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New program at Londonderry church aims to help those in recovery

Union Leader Correspondent

May 07. 2014 4:09PM

LONDONDERRY — A new monthly program at Londonderry Presbyterian Church will offer spiritual sustenance for members of the region’s recovery community.

Held one Sunday evening each month, Stepping Stones to a Higher Power is described by program officials as a nondenominational worship service for those that might otherwise by intimidated by walking into a church.

Congregant Lucille Robbins, who serves on the 16-member Stepping Stones Worship Team, said the special service is in perfect keeping with the church’s doctrine of “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

“It’s our natural response to have empathy for those in recovery and the people that love them,” Robbins said, noting that Londonderry church has had a longstanding partnership with the Avery Center, a facility on the grounds of the church offering supportive and spiritual programs for individuals and families affected by substance abuse, which is a partner of the Derry Friendship Center.

With monthly messages loosely based on the 12-step programs, guests at the hour-long worship services will engage in meditations and Bible readings, followed by a fellowship of refreshments and prayer.

Team member Beth Prybylski, whose husband, Jay, and mother, Linda Harvey, are also involved in the new program, said music would be also prevalently featured in the monthly worship services.

Prybylski, who sings and plays the violin, said the idea for Stepping Stones resonated with many church members, since quite a few of them have participated in Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs.

“We’re in a unique position to be able to offer our help,” she noted, adding that the Stepping Stones services would emphasize creation of a “warm, meditative space.”

“We commonly encounter people that might be intimidated by church in general,” said Prybylski. “The goal here is to walk alongside some of these folks as we go on our journey together.”

The first Stepping Stones service is set for 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, at the church, located at 126 Pillsbury Road.

Monthly services will generally be held on the third Sunday of each month.

Church Pastor Sara Singleton said a main goal is to “honor all persons, regardless of background, beliefs, experiences, hurts or habits.”

“The value that God places on the human heart should be our highest priority,” Singleton said.

Plans for the monthly services began early this year, according to Singleton, with much discussion on making the church a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for congregants that aren’t typically in attendance Sunday mornings.

“We want the church to be a safe place, not only for those currently in recovery, but for people looking for something more low-key,” Prybylski said. “We’ll take a passage from the Bible and reflect on it a bit. Our expectation is sporadic attendance at first, bit we encourage people to give it a try- at the very least you’ll get to have some donuts and coffee.”

For more information, visit or call 434-2113.

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