by Cheryl Stahle
You’d probably never suspect that the adorable woman, latte in one hand, flaming pink ipad in the other, who takes up residence in Doylestown’s Starbucks is Doylestown United Methodist Church’s Pastor of Caring Ministries, Donna DiMeo Hammel. Pastor Donna has earned her place as one of Bucks County’s Happening Heroes due to her passion and commitment for providing relief and support to those of all faiths who are hurting emotionally, physically or spiritually.
Pastor Donna has overseen the Caring Ministries program at DUMC for 6 years, expanding the offerings to any person who walks through the doors or calls to include Addiction Recovery, Pastoral Care, and Counseling. The Caring Ministries mission is to provide “community outreach in very practical ways” shares Pastor Donna. But one of the largest programs overseen by Pastor Donna is the divorce ministries: Divorce Care, DC4K and the Big D.
According to the PA Department of Health, Bureau of Research and Statistics, divorce rates in Bucks County continue to climb. Participation in the Divorce Care (DC) ministries continues to increase reflecting this county-wide trend. Since its inception, approximately 200 adults and countless children and teenagers have participated in the DC programs.
Divorce Care’s unique approach to healing is to provide an outlet which helps participants gain an understanding of what is happening to them and their emotions through the rollercoaster of divorce. “It is about looking forward. It’s not ex-bashing or gender bashing but rather DC is about moving on.” In a very safe, small environment, DC groups “Find help. Discover Hope. Experience Healing.” The DC facilitators are all experienced with divorce having gone through the process themselves bringing an additional level of support to the groups.
The children’s program, DC4K, helps kids up to age 12 “learn how to identify their feelings and to sort through the confusion as children learn to name and handle these unknown experiences” explains Pastor Donna. DC4K is facilitated by young adults whose parents have divorced so they also bring that firsthand experience and understanding to the participants.
Both DC and DC4K are offered in 13 week cycles and individuals are able to join the group at any time throughout the program. DUMC offers two weekly groups, Monday and Thursday evenings for adults; one group on Monday for children and the teen program (the bigD) on an as requested basis.