Divorce Recovery

Join others for education, support, and encouragement with opportunities to build new community and create new and meaningful friendships. Our mission is to extend a hand of care and concern representing the love of Jesus Christ and His restoring forgiveness. Our vision is to provide a safe place for people suffering the pain of divorce where they can discover healing and a future with hope, and our focus is on healing from the emotional issues associated with recovery from divorce and rebuilding after divorce.

The centerpiece of the ministry is the eight-week Divorce Recovery Workshop in the fall, followed by support groups and special events.

Programs

Fall Workshop (Limited Enrollment)

  • Sundays, Fall 2023. Eight consecutive Sunday sessions from 5:30-8 p.m. in Flamming Hall.
  • The cost with pre-registration is $60.
  • Children’s Programs: Childcare for infants and preschoolers; Programs for children grades 1-6
  • For more information, please call 804-358-5458 x118 or email Kim McIntosh.

Winter Support Group

The winter support group is led by experienced facilitators who started as participants themselves and is for anyone experiencing the loss of a relationship through separation, divorce or major breakup. Join others for education, support, encouragement, healing and opportunities to build new and meaningful friendships. Minimum of six participants needed.

  • January 22, 29; February 5, 19, 26 and March 5 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Adams Room
  • To register, email your contact information to Kim McIntosh or call her at 804.358.5458 ext. 118 if you have any questions.

Safe People Video Series

In Safe People, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach you that being with an unsafe person can be damaging to your confidence, your trust in others, and even your health. You’ll learn that you have the power to surround yourself with accepting, honest, and safe people who draw you closer to being the person God intended you to be. Safe People will give you the tools you need to recognize what makes people relationally safe, form positive relationships, and even become a safe person along the way.

  • The Divorce Recovery Ministry will offer Safe People Fridays beginning January 27 for seven weeks 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in suite 220.
  • $35, pay at the door with a check or cash.
  • To register, email your contact information to Kim McIntosh or call her at 804.358.5458 ext. 118 if you have any questions.

Next Step

For anyone who attended the Divorce Recovery Workshop and desires to continue in their ongoing work of healing. This workshop focuses on adjusting to and embracing life as a single adult. Sundays, January 22, 29, February 5, 19, 26, and March 5 (does not meet Superbowl Sunday), 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. suite 220. $35 includes Friday night Safe People video series. 


FAQ

What is the cost of the workshop and what does it include?
The cost includes a workbook and the Workshop Weekly newsletter, and Children’s and Teen programs. It also includes a Friday night virtual seminar “Boundaries.” The cost of the workshop is $60.

Is there content about divorce for children?
Parent registration includes children’s programs. Childcare for Infants and Preschoolers; programs for Children grades 1-6. In the Sunday evening program, your children will have a safe space to explore their feelings and issues related to their experience of divorce, leading them in their own recovery process.

How many participants do you usually have?  Men?  Women?
The Divorce Recovery Workshop usually has around 80 to 120 participants each year, though we have had one year of 220 and one year of 70 participants. The ratio of men to women varies each year but is usually about 30% men. Our volunteer staff is close to 50/50 men and women. Because this year’s program is the first we have had to do virtually, we are unsure of the number of participants, but encourage you to join us.

I have schedule conflicts on Sundays in Sept./ Oct./ Nov.  Is it okay if I can only come half the time?
We encourage participants to make every effort to attend each week. Attendance is important to each participant’s learning and connecting with others. Additionally, each participant is an important member of their small group and their presence in the group is valued.

Do you have other programs during the year?
The Divorce Recovery Workshop is the launch pad for the Recovery and Transformational Ministries at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. The workshop is designed to help individuals deal with the emotional pain of the loss of a love relationship and the consequent issues related to that loss. It is just the beginning of the healing and growing process. It is our hope and our goal at First Baptist that each participant will continue the process of learning and becoming and transforming. We provide year-round opportunities through various classes and programs, social, travel and missions opportunities. These programs address personal growth, healing, relational skills, spiritual nurture and community building. We believe that the recovery process is a journey and a great adventure. We hope you will join us on the trail! At this time, all additional programs will be held “virtually.”

How is the workshop structured – live lecture, video, small groups?
The workshop will begin each Sunday night at 5:30 p.m. in Flamming Hall, we have a short period of announcements. After announcements, a past participant will give a ten-minute testimonial. Next, an approximately 30-minute lecture is given by different local professionals. Following the speaker, we will break out into small groups for discussion and sharing.

Are there social activities?
We believe that community building is one of the most important elements of recovery from the loss of a love relationship. We believe that individuals suffering from this devastating loss need to learn that they can discover joy in the midst of their crisis. We provide several opportunities for our participants to have a little fun and experience community during the workshop. On Friday evenings during the workshop, we plan to have a video series, “Boundaries,” with a potluck dinner and small group discussion. We encourage each workshop small group to plan a group activity. And we’ll offer a DRW social in October.

Do you have different speakers or is it the same person each week?
Over the eight-week workshop we generally have six to eight different speakers.

Who conducts the small groups?  What is their training or background?
The small groups are facilitated by individuals who have taken the workshop as participants and have experienced the loss of a love relationship themselves. They are not professional counselors or therapists and they come from varied backgrounds and situations. They are chosen by our leadership team based on recommendations, interviews and observation. Some of the qualities we look for are good listeners who are well along on their own recovery journey, who have big hearts for hurting people, and are good team players. We look for people who are caring, nonjudgmental, accepting, and willing to give generously of their time to the ministry. Once the individual makes a commitment to the ministry, they participate in a training program designed to equip them with the necessary understanding and skills to effectively facilitate their small group. New facilitators are generally paired with a more experienced co-facilitator.

Do I have to talk in the small group?  I am shy; I mostly want to listen; I’m not usually comfortable sharing.
No one is required to share during small group. Each person is offered the opportunity to share but there will be no pressure to share should they decline. We tell our groups in the beginning that if anyone does not want to share, all they have to do is say “I pass.” We do all we can to make the small group a safe place to share your feelings and experiences and we understand that it is difficult for some participants to share openly with their group. We respect each person’s need to move at their own pace and to share only that which feels comfortable to them.

What about confidentiality?
We consider confidentiality the most essential element in establishing the feeling of safety and trust that is necessary for participants to feel comfortable enough to share openly and honestly in their small groups. We have established clear rules regarding confidentiality both for participants and for volunteers. All volunteers are trained extensively in our confidentiality policies and techniques for dealing with confidentiality issues. All volunteers sign a covenant that includes strong language regarding confidentiality. Our group rules address confidentiality and participants are asked to covenant with their group to maintain the confidentiality of their group. Any breach in confidentiality will be handled seriously.

Are the small groups mixed-gender?  Can I be in an all-women’s or all-men’s group?
Most groups are mixed gender. We believe that it is important for participants to relate to both genders during their recovery process as this reflects the world in which they must live, work, and interact. Most groups have a male and female facilitator and it is our goal to have at least two men in each group. If there is sufficient interest among our participants, we will set up all-men and/or all-women groups that meet on a night during the week.

I have been divorced for a while.  Can I still benefit?
Anyone, no matter how near or distant their loss, can benefit from this workshop. Many people are not aware of the effect that buried and unacknowledged feelings can have on their quality of life and on their relationships. Though the feelings may have dulled with the passing of time, they are still present, unhealed and denied. In order to truly heal and go on with our lives, we have to face our issues and feelings. This process is not always easy and can be painful. Many people in the workshop say it is like “work.” Once we have dealt with the painful issues, we are then free to move on with our lives unhindered by the emotional ties to a painful past. The workshop aims to help participants deal with the painful feelings and to learn new life skills that will help them rebuild their lives and create new healthier relationships.

I am only separated.  Do I have to be divorced to attend?
The majority of participants are in the separation phase of their relationship loss. Our workshop is not designed to help couples reconcile. If you are actively engaged with your partner to work through your issues with the clear intent to stay together, this workshop is not for you. This workshop is for individuals who have made the decision to end their love relationship or who have had that decision made for them. Wherever you are in that process, whether separated, divorced or experiencing a breakup, this workshop will help you process your painful feelings, adjust to the process and connect with others going through the same thing.

My last relationship was a train wreck; it feels like a divorce although we weren’t married.  Can I come?
The workshop is open to anyone suffering the loss of a relationship. We take the loss of a relationship through breakup very seriously. The loss of any love relationship is a painful and grief-ridden experience. We hope you will trust us enough to attend.

I am the one who ended the marriage.  Will I be blamed, or treated differently?
Many of our participants and volunteers are the party that ended the marriage. We understand that the feelings the “leaver” is dealing with are just as painful and the adjustment just as difficult as those of their partners. We do not judge or blame anyone regardless of their actions or role in ending their marriage. Rather than judgment and blame, we offer care, concern, encouragement, and validation. Our concern is in helping each participant heal and discover wholeness and hope in their lives so that they can become all they were meant to be.

I don’t usually attend church.  Will I feel out of place?
You may feel uncomfortable with the idea of a church ministry, but you will quickly discover that this workshop is not church, and that we have worked hard to make this a safe and comfortable place for you. We will not ask you about your faith or beliefs and we will not ask where you go to church. You will find that you are not the only person who is not a regular church attendee. Some of our participants have never been in a church and some may not have attended a church since their childhood. Others may attend a mosque or a synagogue. So come on, you will feel just fine.

Can I get help with other issues related to divorce, i.e., finances, counseling for children?
We have many resources available to our participants. Just let us know what your needs are and we will do all we can to help you. We have child and teen specialists on our church staff who are wonderful resources to help with children.

I am really a wreck.  What if I fall apart and cry?
Most people who attend the workshop are struggling with their emotions and dealing with varying levels of situational depression. Our goal is to make this workshop a safe place for participants to share their feelings. Few participants will get through the eight-week workshop without shedding a few tears. Many will cry through their whole small group each week and that is okay. We have all experienced the strong emotions that go along with the devastation of a divorce. Our lives are confusing and chaotic during this time. Crying, shorter fuses, frustration, losing keys, forgetfulness, disorganization, running late; in short, being a “wreck,” is normal for anyone going through separation and divorce. We understand this because we have all experienced it. Many of our volunteers will tell you that they thought they were “going crazy.” We want this workshop to be the one place you can feel accepted for all that you are dealing with, an oasis from the rest of the world and its demands and expectations. If you cry, we will understand and we will cry with you.

Is this a biblical program or a Bible study?
The volunteers in this ministry are answering the call of Christ in our lives to “comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” We approach this program as an outreach to all people with our mission to help anyone who is suffering. We do not evangelize, preach, read scripture, or proselytize during the workshop. We offer a program to help everyone who is suffering from the loss of a love relationship to heal from the emotional pain of their loss.

What if my estranged spouse signs up to take the workshop?
If it is determined that both parties have signed up to take the workshop the same year, our policy is that the first person to register is allowed to participate in the workshop. We will work with the other partner in any way we can to do all we can to assist them in finding another program.