History of BE

The History of Beginning Experience

Beginning Experience began in Fort Worth Texas in 1974. Sister Josephine Stewart, a Roman Catholic nun who was working as a counselor, found herself working more and more with separated, divorced and widowed individuals. She noticed that many of these people seemed to be stuck in their grief. Along with a divorced friend, Jo Lamia, the two researched and presented plans for a weekend for divorced people in the Fort Worth area.

In October, 1974 eighteen participants came to the first ever Beginning Experience Weekend. Sixteen of these individuals formed the first team to carry on to other separated, divorced, and widowed persons what they had learned and experienced.

By 1980, teams had started from coast-to-coast in the United States, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and in Canada. At the current time, the International Ministry Centre Executive Director is Yvonne Stoops.  B.E. International Head Office serves approximately 80 Teams around the world.  Canada has two teams, Sarnia, ON and Winnipeg, MB.

Here is a link to the International Website


The History of Sarnia Beginning Experience

The pilot Beginning Experience weekend was held at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church here in Sarnia on March 30, 31 and April 1st, 1984. The presenting team was made up of local team trained individuals who had previously attended a Beginning Experience Weekend in Flint, Michigan, bringing the Ministry to Sarnia.

The Beginning Experience (BE) Weekend is the foundation of our Program. We have two Weekends per year where participants spend two days and nights in a safe and caring environment that has proven to help individuals make a new beginning in life. To date thousands of individuals have gone through the doors of Sarnia Beginning Experience; we are still going strong.  Sarnia Beginning Experience and in 2014 celebrated 30 years of helping people in Ontario and Michigan process their grief.  We have had queries concerning participation in our programs from as far away as Atlantic Canada.

We also have Support Groups to help continue the journey of healing.  Once you joined the BE family, you will be able to attend social events such as our Weekly Coffee Night, Dances, Summer Picnic and Christmas Pot Luck.                          More social activities are in the works – look for them in coming new year.

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