Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A 10:30 a.m. ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday for the proposed New Creation Restoration Center/Bethel House, 405 S. Joy Street, will help provide a place for spiritual restoration and healing to women dealing with unhealthy life issues.
“What we want to do is encourage faith-based principles in the daily lives of people, give them Christ-centered healing and restoration (by) focusing on basic Christian principles, financial responsibility and (healthy) relationships, which can be practical applications to their lives,” said Rev. Greg Fleck.
Fleck and his wife Lisa have been involved in this kind of ministry for years, and came up with New Creation Foundation ministries three years ago after “recognizing the need for a more comprehensive approach to recovery,” according to the outfit's brochure.
“We wanted to minister to people who had the same type (experiences) as us,” Fleck said, referring to drug addiction issues that once held him bound.
The couple opened up a restoration center for men two years ago, with the women's program kicking off last August.
“Students from the men's center are from Oklahoma, Washington, Kentucky, Tennessee … we take them from all over,” Fleck said.
The women's program differs in that children are welcome.
“There are a lot of women (with addiction issues) who have children, but who can't enter a program because there's no one to care for their child. We will accept both mother and children” as part of the 12-month program, he said.
The existing women's facility – across the street from the new site – is set up to only house five women plus overnight staff, so “it's been full,” the preacher said. “Our new facility will be able to hold up to 30 residents, whether individuals or mothers with children.”
In contrast, the men's program can handle up to 30 people, and presently has 20 students. It is located in a converted convalescent center.
The Bethel House for women is a single-level, 7,400-square-foot, dorm-style facility that features a common bathroom with individual rooms. A commercial kitchen will be staffed with cooks who will prepare meals for the women and their families, Fleck said.
Cost is $750 per person, roughly half of what the $1,460 it costs to put a student through the program, he said. “We try to get students to raise $200 per month to offset costs,” he said.
The ministry is funded strictly through donations, but future plans include fundraising events, such as banquets and golf tournaments.
Because the New Creation Foundation operates the “Hope Restore” thrift store, a lawn crew and an overhead door installation company to help fund the ministry, people have become more familiar with them.
Over all, the local community has been “very receptive of us, have bent over backwards to accommodate what we need to do,” Fleck said.
An architect is providing services free of cost on the women's center project, and the foundation is working with a local contractor to build the Bethel House, which the pastor estimates will be completed in as little as six months, barring bad weather or fund-raising delays.
The ministry has received a $150,000 matching gift, and “we're trying to raise $475,000 to $500,000 to fund the project, but in the meantime, we're in the process of getting permits to build,” he said.