by Joe Bollig
OVERLAND PARK — It’s easy, in the abstract, to talk about forgiveness. Actually doing it, however, is tremendously difficult, as Allison Darby Boddicker knows.
Her father, Mike Darby, was murdered on the Indian Creek Trail in Overland Park in 2017.
Boddicker, a member of Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, was struggling with her anger and grief when she decided to take a course on forgiveness offered in the fall of 2018 by fellow parishioner Chuck Jansen.
It changed her life. And when Jansen decided to create an online Forgiveness 101 course, she accepted his invitation to be a part of it.
“I share my testimony of the day my father was murdered, and walk through what that felt like,” said Boddicker. “After doing so, I describe meeting Chuck Jansen and beginning my own forgiveness journey with his forgiveness class — how that gave me the tools I needed, so I could model it for my children.”
Jansen, married and the father of three adult children, has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Loyola University in Chicago. He taught a variety of faith-related classes in Chicago for seven years and for five years at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park.
Later, he became a real estate agent, but continued to be heavily involved in his parish.
In 2013, while he and then-pastor Msgr. Thomas Tank were visiting, Jansen asked him where there was a need in the parish.
“He said we had 3,000 families in the parish and about half of them have someone who is not talking to somebody else,” said Jansen. “[Msgr. Tank] asked me to devise a course that would help people to change and forgive each other, repent and have a new attitude.”
Families were meeting at funerals, weddings, Thanksgiving dinners, birthdays — and people weren’t talking to each other, acknowledging a problem, or knowing what to do about the estrangement.
Jansen began teaching his Forgiveness 101 course at the parish several times a year over the next nine years, and it grew. Deacon Dana Nearmyer, archdiocesan director of evangelization, encouraged him to turn it into an online course.
So Jansen created Forgiveness Institute KC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, and a website (yeabut.org), and the course was picked up by the cloud-based learning and development platform “mycatholicfaithdelivered.com.”
In all, it took 11 months to develop the five-day course. After being approved by the archdiocese, it has been offered since January.
“Working with ‘mycatholicfaithdelivered.com,’” said Jansen, “we put together a whole conglomeration of things — video clips, Scripture, PowerPoint slides, movie clips, a prayer service and even a podcast of the day.”
The course has three different color- coded tracks — blue, green and red — to give people options of how deep they want to go. The paths are like hiking trails offering different degrees of challenge.
Also, the course offers various tools participants can choose.
“We designed the course like a buffet table,” said Jansen. “It’s got a whole lot of tools [from which] the individual user can pick which ones they like.”
The online course can be taken as an individual or as a group — prayer groups, Bible study groups, RCIA programs, adult faith formation and more. The cost is $25.
To sign up for the course, go online to: yeabut.org. Scroll down and click “Take The Online Class.” This will take you to “mycatholicfaithdelivered.com.” Follow the instructions to sign up and pay for the course.
“I pray that the Holy Spirit uses this class, that people will see it as a tool to heal, restore and bring hope,” said Jansen. “I really believe the path to meaningful relationships passes through forgiveness. It’s the crux of the Gospel and the crux of the Christian message — how to forgive one another.”