York Daily Record — Merle Weaver was facing trial on federal gun charges. His father-in-law had just died.
And he lost his business, a gun shop in West Manchester Township.
It was early 2004 and Weaver, now 45, was at his nadir. That’s when a friend asked him to attend a marriage retreat sponsored by Christ American Baptist Church (CABC) in Jackson Township.
“I said, ‘I don’t need no marriage retreat. I need a few good lawyers,'” Weaver recalled.
The Weavers, Merle and his wife Christy, attended the weekend retreat and, on Jan. 25, 2004, they accepted Jesus Christ into their lives. They were baptized at CABC before Merle went to prison for about 30 months.
That was more than eight years ago and the North Codorus Township couple have rebuilt their lives on Christian principles. In 2010, Merle decided it was time to reach out to York County Prison inmates who might be traveling similar roads.
Today, he leads a Celebrate Recovery program on Wednesday nights at the prison. The condensed, 10-week program is a faith-based effort to address substance abuse issues.
“It’s kind of like AA with a Christ-centered program,” Merle said. “We tell them if they don’t want to hear the word of God, there’s the door. They all stay.”