In 1987 MaryAnn McNeil and Anita Willoughby saw the need in the Atlanta area for emotional and spiritual healing of those hurting after abortion. They founded PATH (Post Abortion Treatment and Healing) at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
PATH developed a comprehensive outreach for those wounded by abortion that features bible studies, weekend retreats, counseling and community outreach.
The current director of PATH is Jody Duffy, RN. Jody has served as a volunteer in abortion healing ministry with PATH from 2001 until March 2016 when she took over as Director.
I recently interviewed Jody to learn more about PATH.
Kevin: PATH has offered support groups and later retreats since they started. Recently you began to use the SaveOne Bible Study program at PATH. Can you share with us your experience with SaveOne?
Jody: Last April, 2016, I attended a training for the SaveOne Bible study that was being sponsored by psychiatrist Dr. Martha Shuping. Dr Shuping serves as a PATH advisor and is also trained as a Rachel’s Vineyard facilitator and counselor. The workshop presenter was SaveOne founder Sheila Harper.
I brought the information back to PATH and began training our Bible study leaders shortly after. Since last April, with over 20 volunteers PATH has completed four SaveOne Bible studies and currently has five running at six different locations in the Atlanta areas.
Kevin: Jody can you share with us about your experience offering both the Rachel Vineyard weekends and the SaveOne bible study for those hurting after abortion?
Jody: PATH offers 3 Rachel’s Vineyard retreats each year. Rachel’s Vineyard is like no other experience for a person needing healing from a past abortion experience. However, participants benefit from a continuation of that process of healing. That is why we offer the Bible study format as well to our clients.
Due to time and schedules and even geography, some people are limited to the retreat. That is why we always advocate Companions on the Journey, an online after care program offered by Rachel’s Vineyard. As with many other Rachel’s Vineyard sites, people come from different parts of the country and would not be able to participate in our local programs.
Kevin: Jody you have shared with me that you see SaveOne and Rachel’s Vineyard working nicely together.
Jody: We recommend and offer both the Weekend Retreat and Bible Study to those that come to us for help. The two programs really complement one another.
The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is an intense weekend of sharing, learning, and healing. In itself it is a profound and valuable recovery experience.
However, recovery is a journey and by offering the Bible study, we can walk down that road for 11 weeks and dig deeper. Our clients as well as our leaders are very impressed with the SaveOne Bible study.
SaveOne is tender, experiential, deep, and healing. It really allows participants to look deeper at what really happened and how to trust God to walk that journey with you. The program guides one through some of those emotions which may have been left unchecked and teaches them how to rely on God to help them face their past and walk on the healing journey with them.
So clients can begin with either program initially and then later experience the retreat or support group if they like.
Kevin: PATH offers its services to men as well as women correct?
Jody: Yes, our Rachel’s Vineyard retreats have always been open to both men and women. The SaveOne program has a separate model for men and women and we offer both.
Kevin: It’s great to see in the Catholic Church how many Deacons are getting involved in abortion recovery ministry. You are blessed to have Deacon Mike Mobley serving with PATH.
Jody: We are truly blessed and Deacon Mike Mobley has worked on our Rachel’s Vineyard team for over 10 years. He has also led Bible studies for men. Sometime he ministers in the group format and other times he meets one on one with the men. It all depends on the need at the time.
Deacon Mike recently completed our first Men’s SaveOne study. He and the man he worked with were very pleased with the study. Another men’s group just started last week at our Roswell, GA location. Bible study allows time for the men to form a true brotherhood and friendship, just like it does the women.
Kevin: You also minister to married couples right?
Jody: We have had married couples on both the retreat and in the Bible study. However, some prefer to do the retreat and Bible study separately. We are always flexible depending on the situation.
Sometimes participants in our SaveOne support group will later attend the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend with their spouse who may or may not have a past abortion. They always find a deeper healing of their loss within their marriage.
Spouses who are not the biological parent have the opportunity to not only come and support their partner but also experience the blessing of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat process. On Sunday at the memorial service they can spiritually adopt their spouse’s unborn child or children lost to abortion. This provides another level of healing for families.
Kevin: What other outreach is PATH involved in?
Jody: Along with providing the Retreats and Bible studies, PATH speaks at parishes, to youth groups, Respect for Life gatherings, the Knights of Columbus, Students for Life groups, and anyone else who will listen to our message about the pain and hurt abortion causes and importance of healing from abortion.
– To find out more about the SaveOne program please visit this page on their website or Phone: (615) 347-8800 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– To learn more about starting a Rachel’s Vineyard program in your area please contact the International Rachel’s Vineyard Office or phone 610 354 0555.