Judge Joiner recognized for service to county

Published 4:22 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

Christian Life Fellowship Pastor Mark Davis (L) credits God for the success of Celebrate Recovery as he received a check in honor of retired presiding Circuit Court Judge Michael Joiner (R). Shelby County Bar President Phil Hutcheson presented the check. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Since May 2003, people of all walks of life meet Thursday nights at Christian Life Fellowship (CLF) to share interruptions in life caused by controlling issues. Through the Celebrate Recovery program, Pastor Mark Davis and leaders in the church have loved and supported those who struggle with addictions.

CLF’s ministry heartbeat is for the downtrodden. Lisa Greathouse, a founding member, was working with the Shelby County Drug Court in October 2002. Drug Court is an alternative solution to treating drug use, abuse and addiction.

Pastor Davis talked of Greathouse’s association with the court and the program’s beginning.

“Drug Court was less than a year old. Lisa served as an interventionist for offenders who sought treatment over incarceration. I attended a court session in October 2002 and was pulled aside by Luke Powell, Drug Court administrator. He asked if we would begin a recovery program to help the applicants. I had researched the Celebrate Recovery program and knew it would be a huge undertaking for a young church. With that I mind, I said yes, give us two weeks.”

CLF began working with presiding Circuit Court Judge Michael Joiner, the Drug Court Team and professional counselors to offer applicants their deepest need, the spiritual aspect of healing. Using Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program and the gospel of Jesus Christ, applicants are given emotional support to work through issues.

Joiner was recently appointed by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to the state Court of Criminal Appeals. A group raised money for a gift to honor his 18 years of service from the bench. As touched as he was, Joiner knew accepting could appear unethical.

Joiner and Shelby County Bar President Phil Hutcheson attended CLF’s eight years birthday bash on May 5 with a special surprise. After touching testimonies of Joiner’s friendship and how the recovery program has impacted their lives, Hutcheson presented a check for $710 to Pastor Davis in Judge Joiner’s honor.

Speaking to attendees, Judge Joiner said, “There was only so much I could do from the bench. All that could be done is create circumstances for you to respond to help. Celebrate Recovery is that.”

Speaking on Joiner’s character, Angela Poe said, “Our state is blessed to have such a fair and godly man in the court system. I have witnessed Judge Joiner giving people the benefit of the doubt, taking them at their word.”

CLF is located at 7374 Hwy 31, Calera. Celebrate Recovery serves dinner at 6 p.m., meetings begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday nights. Contact the church office at 668-3000 for more information.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.