Church in recovery

Sanctuary for the addicted
As worshipers walk into Central Park United Methodist Church, Bob Swoverland usually pulls one of them aside and asks him or her to help serve communion. One day he felt moved to ask Karen (last name withheld) to help. As he remembers, “Normally, I’ll just ask anybody, but when she came in it was like God grabbed me by the collar.”

Swoverland recalls what came next. During the testimony portion of that Sunday’s worship service, Karen confessed for the first time that years earlier she had killed a woman while driving drunk. She had served five years in a Minnesota prison as her punishment, and then, despite promises to herself and others, she began drinking again. She spent two more years in a county workhouse. “The judge told me I was a menace to society,” she recalls.


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