Duncan, who is in a Celebrate Recovery group himself. Tickets for the concert are $10 and can be purchased at the door or by calling (360) 297-2000.

Whelan stressed that these groups aren’t full of “drunks and bums,” and that some may be afraid to look into recovery programs because of that stereotype. Instead, people are finding they are not alone and can reach out to others who are going through similar situations.

“Lives are being changed and that’s the cool thing,” he said.

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