New DivorceCare session starts Tuesday at First Baptist

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

When Lydia Strayer found help working through the many issues resulting from divorcing after a 40-year marriage, she knew others could benefit, too.

“I know how devastating a divorce can be because I’m divorced,” said Strayer, who went through a DivorceCare program in Jackson two years ago and has since brought the ministry to Vicksburg through First Baptist Church. “It’s absolutely wonderful — a healing ministry. Because it helped me so much, I wanted to do it for others.”

If you go

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

DivorceCare, a ministry of First Baptist Church, will meet Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the Mafan Building, 1315 Adams St. The program is free, but participants are encouraged to buy the DivorceCare guidebook for $13. For information, call 601-636-2493 or visit

DivorceCare is a 13-week program that combines video seminars and small-group meetings to help the divorced or separated work through specific challenges — anger, depression, loneliness, financial hardship, establishing new relationships and more. Whether the person separated or divorced unwillingly or was the partner who instigated it, DivorceCare can help, Strayer said.

A new series of meetings begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Mafan Building, 1315 Adams St.

The program is Bible-based, but not limited to church members or even church-goers, Strayer said. Both men and women are invited, and participate together in video presentations but split into separate groups for the small-group sharing time.

“You can get lot of practical directives from the Bible as you move through a divorce or even sometimes reconcile with a spouse,” said FBC’s Ed Smith, men’s group leader. Smith had been divorced a couple of years when he took the program in the fall, he said.

“I’m really glad I went through it,” he said. “God does use this program to help you have a fulfilled life.”

Small group sessions give people a chance to talk with and listen to others who are going through the same thing, both Strayer and Smith said. DivorceCare participants learn practical information but also experience understanding, encouragement and friendship through the group interactions.

The women’s group is led by Strayer and fellow FBC member Lynda Oswalt.

“We’re not counselors — it’s more like an emergency-room situation, helping people in crisis,” Strayer said. “We’ve been through divorce ourselves and survived it.”

“I learned how things change after a divorce,” Smith said. “Things don’t stay the same. I learned how to set my expectations to how I can have a blessed life even though I have been through a divorce.”

Last year FBC began the program with Strayer leading a small group of women within the church. In the fall, the church offered another series and opened it up to men. Smith hopes more men from the community will take advantage of it this time.

“We tend to stuff our problems or think we are man enough to handle them,” Smith said. “The truth is that we need to look at ourselves. There are real benefits in this program.”

Each video segment features several experts, including noted Christian writers and speakers Kay Arthur, Dr. Tony Evans, the late Larry Burkett and Lou Priolo.

DivorceCare is similar to other group ministries FBC hosts — Celebrate Recovery, of which Smith is a leader, and GriefShare, which helps people who have lost a spouse, child or other loved one.

“I know there are hurting people out there, going through divorce or separation,” Strayer said, “and that’s what the church is all about anyway — serving God through helping people.”


Contact Pamela Hitchins at