Living a street life, with a 20 year history of heroin and cocaine use, Sharon had suicide attempt scars to proclaim a hopeless future. And then one day in 1984 her 18 year old son said, “Ma, you need some help. Why don’t you stop by the office of that new pastor on Broad Street?” Her early morning Heineken breakfast topped off with a marijuana joint did not deter her from getting dressed and stopping by the parsonage around 11 AM.
Hearing Sharon’s desperate story, young Pastor Hilliard offered her a hope-filled turnaround from God. What a turnaround! An hour later, Sharon walked out into the streets of Perth Amboy – never to pick up another drug, never to go-go dance again. Her instant recovery – rare in recovery stories – prepared her to found Safe Harbor. Within a few months, Pastor Hilliard sent Sharon out to organize an outreach to prisoners. In visiting jails and prisons she began to see the need for follow-up with men and women returning to their communities. So reentry became of paramount importance.
Reentry means gaining a sense of wholeness and purpose and the ability to navigate life. Sharon began to see that all of us, whether formerly incarcerated or never incarcerated, need some measure of “reentry” – entry into the wholeness and purpose and life-navigating that our Creator offers humanity. A women’s group, spontaneously formed as a home meeting, addressed these key needs. And then one late Tuesday meeting night in 1999, the song Safe Harbor (on Sandi Patty’s CD), resonated in Sharon’s heart. She played it for the group. “Aah-ha. That’s who we are ladies. We are a safe harbor for each other. Now let’s bring a safe harbor to others.” And so was founded Safe Harbor!
Sharon has been married for to Christopher, who...
This world of human heartache
Hurt all around
Who's gonna care for the broken ones?
They sail a sea of sadness
Where the wind and the waves overcome
They need a place where they can come in from the danger
Find a little shelter
Rest secure and warm
They need a safe, safe harbor
Haven in the mist of the storm
Where there's freedom to conquer
The questions and problems
And fears are lost in love
There's assurance and healing and blessed believing
When they find the Lord is always enough
In a safe, safe harbor
Safe, safe harbor
It seems the hardest struggle for any man
Is facing the darkness inside of him
But give them sanctuary, filled up with love
Where the light of God's truth shines within
They'll know a place where they can come out of the…