Fresh Start Community – Spread your wings and fly.

A grubby, unappealing caterpillar is designed to one day become a beautiful butterfly. One of the most fascinating aspects of this journey is the struggle it goes through as it emerges from the cocoon. The great effort forces fluid into its wings, strengthening them for flight. Any attempt to make it easier for the butterfly by breaking open the cocoon will leave it unable to spread its wings, and unfit to fend for itself.

A butterfly is the logo for Fresh Start Recovery Programme, an unusual, not-for-profit, treatment programme for opiate addictions, started 16 years ago by my Dad. My husband Kevin-Neil is the senior chaplain, and for the past few years has been hosting a weekly open meeting which has shifted our view of what “church” can look like. Fresh Start Community is a Jesus-centred gathering of people from all walks of life. Some of them are recovering from serious substance abuse. Some are homeless. Some are trying to move out of lifestyles of crime and prostitution. Some have come to minister to “addicts”, but ended up staying and allowing those “addicts” to minister to them. Many of them could tell you life stories which would move you to tears, and leave you shaken. And each one of them is engaged in the struggle to spread their wings and take flight.

In most churches, ministry takes place from the front. The leader often carries the responsibility for the spiritual growth and well-being of the entire community. In Fresh Start Community, they meet in a circle, and ministry takes place side-by-side. The facilitator creates space for people to reflect, and think, and share their stories and insights with one another – allowing space to “struggle well” together as they emerge from the things which hold them back from their true design.

It is a great privilege to work with people in recovery. They are often more willing than the rest of us to be honest, to be vulnerable, to acknowledge their need for God and for others. The Bible tells us God is close to the broken hearted. He is near to the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, the ostracised and undervalued. It doesn’t matter how badly anyone has messed up – God is always willing to wipe the slate clean and give that person a “fresh start”. If we are prepared to walk alongside people on the path towards transformation, we might just end up being transformed ourselves.


11 thoughts on “Fresh Start Community – Spread your wings and fly.

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  2. We have been sharing the life of Jesus in a very similar way in homes, a home for abandoned children, a school classroom, a school campus, and a TB hospital. We try to uphold the centrality of Jesus. Thanks for this article, can only say ‘way to go.’ Warm greetings from South Africa.

  3. I enjoyed this post Kathleen. I’ve found a lot of what you say about communities of recovery to be true. People who are willing to be transparent with God and one another and drop the masks in many ways are healthier than what goes on in many churches and religious communities.

    • Thanks Bart. We’ve found it a real privilege to be involved with these courageous and honest people on such a huge journey – with many ups and downs. My husband comes home from Fresh Start Community each week inspired and excited about God.

      – Kathleen

  4. Dear Friend,
    Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our God! I viewed your ministry work and really impressed and wish that May God give us chance to work together to be witness of God in this world and we can do something good for people. I am sending you our ministry introduction and I wish to build partnership/fellowship and get involved with your ministry to spread the word of God in our areas. Let us work together to make Jesus known to the world. Please send us your materials, publications and literature if any, We are very keen to have ministry sharing fellowship with you therefore, we are writing to you and do hope that you will give me an opportunity to share the ministry work with you. If you are interested to reach the un- reached in South Asia I can arrange to translate their messages/ programs and get them printed in Punjabi, Urdu, or any other language spoken in Pakistan. I can prepare program for broadcasting in an audio format. If you are interested to reach the un-reached in South Asia, please contact us. All the services will be provided with Reasonable rates. Please visit our website.

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