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Concert marks anniversary of drug recovery program

Streator church assists individuals fighting addiction

Randy Stonehill, a pioneer of contemporary Christian music, is scheduled to perform at Grace Community Church, just north of Streator, on Saturday, April 14.
Randy Stonehill, a pioneer of contemporary Christian music, is scheduled to perform at Grace Community Church, just north of Streator, on Saturday, April 14.

Grace Community Church on Route 23 just north of Streator is hosting a celebration.

“We are honoring the completion of our first year as part of the Celebrate Recovery program here at Grace Community Church,” said the Rev. Chuck Giacinto.

To commemorate this achievement, noted Christian singer Randy Stonehill will share his music and faith with all who attend.

“Randy Stonehill is one of the pioneers of contemporary Christian music for a long time,” Giacinto said. “When we were in high school, his music had a very powerful effect on us. His music continues to influence generations.”

According to his website, Stonehill has been singing Christian music for more than 40 years. He has written more than 800 songs and has released at least 27 albums, Stonehill was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in November 2010.

“Randy Stonehill is one of the early ‘contemporary Christian’ artists, and his music was and still is relevant to those who sing God's praise,” said Charlie Smith, of Oak Forest. “He has teamed up with some of the best artists around, such as Phil Keaggy, and his music still brings me closer to God.”

Giacinto said that Stonehill’s appearance doesn’t consist of only music.

“He speaks about faith, and tells stories, as well.” Giacinto said. “He can be quite a funny fellow.”

Randy Stonehill is on tour, and the tour map shows his 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14, concert scheduled in Streator as the only stop in Illinois. Stonehill continues to write, record and tour across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe.

The whole purpose of this stop on the tour is to mark the completion of Grace Community’s Celebrate Recovery program.

“Part of our name is ‘Community,’ ” Giacinto said. “It is our middle name, and an important part of our ministry.”

Program helps fight addictions

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program.

It was started in 1991 at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. (home of Pastor Rick Warren, famous for his book, “The Purpose-Driven Life").

According to the Celebrate Recovery website, John Baker wrote Warren a concise letter explaining his vision, and Warren said, “Great, John, go do it.”

The Celebrate Recovery website informs there are 35,000 Celebrate Recovery churches around the world, and it’s growing.

Besides churches, the site says programs are found in recovery houses, rescue missions, universities and prisons around the world.

“We are a part of something much larger than one church’s Celebrate Recovery. We are part of a movement that God is blessing.” according to the website.

According to Giacinto, Ottawa has a successful Celebrate Recovery program based out of the Crossbridge Community Church.

“We began our Celebrate Recovery last year with only a few people,” he said. “We meet every Monday night beginning with dinner at 6 p.m. and meeting at 7 p.m. at Grace. We have now grown to the point where we have 30 to 40 people come to meeting on Monday. Everyone is welcome.”

“Celebrate Recovery is not just about drugs and alcohol," Giacinto said. “We can help people deal with depression, eating disorders, and anger issues, to name a few. Anyone with hurts, habits, or hangups is welcome to join us.”

Giacinto said all of the proceeds from the Randy Stonehill concert will go to support their local Celebrate Recovery Program.

Giacinto said tickets are $10 for general admission (no reserved seats), and available at Grace Community Church on Route 23 just north of Streator, or on the church’s Facebook page. The concert is open to the public. Call 815-672-7700 for more information.

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