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September 11, 2013

Church program helps dads, families connect

(Continued)

Today, over 3,000 churches have launched “Letters from Dad” programs.

Said Vaughn: “(I) never intended it to become a movement.”

The West Oneonta Baptist Church began the program Tuesday with food and introductory videos, as well as explanations from the program’s leadership team, which includes Thurber.

The letter writing sessions will start Oct. 1 and continue over three more meetings.

The first meeting will focus on participants writing letters to their children, the second will focus on writing letters to wives, the third will focus on writing letters to parents and the last will focus on writing a letter to be read after a participant’s death.

Those without wives or living parents will be asked to write letters to other significant people.

On the driving force behind the program, Thurber said that men stereotypically have a harder time writing and expressing their feelings to their families.

“This is an opportunity for men to take the time to learn how to do it,” he said.

He also talked about being able to leave something of value to one’s family.

“This is being intentional about leaving a legacy for your family,” he said. “Children want that from their fathers.”

Religious faith is also a foundation of the program.

“It is a biblically based program,” said Vaughn, who described the bible as a love letter from God. “If God felt it important enough to write a love letter to me ... I think I should follow his example.”

Vaughn said the program focused on the power of the written and spoken word, and helped men speak and write words of love and encouragement to their loved ones.

“We really help the men to focus on what they say,” he said.

In terms of the content of the letters, Vaughn described them as conveying the essence of a person, as well as the hopes and dreams they have for their family.

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