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Divorce Care for Massachusetts Community


In 2008, Catherine Burtt saw a newspaper ad for a program called Divorce Care at Pleasant Street Christian Reformed Church in Whitinsville, Mass. Although she was nervous about it, Burtt started attending.

Howard and Marlene DeVries, left, with members of the Divorce Care group.

Photo by Bill Lewis

After six weeks, Burtt began attending the church, and now she is a member there.

Divorce affects up to 50 percent of all marriages, tearing families apart and creating bitterness. Support pastor Howard DeVries and his wife, Marlene, started the counseling program seven years ago to help people in the community who are divorced.

Using material developed by Christian Initiatives called Divorce Care, the church offers a 13-week program each fall, including videos and discussion time. Topics covered include grieving, anger, depression, and loneliness.

Several sessions deal with the biblical teaching on divorce; others deal with new relationships, financial survival, care for children, sexual desires, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Burtt praises Divorce Care as “an amazing ministry touching a group that is suffering tremendous pain.”

Janet Sannicandro was drawn in by what she called the love, support, and guidance of Howard and Marlene.

“Divorce Care took me, a broken bird, and helped mend my heart and soul . . . leading me to a healthy relationship a year ago, almost five years after my divorce,” she said. “I am eternally grateful I came that Tuesday night nearly three years ago.”

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