During the visit, Malone heard a report on the fellowship’s success, and spoke with organizers on the importance of faith, fellowship and support.
The fellowship, which was adamant about protecting the identities of those who participate in it, is run by two organizers at the church. They guide members using the book “The Purpose-Driven Life.”
“We had a vision of what needed to be going on in our community, with so many people on drugs, with so many people dying,” said one organizer, who asked to remain anonymous. “But we’re not just about drugs and alcohol. Anyone who needs fellowship — that’s why we’re called fellowship recovery. Anyone with issues of any kind, we gather together.”
She emphasized that the group is not Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
“This book gives people a purpose,” she said. “All of us need to know that we have a purpose. It’s a faith-based program, and God has a plan for all of us and a purpose, and he gives us hope and so many people everywhere today are without hope. And we try to instill, through the guidance of this book and through the guidance of prayer, that there is hope for you.
“With God’s help you can address your issues. Without God’s help, maybe not so much. So that’s what we’re doing.”
They also provide recovery fellowship services at the Huron County Jail. They started making regular visits to the jail after Sheriff Dane Howard became aware of their meetings.
“He had learned about us and what we do, and he suggested, or asked, if we would be willing to come to the jail and present this book there,” the organizer said.
She said she and the other group leader go every Sunday to speak to the people in the jail.
“We’ve had a wonderful ministry there. Some of the folks that we have ministered to have come here on Tuesday nights for our fellowship. It’s just been a real blessing to have them continue their desire to change their lives,” she said.
“God created them and gave them a beautiful heart. Some of them have made some real bad decisions, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that God loves them.”
The group gives copies of “The Purpose-Driven Life” to the people they work with at the jail, and said many of them keep the books on hand when they are released. Others begin to attend the regular meetings.
According to her, these meetings have grown to be successful, with people coming from areas as far as Elyria. Each meeting has an attendance of about 20 to 30 people.
The fellowship is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Lakeview United Methodist Church, 6 South St., Berlin Heights. Anyone dealing with a difficult situation such as alcohol or drug recovery, depression or who has a family member going through a difficult situation, is welcome to attend.