‘Men’s Fraternity’ helps men learn about themselves

Published 7:53 pm Saturday, January 2, 2010

By David B. Snow


Let’s face it: men generally do not sit around with other men and talk about their feelings, their problems growing up and other issues that define them not just as a person but as a man.

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Edmund Colgrove moved to Demopolis a couple of years ago and brought with him a program that he started last fall at the First United Methodist Church of Demopolis.

It’s called “Men’s Fraternity,” and according to its Web site, www.mensfraternity.com, it is a three-year study series for men that “provides men with an encouraging process that teaches them how to live lives of authentic manhood as modeled by Jesus Christ and directed by the Word of God.”

Colgrove found it to be informative and insightful and thought it was something to be had at the church in Demopolis.

“It was put together by a pastor in Little Rock, Ark., named Robert Lewis,” he said. “I went to church at Valley View Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, and we had it there.

“He wrote three years’ worth of courses. The first year is called ‘Quest for Authentic Manhood,’ and that’s what we’re doing here. It’s a 24-session study, and we do 12 weeks in each semester, following the school schedule. We’ll start back again on Jan. 13.”

Once the classes begin on Wednesday, Jan. 13, they will meet each Wednesday at 6 a.m. at the church.

“The first thing you do is look back,” Colgrove said. “We call it ‘unpacking our suitcases.’ We look back at the things that guide us to where we are now, that made us the men that we are now. We assess that, then we determine how we move forward.

“We deal with past wounds — the ‘absent father’ wound, the ‘overly bonded with mother’ wound, the ‘all alone’ wound and the ‘heart’ wound — then we start forward and start putting together our Biblical definition of manhood. We start learning to be authentic men according to what the Scripture states we should be, the way God tells us.”

Through the program, men learn how to deal with their many relationships: their relationship with Christ, their relationship with their wives and family and their relationship with other men, as well as how to become mentors.

“The course is open to anybody,” Colgrove said. “We encourage men to bring their teenage sons during the second semester, but they need to be in the 11th or 12th grade so they can start to pick up on it well. But, the course is open to anyone, whether they are a believer or not, any man, any denomination. It’s a community study of how to better us as men.

“We meet from 6 to 7 a.m., and we go through the study for that week. Then, we break into small groups from 7 to 7:30 and discuss what we talked about earlier.

“It really gives men a time of getting to know each other and open their hearts to each other and sharing their lives with each other.”

When the three-year program is completed, it starts all over again, enabling others to join in or allow those who have taken the course to help with the instruction or take it again to get even more out of the program.

In sharing their lives and experiences — something that some feel makes men seem weak — men actually become stronger in knowing that others have gone through the same trials and ask the same questions that they do.

The “Men’s Fraternity” program helps bring men together and find that they not only share much in common with their earthly lives, but can build each other and strengthen each other spiritually as well.

Anyone can join in the course at any time at the First United Methodist Church.

For more information, call Colgrove at (205) 242-3807 or visit the Web site www.mensfraternity.com.