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Classes help with life's challenges

By MICHELLE JONES
Published January 27, 2007


LUTZ - Gail Rineer has two sons and two daughters, so to get a head start on the teenage years she is taking one of the five courses offered on Sundays at Van Dyke United Methodist Church.

"Running the Rapids: Guiding Teenagers through the Turbulent Waters of Adolescence," is a six-week video course that she hopes will give her some practical and timely insights through these puzzling hormone-charged years.

"Every child is different," she said. "I believe this course will help me. The (DVD) speaker, Dr. Kevin Leman, has humor and credibility by raising five teenagers."

The other courses are "Boundaries: When to Say Yes and When to Say No - Taking Control of Your Life" (nine weeks); "Grief Support" (13 weeks); "Hope and Help for the Single Mom" (13 weeks) and "Living by Faith" (seven weeks). Although classes started Sunday, it is not too late to get into any of them, said Cheryl Jackson, care minister at the church.

Classes are at 5 p.m. with some also offered at 9 a.m. Child care is available with advance notification.

The most popular class is about parenting the adolescent.

"This is a period of time that is inherently challenging," said Jackson, 50, who earned her master's degree in social work from the University of Kentucky and a certification in Christian education from Asbury Theological Seminary. She and her husband of 23 years have also raised a teenager. "We have almost 100 signed up (for the course), and more are coming in."

The single mom class is also popular. "Single parents have a unique set of circumstances to deal with," she said.

And, although the grief recovery class is the smallest, she said, there are always seven or eight people who need healing. The 13-week video seminar includes teachings on living with grief, the effects of grief, family and grief, when a spouse dies, God's prescription for grief and heaven.

"It helps when you look through the grief process through a Christian environment and support," said Jackson.

Karleta Gary is taking the walking by faith class.

"This class is a reminder from God that he is always on time, even though sometimes it is hard to see he is there when we need him," Gary said. "The teacher, Jennifer Rothschild, lost her eyesight at age 15, and she said that even with eyesight we are sometimes in the dark. You just have to keep your eyes on Jesus and know he is always there."

Using materials from DVDs, books and in-person teachers, these courses are designed to teach people to rely on God no matter the circumstances, Jackson said. Small group discussions are also a part of the classes.

The boundaries class is based on the best-selling book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. The nine interactive sessions will draw on principles from the Bible and will guide participants on a journey of discovery and practical application. Affecting areas such as physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries will help Christians achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle, according to a class description.

Fast Facts:

If you go

Van Dyke United Methodist Church is at 17030 Lakeshore Road in Lutz. Register by calling Cheryl Jackson at (813) 968-3083 Ext. 117 or at www.vandyke.org.