CR UK Achieved Charity Status

by | Jan 25, 2023

To quote a very famous Christian preacher, the “I have a dream” speech has lived long in the memory despite the passing of time. Did Martin Luther King, speaking on 28th August 1963, realise the impact his words would have decades later, and the influence his calling from God would have on future communities?

The analogy with Celebrate Recovery in the UK lies in the fact that the UK Director for Celebrate Recovery, stated, during the early years of his Celebrate Recovery Ministry, that he and his wife Val had a heart and vision to see the hurting in the nation reached, and for every person to have access to a Celebrate Recovery group in all major locations in the UK. Again, these words are prophetic, in that the calling of God on Tony & Val’s lives, has far wider and deeper implications that we, as humans, can understand.

In the years since 1998, when Celebrate Recovery spread its worldwide mission from its inception in Saddleback, USA, Tony and Val have worked tirelessly to put others first and to see those in the UK suffering with hurts, hang-ups, and habits, find healing through the power of Jesus. At this stage, CR in the UK began as a Social Enterprise. In recent times, others have stepped up as UK Reps and Ministry Leaders to help to build the foundations for the establishment and early growth of Celebrate Recovery in the UK.

Tony felt that the best way of setting in motion a legacy for others to follow was to transition Celebrate Recovery in the UK to a registered charity. This would provide the platform for the word to spread and to achieve the growth that Celebrate Recovery was looking to establish in the UK. It would also facilitate access to the vital funding, required to build the ministry. Celebrate Recovery does, (and always will), rely on the passion and dedication of hundreds of volunteers on a weekly basis, but, in today’s society, some funding is required to cover essential expenses and allow the organisation to grow organically.

The journey to UK Charity status began in 2014, commencing with discussions with Saddleback about the ongoing relationship between the two entities. This was at the heart of the thinking, as Tony was wholly focused on keeping the Saddleback guidelines and model for Celebrate Recovery in the UK. Some aspects were non-negotiable. The dialogue with Saddleback continued for several years, during which time the Leadership evolved. This made reaching the right conclusions much more challenging. By the start of 2022, having kept Celebrate Recovery UK going during the worst global pandemic in our living memory, it was finally agreed that a UK Charity application could be submitted with the blessing and support of the leaders in Saddleback.

Tony reiterated his vision for Celebrate Recovery UK as a UK Charity and, following many discussions with Trustees and Reps, a UK Charity Application was submitted in March 2022. After many months of to-ing and fro-ing with the Charity Commission, providing further clarification of how the new Charity would meet its objective of “public benefit”, charity status was achieved on 6th December 2022.

The challenge into the future is now for Celebrate Recovery UK to remember why it exists and to focus on sharing that vision with others. To bring about the original God-given vision that started with Tony & Val in 1998 in a hurting nation. Hallelujah!

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