Dresden’s Freedom Center will no longer provide transitional housing or focus on addiction recovery after a transfer of ownership to Oakland-based Kingdom Life Church. Instead, the building will facilitate marriage retreats and other events.
Jamie Dickson, senior pastor at Kingdom Life Church, said the center became too much of a financial burden for founder Jan Burns once the coronavirus pandemic began.
Burns and the Dickson family have been close for years, according to Dickson. “When COVID hit, there were some life changes for (Burns),” he said. “She wanted to dissolve it (the Freedom Center) into a bigger organization.”
The nonprofit Freedom Center opened in a former church at 633 Gardiner Road in 2014. Burns founded the center “to help people get their lives back on track,” she told the Lincoln County News in 2018.
In October 2016, an accidental fire destroyed the building. The Freedom Center raised money to rebuild over the next year and a half and the current facility opened to residents in May 2018.
The center’s mission statement was “to provide support to individuals experiencing emotional struggles caused by addictions, physical or mental illnesses, and many other life-altering events,” according to its website. “We offer this support by providing programs related to alcohol, substance abuse recovery, and self-help teachings that enhance and restore lives.”
The center taught residents skills like gardening and baking, but also how to communicate, create routines, and establish healthy boundaries with others. Residents and staff members gathered each night for group sessions, where everyone had the opportunity to talk about their day or their recovery journey.
The center housed up to 14 people, but residents moved out when the pandemic began. Dickson said the center will no longer provide housing because it takes “a massive amount of resources.”
He said the center will now work on “rehabilitation in ways other than substance abuse,” including retreats to help couples improve their marriages. The church will lead weekend programs and weeklong getaways.
“We’re adjusting it to short-term ministry opportunities,” Dickson said.
Kingdom Life will still maintain the building. “We will utilize the building to facilitate outreaches, gatherings, retreats, etc. — once gatherings and retreats are permitted again,” Dickson said.