Rianna Laxdal discovered as she went through a divorce a year ago, she could decide to rise or crumble from the pain.

"Rising is it and I like helping other people," she said.

Farmington Lutheran Church welcomes the community to join a new support group called Divorce Care that will be offered each Thursday evening at the church. This is part of the church's community outreach called Compassionate Thursday ministries.

As the group facilitator of Divorce Care, Laxdal said many who are working on healing during or after divorce could benefit from this support group.

Laxdal said the group can become a place where others come to listen, learn and share feedback on how to best combat issues during a divorce.

"There is always something to learn about yourself and you can take away friendships you get from the group," she said.

As a social worker, Laxdal admits she is passionate about helping others. She led a weekly Divorce Care group at Hosanna church in Lakeville and has led other women's support groups in recent years.

"During my divorce, I felt like I wanted to go through and be with people who were going through same thing," Laxdal said. "I always tell people God unifies the broken and heals that way.

"I think it is good to have that connection with other people and it is good knowing you are not alone," she added.

The Divorce Care curriculum includes a workbook, a video series, and a group discussion afterwards. There will be 13 divorce session topics covered that range from talking about children, finances, healing and forgiveness.

The group will serve as a place for adults to build new friendships and the venue will offer men and women a place to learn, listen and be listened within a group.

Grief Share group aims to listen, offer hope

One of the other support groups Farmington Lutheran Church offers on Compassionate Thursdays is Grief Share.

Shelby Lunzer, a volunteer leader for the church's community outreach ministries, said the church wishes to support all who are dealing with grief, death or illness of a loved one.

As a church member for 12 years, Lunzer said she believes there is a demand and need for the Grief Share support group. The two co-facilitators for the Grief Share sessions will be Julie Fernandez and Denise Heller.

"Both have gone through personal loss in their lives and have had time to work through and process their feelings," Lunzer said.

The Grief Share 13-week classes are offered 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays at the church. There is a video seminar, support group and workbook. Beforehand, there is a social hour from 6-6:30 p.m. with coffee.

Guests can share or talk during the meetings but do not need to feel pressured to share, Lunzer said.

"It originally started because we wanted to get more reach out into the community, or find ways we can help the community," Lunzer said.

Future support groups the church may offer to the public include a suicide prevention group or a place to talk about suicide since it has become an epidemic in Dakota County, Lunzer said. They may offer a youth support group to talk about issues that youth face today.

"We want to reach out to our congregation, the community and the world," she said.