Support groups at Parkersburg church stand at crossroads

Photos by Jeff Baughan The Rev. Kurt Busiek, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church on 23rd Street in Parkersburg, stands in front of the church. The church is hosting support groups this fall.

PARKERSBURG — The Rev. Kurt Busiek offered up one word for a theme for the support groups at Emmanuel Baptist Church and that word was “crossroads.”

“A minister gets to be there for the crossroads in a lot of people’s lives,” he said. “Each group meeting here is having people standing in a crossroads of their lives.”

Busiek has pastored at Emmanuel Baptist for 16 years. The program with the longest period of existance is the Divorce Care support group, which has been in existence 15 years.

“One doesn’t have to be totally divorced to join this group,” he said. “Anyone separated or just having problems within the marriage and contemplating divorce can attend.”

The programs are not limited to Emmanuel Baptist members, but open to the community. “We’re catching people at significant times in their lives,” Busiek said. “Everyone who is at a crossroads, they have to decide which way they’re going to go. But there are a lot of churches out there which are hosting programs and have the potential to host programs. Everyone leading a group here has been through the battles of that particular problem. They know what they are talking about.”

Busiek said one individual involved is Gail King, whom Busiek said is a licensed clinical psychologist for 20 years but not currently involved with an active practice. “Gail wants to offer professional expertise to the community,” he said. “She will meet with individuals in the afternoon before the group meets.”

Single Parenting is led by Eileen Mayer, who has master degrees in psychology and behavorial sciences along with a doctorate in philosophy. “Single parenting is a group watch with a DVD series with parenting experts,” she said. “People can share experiences if they wish. They can share experiences if they wish to or not. There is no pressure to talk if they don’t wish to.”

Mayer said the program is an international one found on

Kim Matheny leads the Breaking Free Recovery group which she says can include anyone with any type of addiction. “It doesn’t just have to be about drugs, alcohol, gambling. It’s for anyone with an out of control behavior,” she said. “A crossroad here for a lot of people is the opioid problem. It’s just rippling through families, tearing them apart. Lives have just become chaotic and some don’t handle it well.”

Matheny switched gears and stated, “A lot of the people in the Griefshare program have lost loved ones to this addiction.”

She continued by speaking about the steps to recovery. “It’s a 12-step program and it’s similar to other 12-step programs,”she said, “but we add Rick Warren’s eight principles program which are based on the Beatitudes.

“The number one factor in success with the Breaking Free Recovery, proven time and again, is whether the individual had a spiritual connection with God,” she said. “Counselors believe if the individual has a spiritual connection with God, they will be able to deal with the addiction.” Matheny is assisted by Jane Powell in this prorgam.

The church hosts a 5 p.m. dinner time meal which Busiek said is open to members of the support groups. “There is child care available and if they want, the child can join the church’s Awana program, which meets during the group meetings,” Busiek said.


Emmanuel Baptist Church Support Groups

Information on all support groups can be found by calling the Emmanuel Baptist Church at 304-485-5171 or by emailing Terri Fielder at or Pastor Kurt Busiek at kurt@ebcwv.

* Divorce Care: offered at 6 p.m. Tuesdays. The support group resumes meeting Sept. 12. For more infomation, contact Barb Kirsh at

* Griefshare: offered at 6 p.m. Wednesdays. The support group resumes meeting Sept. 20. For more infomation, contact Gail King at

* Breaking Free Recovery: meets year round with meetings 6 p.m. Thursdays. For more infomation, contact Kim Matheny at

* Men’s Support Group: offered first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Pastor Kurt Busiek at

* Single Parenting: offered at 6 p.m. Wednesdays. The support group resumes meeting Sept. 13. For more infomation, contact Eileen Mayer at keithandeileen 1221.

* The Marriage Course will be offered in February 2018. For more infomation, contact Eileen Mayer at keithandeileen 1221.