Rose of Sharon Group Created To Help Women Of All Ages

By GABRIELLE HOVENDON

JUNE 19, 2008

Rose of Sharon is a nondenominational Christian recovery group that features a Bible-based approach to the 12 steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

However, Rose of Sharon is not part of a national organization. It doesn't have a Web site or a trademark; in fact, it doesn't even have a regular meeting place.

What it does have is Kimberly A. Kampnich, Watertown, who decided to create Rose of Sharon after being trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage for more than 17 years.

Rose of Sharon is an organization seeking the spiritual healing of emotional brokenness for women of all ages, financial backgrounds and religious beliefs. The group's name, symbolic of the fragility and beauty of women as well as the thorns of their past experiences, also refers to a Biblical name for Jesus Christ.

Rose of Sharon deals mainly with drug- and alcohol-related problems but can also address food addiction and physical or emotional abuse.

Members typically spend three to four weeks on each of the program's 12 steps, meeting in small groups of five to six women for 90 minutes at a time. The members are required to sign confidentiality waivers and are asked to leave the group if they break them.

Mrs. Kampnich, a licensed lay minister with the Revelant Church of God, networks with Samaritan Medical Center and agencies such as the Urban Mission, state organizations, shelters and Credo Community Center to help provide services for the women in her groups.

She has driven people to detox in Syracuse in the middle of the night and helped illiterate, abused women file for divorce. Mainly, however, Rose of Sharon helps women face their emotional baggage and achieve freedom from their pasts.

Although Mrs. Kampnich does not receive pay for her work, she is able to buy workbooks and Bibles with money from donations. She said the overwhelming gratitude of the women she has helped is recompense enough.

"You cannot imagine the rewards you get from helping," she said. "If you can help set one life free through your teachings, your experiences, then it was worth it."

One life that Mrs. Kampnich has helped set free is that of Judy A. Baldwin.

Ms. Baldwin, 68, Watertown, had been blocking out the years of sexual abuse from her childhood when she happened to see an advertisement for Rose of Sharon. At that time, Ms. Baldwin said, she had been doing little but sitting in a chair all day, not even leaving it to sleep.

"It literally saved my life," Ms. Baldwin said of the program. She is now working through the steps again due to the death of her husband.

"The truth is," said Mrs. Kampnich, "there's others who are hurting the same as you. They need the compassion, and you get that compassion from this."

To learn more about Rose of Sharon or to speak with Mrs. Kampnich about a problem, call 778-3391. The group does not meet at specific times or locations.

"Don't be afraid to take that first step," said Ms. Baldwin. "It's the hardest step you'll ever take in your life but the most rewarding one."

Watertown Daily Times


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