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The Refuge: A Community of Grace and Truth

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by Emily Morrison

The Refuge is known as “a community of grace and truth.” But what does that mean?

Dan Kent, who oversees the service portion of the evening explains, “It means we aspire to be a community that accepts you just as you are (grace), while also striving to help you become who God wants you to be (truth).”

Gary Beste, the facilitator of Discovery in Christ (a group for drug and alcohol support), told us about his own experience at The Refuge, both as an attendee and a leader:

“We’re all broken, so how can we help, pray and walk with each other? I had been coming to Woodland for a couple of months when I went up for prayer after the service and the volunteer asked me, ‘What do you do on Thursdays?’ I said, ‘I feel like you’re going to tell me.’ Turns out he was the Refuge coach for a twelve-step group.” Gary joined the group as a regular attendee, and later, stepped into a leadership role.

We asked Gary why he continues to stay on as a facilitator and he explained, “I want to be there for people when they need help. It gives me the ability to be on the front line for Jesus—the most rewarding place I could be, because that’s what was there for me when I came crawling to The Refuge for help.”

One of the men in Gary’s group, Jason Zaudtke, started attending Woodland about two years ago, but during his first year he was secretly battling addiction. “No one knew,” he says. Eventually he reached out for help and came back to Woodland after completing a treatment program. He knew he wanted to give back in some way to help people and, as a professional chef, he wondered if he could do that through cooking.  “Then one Sunday I was sitting there and my girlfriend started hitting my leg over and over with the bulletin. She pointed to an announcement that said, ‘Refuge Cooks Wanted.’ and said, ‘This is what you’ve been looking for!'”

So Jason volunteered as a cook and once there he met Gary and joined his group. “It’s my Thursday thing!” he says. “What I like about it is that it’s not just the twelve steps by itself, but it shows me how to involve my church and my faith at the same time. It also made me feel like I belong, which is the big thing. In recovery it’s hard to feel like you belong, but here I found people I can rely on and who really, truly understand.”

Beyond the recovery group, Refuge offers a wide variety of other issue-specific support groups. If you are interested in attending, The Refuge meets on Thursday evenings from 6-9 pm. The meal starts at 6:00 *($3 suggested donation), followed by a service at 6:30, and groups from 7:30-9. Childcare is provided from 6:30-9.

For more information contact Dan at dkent@whchurch.org

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