Rehab home would minister to men with addictions
NEW CASTLE – A residence next to New Castle Christian Church is being proposed as a home to provide Christian counseling and life-changing experiences for eight to 10 men who want to break away from substance abuse and other issues that control their lives.
If the project is approved for a conditional use permit – to have a residence in what now is a business district – Narrow Path Ministries would be located in the Christian church’s former parsonage.
The application by the church, on behalf of Luke and Stephanie Kesler, is scheduled for a public hearing before the Craig County Planning Commission, at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7. If the planning commission recommends approval, the application would then go on to the Craig County Board of Supervisors. The house is the white, two-story home directly to the left when looking at New Castle Christian Church.
Luke Kesler, who grew up in the Red Brush community of Craig County and graduated from Craig County High School in 1998, realize there is already opposition to their project from people who don’t know the details, Luke said. (See Sheriff Clifford Davidson’s letter to the editor in this week’s edition.)
The couple hope once people understand what they are planning and all the safeguards for the residents and the community, Craig County residents will accept the idea.
“It’s for men from 18 to 60 who have ‘life controlling issues,’ with alcohol and drugs the main target,” said Luke. He and his wife, who married July 4 of this year, know there is hope and help for those who want it. Both are graduates of a similar program, Teen Challenge, he pointed out.
Luke, who was director of Shenandoah Challenge for almost a year, has two-and-a-half years of experience working with people who have addictions. Stephanie, who was a staff member there, has three years of experience, he said. They would live with the “students” in the house, he pointed out, and all the doors and windows would be secured and have alarms on them.
“We would not be taking men who have been convicted of offenses, he explained. “There would be no violent offenders, no sex offenders. We’re looking for people who just need help with addiction.”
Narrow Path Ministries would be financed through tuition students and their families pay, and through donations and work projects, Luke Kesler said.
The initial fee families would pay would be $1,000, with $300 per month for the 12-month residential program, he said.
The students would be kept busy all day, Luke pointed out, following a curriculum developed by Teen Challenge, with only about 30 minutes per day of free time. “They would be constantly busy with Bible studies and in class and doing work projects. We would be going out into the community – the men would be supervised – and would be offering handyman services, for donations.
“As long as we get our non-profit tax status, contributions would be tax deductible,” he said, adding that they have applied for 501-c-3 status. He added that Teen Challenge’s success rate for people with addictions is 80 percent, after the students have been out of the residential program for five years.
The students would live in a dorm setting, and provide all their own cleaning and upkeep and cooking, he said.
Luke said the couple are looking for students who want to change their lives. They would come either from families or churches in Craig and in surrounding areas of Botetourt, and the New River Valley, he said.
Although New Castle Christian Church is providing the parsonage rent free, Narrow Path Ministries would pay for utilities. “We are going to be separate from the church, and providing our own insurance,” he emphasized. “The church will not be liable in any way.”
Luke is the son of a minister, Danny Lee Kesler, and Carole Kesler, who still live in Red Brush. Stephanie grew up in Alabama. She does the children’s church during the early service at New Castle Christian. Danny Lee Kesler is pastor of two churches in Botetourt and one in Craig. Stephanie is studying to become a minister, also.