by Terry Rogers
Dupree Johnson, Senior Pastor at New Genesis Rock of Love Ministries explained that New Genesis Rock of Love Ministries, which opened its doors six months ago at 18 Southwest Front Street in Milford, purposely does not have the word “church” in its name although there are services offered every Sunday in the building.
“When I started this, I wanted to offer what the community needed,” Johnson said. “I met with community leaders to learn what we could offer that was not currently available in this town. What we came up with is a three-pronged ministry that would serve the people of Milford.”
The first ministry established at New Genesis Rock of Love has been available for three years and focuses in personal healing. Every Thursday at 7 PM, a Celebrate Recovery group is held in the building for individuals with what Johnson calls “hurts, habits and hangups.”
“This is not just for substance abuse,” Johnson said. “It is for sexual addiction, drugs, food, gambling, whatever your hurt, habit or hangup is, it gives you a safe place to deal with those issues. We use a 12-Step program to help you get back on track. We also offer Yoga and Meditation every Saturday at 10 AM and Dr. Mary Douglas Bailey of MDB Behavioral Health sees clients here once or twice each week, offering family or individual counseling. Full Circle Martial Arts Academy is also offering a Warriors Against Trafficking program here that teaches self defense and other steps to keep people safe.”
Starting around the end of August, New Genesis Rock of Love Ministries will offer a six-week trauma and mental health program every Saturday. This program will offer art therapy, yoga and healthy techniques for dealing with trauma.
“We need to dig down and find out where the trauma exists,” Johnson said. “We use a nationally-recognized test to determine what score an individual has to see how traumatic life has been for them. Interestingly enough, people don’t always know they have been traumatized. They think that’s how everyone grew up, with an abusive parent, alcoholic parent, sexually abusive parent. They are unaware that the problems they are having now may be related to childhood trauma. Once we know what it is, we can deal with it and provide them with better ways to handle their trauma.”
Johnson is looking forward to the second phase of the ministry which has an economic focus.
“We have partnered with Milford Housing Development Corporation to help people rebuild their financial life as well,” Johnson said. “They offer an outstanding program. I worked with them to build my own house. We will also have Richard Ferguson teaching a Financial Freedom class. Currently, we survive on state and federal grants. We have partnerships with the state, including one with Social Services. We can connect to the ASSIST system so we can actually sign people up for benefits when they come here for help. We are also connected to WonderWorks at the Department of Labor to help people build job skills. We have a 501(c)(3) that allows us to assist with many projects. If someone comes to us with an idea that would help the community, they can work under us using our 501(c)(3) to get the project off the ground.”
Johnson began his ministry in a very personal way and says that his background is what allows him to empathize with others in similar situations.
“I was homeless, I was hooked on drugs, I have been incarcerated a few times,” Johnson said. “A light bulb suddenly went off and I knew I needed to do something different. I started doing community service and found something I really enjoyed, ministering others to help them overcome obstacles. I worked with the prison system at Sussex Correctional Institution as a behavioral health specialist and then moved to Kent and Sussex Services as a prevention specialist before deciding that I wanted to do more.”
New Genesis Rock of Love Ministries is open to all ages, including children, teens, adults and seniors. Johnson plans a celebration in the future where there will be door prizes and a chance for the community to see what the ministry has to offer. Currently, the first 25 people who sign up for the yoga class receive a free yoga mat and, at their recent ribbon cutting, ten people signed up. The ministry also plans to be a satellite building for an upcoming conference planned for the end of September on trauma presented by Terry Townsend in partnership with the Department of Correction.
“Anyone who is interested in watching the conference can come here, social distance and view it online,” Johnson said. “We are also dispensing 10,000 masks from our new location. If you need a mask, stop by and we will gladly give you one.”