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Local ministry combines horses, grief counseling

November 21, 2017 GMT

Pastor Scott Miller and his wife, Christine, are currently working on opening a Christian-based ministry just north of Watertown for children struggling with grief issues.

Veritas Ministries, located at W6787 Hill Road, will offer weekend retreats for children focused on giving them the “tools” they need to overcome difficult situations in their lives, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, abandonment, low self-esteem and bullying.

While learning these tools, each youth will also be assigned a horse to take care of while at the retreat.

A horse, said Scott Miller, can be very therapeutic. “A horse gives you unconditional love,” he said, adding that among the lessons he wants children to learn is that if they take care of something or someone else, they will also be taking care of themselves.

The Millers had previously built and owned a larger retreat facility in South Dakota, where they had hosted around 600 youths a year and conducted weeklong retreats. They ran the facility for five years before closing it down due to financial struggles. They had not charged children to attend retreats.

They don’t plan to charge children this time around, either. In addition to their own savings and relying on the help of volunteers, the Millers hope to raise and save funds for their work through sponsors, donations and income from adult retreats and horse owners boarding animals at their facility.

These horses, along with those the Millers own, would be cared for by children at the retreats.

Scott Miller has served in ministry roles within multiple Christian denominations. Not functioning underneath a particular denomination, he said he does not want to get into church politics when teaching the children but rather focus on God’s grace.

“We’re going to try to pour biblical truth into kids’ lives, as far as how God takes care of them,” he said.

The Millers’ idea for this kind of retreat experience came from Christine Miller, who lost her father when she was 13 and before he was able to fulfill his promise to get her a horse. Some time after, she saw a horse in the cemetery. “She knew her dad had given her the horse,” Scott Miller said.

It had been a neighbor’s horse, but from that experience came a love for caring for horses and helping children through their grief.

Scott Miller hopes to have everything ready for retreats by March 2018. In the meantime, Christine Miller is opening herself to area churches to share her story and ministry with them.

To learn more about Veritas Ministries, its upcoming retreats and sponsor/donation opportunities, call 765-576-0272.