The Oklahoman

Edmond church plans new counseling clinic

- Carla Hinton

EDMOND – A local psychologi­st thought he would retire, but the Lord had other plans.

First Baptist Church of Edmond will break ground on its new Christian Clinic for Counseling at 12:15 p.m. Sunday on the church’s property at 1300 E 33rd St. The Rev. Paul Blankenshi­p, the church’s executive pastor, said the groundbrea­king ceremony will be on the church’s south lawn.

The new counseling clinic is the idea of psychologi­st Ron Cruse, a church member who decided to join his 37year-old counseling practice with the church to form a new nonprofit organizati­on that will operate the new counseling clinic.

Cruse said he’d thought to retire, but he’s excited about what he believes is a divine call from the Lord to serve his church and community through the clinic.

“It was definitely a God story, not my own,” he said.

The psychologi­st said he was on track to retire three years ago. He said he had offices in Del City, Norman and Oklahoma City at one time, but people retired over the years until he was “the last one standing.”

Cruse said he and other counselors

with the clinic are working out of rented facilities, but they will move to the new clinic building at the church when it is completed. The clinic offers profession­al counseling services through fully licensed mental health counselors.

“We’re in the early stages and looking forward to growing,” he said. And about that retirement?

“I really don’t have any plans to retire now. I’ll keep going as long as the Lord gives me breath and physical health and a mind that works,” he said.

“All of us need purpose and meaning.”

The Rev. Paul Blankenshi­p, the church’s executive pastor, said the church’s leaders were thrilled with Cruse’s idea.

“This is kind of this man’s gift — his life’s work — to us,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Blake Gideon, the church’s senior pastor, said he wanted the church to offer Christian counseling when he first arrived to lead the house of worship several years ago. Gideon said they tried a few times to get something started but never could keep anything long term.

So when, Cruse came to him with the idea, he didn’t hesitate to give his approval.

Gideon said the clinic fits the church’s mission, and it will be open not just to Edmond First Baptist members but also the community of Edmond.

“One of our desires here at First Baptist is to minister to the whole person — spirituall­y, physically, emotionall­y,” Gideon said.

Blankenshi­p said the constructi­on project is expected to be completed in late summer. He said the clinic’s exterior will be more of a brown brick with tan trim rather than the gray color featured in an artist’s rendering of the building. The brown brick is more in keeping with the church’s exterior, he said.

 ?? PROVIDED ?? An artist’s rendering shows the Christian Clinic for Counseling at First Baptist Church of Edmond.
PROVIDED An artist’s rendering shows the Christian Clinic for Counseling at First Baptist Church of Edmond.

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