What a great time to launch a New Church for people in Recovery!?  FreshSTART is a non-profit that is a project of the Harpeth River District and the TN Annual Conference.  “For the past two and a half years we have been doing intense relational ministry in local jails and in the community, we have had small groups, classes and even worship… we have a thriving Celebrate Recovery program and tons of missional ministry, including ministries for children and teens… we operate two transitional houses… we have had awesome events and have transformed an existing church… but as of 12/31/17 we are now officially a “church”  says Pastor, Church Planter and Non-Profit Director Rev. Angy Trimmer.
     “Our community has been devastated by the effect of drugs.  We need solutions.  The men and women we meet need Jesus.  So many people have prayed for so long for this to be a reality.  The people who need help are black, white and Hispanic… we need a church for all the people.  I’m so proud to see the United Methodist Church step up to this challenge!” says Annie Hardison, Recovery Minister who is on staff with FreshSTART and is looking forward to her future in the UMC.  
     “My church, St. Luke UMC in Columbia, has been a partner with FreshSTART from the beginning,” boasts Gary Pinson who oversees the men’s transitional housing program.  “We need more churches like St. Luke who see the potential transformation for the community we all live in.  It has been such a blessing to our church to serve meals, volunteer and even lead worship.  It brings us together in mission to people we get to meet and form relationships with.”
     “This is my dream come true!” says Cynthia McGowan, Certified Lay Minister.  “8 years ago my life fell apart because of addiction.  My 3 children were deeply affected and it took lots of work for my family to find healing and wholeness again.  FreshSTART Recovery Church is so important because it gives a place to call home for those who are struggling and need to be surrounded by people who know Recovery, live Recovery, speak Recovery.  They need a church with no judgment and no labels… where no one is afraid of a convicted felon and no one is surprised that you are still trying to figure out how to get your kids back… a place where kids aren’t ashamed to say their Mom or Dad is in prison… a place where people love on kids whose parents are still in active addiction or in jail. My family is so proud of me for being a part of creating this new thing.”
     “Our goal in worship is to draw people in and let them know that there is healing and restoration and forgiveness. Our altar is full because this is a community that is desperately seeking the real and powerful God. This is definitely not a place to pretend or play games… for so many this is life and death. We have a whole generation of young adults struggling to find deep meaning in life… it is our prayer that they can find a whole lot more than sober community and an awesome support system here” says Brad Gervais, small group leader and drummer in the worship band.

     “We are thankful for the support and the prayers of the people in our conference and district.  We hope to be a major resource to churches and pastors and congregants who want to know what can be done to support people who are trying to live life beyond addiction.  We offer many classes, events and activities where pastors and congregants can come and learn and grow.  We hope you will look us up  www.freshstartcolumbia.org and become one of our partners in this new year!  It could change your church and your community!” says Rev. Trimmer.