11 January 2023

What is Core Recovery?

Simon Hope

Photo shows learners at The Haven’s first awards ceremony
Learners at The Haven’s first awards ceremony

Major Lynden Gibbs and Major Nicky Watson help Simon Hope understand The Salvation Army’s Core Recovery model.

You may have noticed the term ‘Core Recovery’ popping up here and there in the Salvationist magazine and online. But what is it?

The Salvation Army’s origins are rooted in providing a spiritual home for those caught in addiction. Core Recovery is The Salvation Army’s recovery church in this territory – a fresh approach to something that has always been at the heart of who we are as a Movement.

What is a recovery church? Core Recovery development officers Lynden and Nicky explain that it is a community that is there to support people in growing a meaningful spiritual experience that impacts their life and their recovery, whether that recovery is from addictive substances, poor health or life situations.

It seeks to achieve this by:

  • working to a set of values;
  • emphasising and reimagining certain elements of church;
  • developing an enabling environment conducive to recovery.

Working to a set of values

These include inclusion and belonging, a spirit of equality and an expectation of transformation. These are outlined in Core Recovery’s eight principles and are understood by each community.

Emphasising and reimagining certain elements of church

Hospitality is central, woven through everything that takes place. Interactive discipleship focuses on life issues. And the development of honest relationships can support and celebrate people. Core Recovery has a meeting outline that gives space for all these elements and is adaptable to most settings.

Developing an enabling environment conducive to recovery

Core Recovery will provide training and support to help each community gain confidence in areas such as empowering relationships and safe spaces.

Core Recovery can also be understood as a trauma-informed church model. If The Salvation Army truly believes that everyone deserves fullness of life through Jesus, Salvationists need to seriously consider how to create spaces for healing and transformation for neighbours, friends and family members who are living with addiction and trauma at this very moment.

The Core Recovery team are eager to support those who want to explore establishing a Core Recovery community. The Army has people across the country who can offer advice and expertise on creating a healing space where people can experience fullness of life for all with Jesus, while journeying together in an open community of honesty and hope.

Core Recovery in practice

What is the mission and vision of your corps recovery group?

This question put me in quite a spin, writes Skills and Employability Co-ordinator Christina Davies (The Haven, Neath Fresh Expression). The Haven has a sign that states it is an open community of honesty and hope. This sums up what I am working towards.

I work side by side with disadvantaged, lonely and isolated people to empower them, upskill them and see them flourish in newfound confidence. You can’t put a price on that, and this will always be my mission – to say I am honoured is an understatement.

I am on a journey with those I work with. I gain knowledge, insight and laughter from them. They are the community I want to help support and thrive.

What draws people to core recovery groups?

The feedback about why people come along – and why they stay – is the acceptance that they feel, writes chaplain Captain Brian Ward (Booth House Lifehouse, Swindon). We try not to be judgemental or too prescriptive as we are all on a spiritual journey. Gentleness and kindness are key. The meetings are interactive, so people can speak and ask questions throughout.

Our preamble says: ‘Your spiritual journey is between you and God.’ People appreciate that we focus on each individual’s spiritual life as they try to remove the obstacles stopping them from experiencing wholeness, wellbeing and spiritual maturity – and ultimately God’s love.

By God’s grace, we have seen people renew their faith, understand their faith more deeply and even come to believe in Jesus as Lord for the first time.

Written by

A photo of Stevie Hope.

Simon Hope

Editorial Assistant

Take the next step

Connect with Lynden and Nicky to kick-start your Core Recovery community today!

The Core Recovery team

Discover more

Core Recovery Church

Core Recovery is a model of church that has grown out of our work supporting people with addictions.

Homelessness | Pioneering

Click and connect

Continuing a series on pioneering, Simon Hope finds out about Plexus, an online corps.

5 Jan 2023

'We are a pioneering movement in our DNA'

Major Andrew Vertigan unpacks what pioneering really means with Simon Hope.

9 Jun 2022

The TC's new year message: 'There is something we can be certain of'

A new year message from Territorial Commander Commissioner Anthony Cotterill.

3 Jan 2023

Related tags