‘Home Run’ hits home with recovery ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The numbers are staggering. Addiction kills hundreds of thousands of people in the United States every year. A sobering fact is that one in four deaths in the United States are attributed to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug abuse.

“Home Run” is a movie about addiction: a story of an athlete whose life spirals out of control due to ego and alcohol. Premiering April 19, the inspirational feature film is based on thousands of true stories about people struggling with addiction who found help in a variety of recovery programs, many of them Christian-based.

Home Run

Cory Brand is an all-star baseball player whose life hits the skids when he brings his drinking problem to the playing field. Suspended from the team, Brand must do penance by coaching youths and attending a recovery program in the small town where he grew up. There, he rediscovers the joy of the game and his faith in God. More than ever, faith-based organizations are taking on addiction issues and offering ministries that offer Christ-centered care. The United Methodist Church has long been involved in providing settings where 12-step and other recovery groups can meet, with thousands of congregations offering support for those who need help.

Tulsa churches

In the case of “Home Run,” United Methodists even played an important part in the movie’s production. Several scenes in the movie were filmed at New Haven and West Tulsa United Methodist churches in Oklahoma.

Home Run’s co-producer, Carol Spann Matthews of Tulsa said she became a Christian while taking part in the Methodist Youth Fellowship at New Haven UMC, and chose to shoot several scenes for the movie at her childhood church. New Haven’s sanctuary was the setting for a scene that featured testimonials, and a small group meeting was filmed in one of the church’s Sunday school classrooms.

Matthews said the movie “is for anyone, inside or outside the Church, who needs to make a change in their life.”

“The Rev. Cindy Havlik of New Haven UMC said she hopes the film will speak to those who are struggling with addiction and give them hope.

Celebrate Recovery

A growing number of United Methodist churches offer a well-known recovery ministry featured in the movie: Celebrate Recovery, a real life addiction recovery program that grew-out of California’s Saddleback Church. Founded in 1991, Celebrate Recovery helps people overcome life’s issues with a 12-step program based on Christian principles.

Many Christian leaders are praising “Home Run,” which stars Scott Elrod as the bigheaded big league player who strikes out because of his addiction gone wild. Vivica Fox stars as Brand’s agent, who hopes to save his career.

The Rev. Wes Olds, pastor of the Cape Coral campus of Grace United Methodist Church, is encouraging Celebrate Recovery participants who meet at the Florida church to invite a friend to join them for dinner and a movie.

Grace UMC offers recovery ministries, including Celebrate Recovery, at each of its four campuses. The church currently reach out to over 400 people seeking help for their addictions.

“We want to meet people at the place of their greatest need,” Olds said. “Celebrate Recovery is one way to do that.”

For a directory of United Methodist churches offering recovery programs or support groups, go to umc.org/recoveryministries.

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