Friday, October 5, 2007

Great Leap: Branson Base

On to Branson, Missouri! In July of 2006 I went to every 12-Step class they held, every AA meeting they attended, every Peace in the Storm church service, and interviewed every Church Army Branson leader that I could buttonhole. .... At left is the prayer room at head-quarters, and at right is the Hall of Fame: the pictures of those that graduated from the program... and of those that died before they could graduate.

With all these classes and meetings and interview notes under my belt I was beginning to feel like Mighty Mouse: "Here I come, to save the day!" .... But this Mighty Mouse was feeling pretty puny the day I wrecked the car. Finally I found a friend of the Army with crowbars and hammers to bend my bomb back into shape. Baling wire and shoelaces (to adjust the headlights) did the rest. ..
Branson's bit was plenty of work, work, work while staying sober, sober, sober. But it was not all work and no play: here is Brian, Ben, and Big Jeremy relaxing by the campfire on a Church-Army-sponsored campout.
Although Church Army was originally invited into Branson by the Episcopal Church, in the end it was found that men and women such as these--recovered alcoholics and addicts, rough-languaged youngsters, and tatooed smokers, were not made welcome in the church.
Eventually, they formed their own church: Peace in the Storm. .... Peace in the Storm holds a church picnic every month down by the river, and every month they baptise six to ten new Christians. .
..... On July 30, seven men and women were baptised in the river by Peace in the Storm. On the left is Brian, seen in the campout photo above. On the right is Donnie, the father of Little Jeremy, the young lad in the first two pictures taken inside Church Army headquarters.
Next time: Onward to Mississippi!

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