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Finding brotherly love on the track

Group of Christ Lutheran Church gathers for fitness and spiritual bonding with the SCV community

Posted: February 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

Every Thursday night a group of men get together for a unique social gathering. Instead of meeting at a bar, the men meet at a running track for exercise and spiritual bonding.

Spiritually Fit is a mens group at Christ Lutheran Church. The leader, Kurt Schreiner, proposed the idea to church leaders of having a mens group which meets outside of Bible study and Sunday worship to nourish men physically and spiritually. The church was thrilled by the idea.

He and two friends from church began running the College of the Canyons track a year ago. Later, they moved to the Valencia High School track after the COC track was closed to the public.

“I just thought this would be something church men would appreciate,” Schreiner said.

The group has grown to include more than 25 men. On any given Thursday night between 15 to 20 men will show up depending on their schedules. Most walk, some run; but all enjoy the fellowship.

Todd Preisendorf, 50, lived in Santa Clarita and attended Christ Lutheran for only a few months when he was invited to the group.

“They made me feel like I fit right in,” Preisendorf said. “Now, I look forward to my Thursday nights.”

A sentiment echoed by nearly every participant. Many of the participants say they don’t always have time to socialize outside of family events, work or church. Spiritually Fit gives them that time, with added benefits.

The focus of the group is walking or running the track, but what the men gain from the bonding time far surpasses the physical effects.

Most nights the men talk about topics ranging from the lighthearted to the heavy. Everything from addictions, family troubles, financial advice and weekend plans are discussed.

It offers many an opportunity to “unload any distress they are feeling,” explained Schreiner.

Each week a different man is asked to close the group in prayer. Prayer requests are taken and any burdens weighing on the group are discussed.

“It gets the men comfortable with praying out loud and closer to their spiritual journey,” said Schreiner. “It helps them to understand its not just something to be done in church.”
Steve Andersen, 47, said it gave him an outlet to share things guys would only share with guys and gives him a unique way to grow in his faith outside of Sunday service.

“Being with other men of God is a great thing,” he said. “Having other people who understand who God is and what he means to us is important.”

The group also volunteers around the community together. Sometimes helping with church events.

This month they are working at a member’s home who recently lost her husband. The group is completing repairs and helping with projects her husband would have done.

Participants began inviting friends and neighbors to the meetings. Although started out of Christ Lutheran, the group has an open and welcoming policy for any man who wants to join, whether looking to focus on health, friendships or spirituality.

“There is a spiritual togetherness at church, but this group takes it to another level,” said Preisendorf. “It’s all brotherly love. I feel spiritually healthy in a way I haven’t felt in years.”

Spiritually Fit meets at the Valencia High School track every Thursday at 7 p.m.

 

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