Every Wednesday evening, residents of Kempner and nearby towns have the opportunity to gather and better themselves with the help of Mending Fences, a new program sponsored by Five Hills Cowboy Church in Kempner.

Mending Fences has weekly meetings that help people deal with traditional addictions, such as alcoholism, but are open to people dealing with any of life’s stresses such as divorce or depression, said Lesly Reno, She’s the program coordinator, along with fellow parishioners Dan and Charlene Oaks.

“The difference between Mending Fences and other programs is that ours is Christian-based,” Reno said. “We help people see that their higher power is God, as opposed to alcohol or other vices.”

Mending Fences follows a 12-step process, much like Alcoholics Anonymous. Each month is devoted to one step; therefore, the four August meetings are covering the first step in the program.

“It helps people to focus on something better, and question why they do the things they do,” Reno said.

The Copperas Cove Mending Fences program derived from the San Angelo Cowboy Church, where it’s been in progress for six months.

Cowboy churches are “primarily to minister to Western heritage folks,” Dan Oaks said, but they are open to anybody.

“It’s a very nontraditional style of church,” he said. “We don’t care how you dress or what you were doing the night before. We just want to get people in and spread the gospel.”

“Our pastor thought it would benefit our community, and I like to help people,” Reno said. The Oaks both felt called by the Lord to minister at a young age, and Mending Fences is one more way for them to help people.

Reno said it can be difficult for people to acknowledge they have problems.

They hope Mending Fences will expand through word of mouth “once people see their friends and family making a positive difference in their lives,” Oaks said.

Mending Fences offers dinner at 6 p.m. and free child care for the meeting at 7 p.m. at Five Hills Cowboy Church, 139 County Road 4630, Kempner.

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