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Steve McCary, who was recently named executive director of Walking Worthy Journey, is pictured with founder Elodia Flynn.

"Walking Worthy: A Journey to Freedom" is not your average Bible study. Held three hours a week for 25 weeks beginning each fall, the course is no small commitment, said Steve McCary, who was recently appointed to serve as the first executive director of Walking Worthy Journey, a non-denominational, Christian nonprofit with a goal of helping people heal from emotional wounds through its Scripture-based program.

"It's designed to take the stressors and tensions that all people experience and weave those stressors through the truth of God, because he does have answers," said McCary.

McCary met Walking Worthy Journey founder Elodia Flynn in 1996 when she and her husband started attending Woodland Park Baptist, where McCary was a minister before his retirement in 2017. Flynn, a licensed clinical social worker who had been a practicing therapist for decades, volunteered to serve the church's counseling ministry.

As the ministry grew, so did her idea for what became Walking Worthy Journey.

Flynn had attended a program in Colorado focused on helping people deal with anger and emotional difficulties, and wanted to create a similar program with a biblical basis. She presented McCary with the idea, along with her plans for the class format and lessons, and spent the next three years developing the curriculum after McCary gave her the go-ahead.

The people the program attracts tend to be people who have been going to church for years, but for some reason they have a hard time bridging what they feel with God's word, McCary said.

"They feel disappointed, but have never felt the freedom or safety to share that with anyone," said Flynn. "Walking Worthy talks about why you feel that way and what you can do to help."

The class emphasizes creating a safe and confidential atmosphere for sharing, said Flynn, who is often the class facilitator, although former participants — including McCary — have also trained to become facilitators.

"Quite quickly they begin to share things they've probably never shared before," Flynn said of class participants, who are typically part of a group of eight to 12 people. "Healing comes when they begin to apply the truth of God's word versus what someone has told them and they have come to believe."

More than 600 people have been through the class, she said, and 93% said in a survey after taking the course that Walking Worthy benefited their life and family.

McCary's main job in his role as executive director is to make more people aware of the course, which until now has gotten its participants solely by word of mouth.

This year, Walking Worthy Journey will be held at Woodland Park Baptist, Brainerd Baptist, Grace Baptist and ChristWay Community Church beginning in the fall, although the dates have not yet been set.

For more information or to register, visit walkingworthyjourney.org or call 991-9029.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com

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