The Knoxville Church in Iowa recently presented Neil Nedley’s Depression Recovery Program to members of their community.

Over the course of 16 weeks, participants learned through video instruction, group discussion and workbooks for home study between classes. Michelle Carlson led the program, with Helen Foster, Helen Deaver and Shirley Eivins facilitating discussions following the video presentations.

Many hours were spent in preparation for the class, praying for potential participants, delivering invitations door-to-door in the community, and advertising at the hospital and in the local paper. Seven people came eager to learn more about a healthy attitude, lifestyle, mental and emotional health.

Foster said all the participants were receptive and excited about the topics that went well beyond addressing depression. Everyone agreed the program also provided tools for developing a more positive attitude and a healthier approach to diet, exercise and spiritual encouragement.

“We shared stories, laughter and tears,” said Anita Fischer, a Knoxville member who attended the series. “But most importantly we shared friendship and healing.”

Some of the attendees have already noticed positive changes happening in their lives. “I can’t believe it,” said one attendee, who was able to stop taking anti-anxiety medication after making some changes to her diet and lifestyle. “This program actually works!”

A banquet was held at the end of the program to celebrate accomplishments and cement the new-found friendships developed through the course. Foster said they were happy with the program and felt it could be applicable to almost everyone.

Melinda Wheeler is communications secretary for the Knoxville Church in Iowa.