10 ideas for community healing from St. Louis ARC

by John Edwards

Have you been watching the news lately? From police shootings and retaliations to persistent political fighting and ongoing outrage, it’s a succession of anger, accusations, and animosity.

Negative images, words, and actions are affecting us, causing us to lose happiness, hope, and faith to embrace anger, fear, and hate—to turn away from salvation and God’s love.

As believers, we must come together. As brothers, we must create unity in the community. As soldiers, we must fight the incessant cycle of death, destruction, division and despair.

These festering feelings led to a Sunday evening town hall-style discussion at the St. Louis, Mo., Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) when the center’s administrator, Major K. Kendall (KK) Mathews, was called on by the Spirit to discuss and tackle these important issues and speak through God’s inspiration.

The beneficiaries and former residents decided the only way to solve these problems was to be as honest, sincere, and transparent as possible. Having been through recovery themselves, they were in a unique position to offer these ideas, advice and solutions for hope and healing.


Everyone needs to step up and own their actions. No matter who you are, you need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


We need to be better parents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, etc. If we can’t do it at home, then how can we possibly do it elsewhere?


If you can’t respect yourself, then you can’t respect others. If you can’t respect others, then you can’t move beyond hate and hopelessness.


During our meeting an 85-year-old grandmother, whose body was frail but whose words were strong, said, “We’ve taken prayer out of our schools and our everyday lives!”


It can’t just be “me, me, me” and “now, now, now.” You don’t always get your way. It takes time. We need sharing and understanding.


While we recognize the divisions, we can still choose to join together and work to overcome them. We must hear what others say.


Don’t sit around blaming others. Listen and find common ground so we can work on the same agenda in order to solve the problem.


An ARC resident said, “If it’s possible for a person like me to change, then you can change. What you were doesn’t determine what you are.”


Suffering leads to understanding. Be courteous. Practice kindness. Greet people. It starts with love. You have to give it out to get it back.


God is the foundation. Make God a part of your everyday life. Have a personal relationship with Him. What is His will? Share Him with others.



We are proud of our beneficiaries and former residents who decided to change their lives mentally, spiritually, and physically. Prayer gives them the strength and the hope while the ARC provides them structure and discipline. Ultimately, the path to a better, more productive life is a greater desire than drugs or alcohol. It’s why 89 percent of those who graduate from the ARC successfully transition back into the community.

Major KK summed up our meeting with these words. “We are in recovery together. We all impact each other. Our nation must come together. We must get back to the basics. The old school, but good school! God calls on us to find a better way because all of us are better made through His grace.”

John Edwards is a council member for the St. Louis, Mo., Adult Rehabilitation Center.


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