I remember sitting at my brother's computer in August 2005 and typing the worst Google search term I'd ever run: "divorce support group, Louisville". Click. It had been just a few days since I realized, with all the warning of a car wreck, that my marriage was over. I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten, I couldn't sleep, and I could barely talk without bursting into tears. I had missed a week of work already. I didn't know what a divorce support group would be like, but I was certain I would need to talk to someone -- probably many "someones" -- before I would begin to feel like a human being again.
The first Google result for divorce support groups in Louisville lists Crescent Hill Baptist Church. Who knows how many hundreds of people have searched those for those same words on their computers, in the Yellow Pages, or in their lawyers' offices over the past thirty years?
I spent more than two years as a regular member of Crescent Hill's divorce recovery ministry, and not only did I eventually feel like a human being again, I felt like a better person than I was even before my marriage imploded. People in the group were in various stages of healing -- from shell-shocked to despairing, from angry to accepting. Those who were further along in the process helped those who were still reeling from their breakups. The group, under the kind and thoughtful guidance of Jerry Smith, operated as a safe and loving home for those who were suffering in the aftermath of a divorce.
Even though the group is a ministry of Crescent Hill Baptist Church, there is no overt advertising of that fact. The church provides the space and free childcare, and those two generous gifts alone make a huge difference to the divorce recovery support group. When you experience divorce, often the things that are in the most disarray are your sense of stability and your finances. The church is predictably open every Sunday evening at 5 p.m., even on the high holidays, even when it's snowing. That stability is crucial for people in crisis. Likewise, the availability of free childcare is even more important -- during a divorce, finding child care can be very difficult, and paying a babysitter can be out of the question. These gifts from the church have undoubtedly helped the divorce recovery support group thrive for all these years.
Finally, each February, the group holds a special four-week workshop on different aspects of divorce, and our Sunday School classes provide the light suppers on those Sunday evenings. This is another example of the kindness of our members and their willingness to serve those in need in our community -- even those we may not know.
I am so deeply grateful for the love and compassion Crescent Hill Baptist showed to me when I began attending the divorce recovery support group, and I feel sure I can speak for hundreds of others in this community who share that gratitute. This is not a typical ministry, but then again, Crescent Hill Baptist has never been a typical church. This is a vital community ministry, and I am so proud of my church for its long history of service.
-- Kerri Richardson, June 2011
(If you have ideas for a future article, please contact Anne-Britton Arnett at 896-2337.)