“The Stone House” on McCullough Boulevard (formerly Trove gift boutique) in Tupelo opened its doors to the public for the first time a few weeks ago, as a gathering place where women of faith could come for counseling, teaching, and healing.
Located in a stately older home, the peaceful, light-filled interior of The Stone House invites introspection and inner calm. Book-lined shelves and flickering candles beckon guests to settle in and settle down.
Amber Beane of Saltillo is one of a small group of women who had a vision for what would become The Stone House. She said the idea came to her a couple of years ago, when she was on a prison retreat in the Mississippi Delta with a group of like-minded friends.
“We were there with a group of about 50 inmates at the Washington County prison,” she said. “What I took away was that a lot of women are having a hard time coping with life. I didn’t know just what it would be, but I had a vision of a place where women could come and do life together.”
Originally from Austin, Texas, the 36-year-old Beane is married and has two children. She said her vision for The Stone House was grounded in her faith.
“The foundation of this place is Jesus,” she said. “It’s a gathering place for people to come and be equipped and nurtured.”
Beane said her passion for ministry grew out of her own painful past.
“We all have a story and we all come from a past,” she said. “I was affected by sexual abuse for six years. It was six years of trauma. The healing took years, but it made me really compassionate toward women dealing with similar issues.”
Beane said she is grateful for her own recovery from childhood sexual trauma, and she is passionate about helping others avoid less-positive outcomes from an all-too-common occurrence.
“I realized I had a heart for women coming out of addiction and sexual trafficking,” she said. “I am healed, but it’s been a long journey. I could have wound up as a stripper or a prostitute, like so many others with similar histories, if not for the grace of God.”
Beane said she and others at the Stone House will be a resource for getting hurting people to the healing they seek.
“We will have a directory of counselors and therapists,” she said. “We want to help direct people to alternative therapies as well, like art and creative writing and gardening. We have a sister house in New Albany, the Highland House, that even does equine therapy. The basis of all of it is gathering people and showing the love of Christ.”
While the work is faith-based, Beane said those involved at The Stone House are careful to avoid the appearance of being “churchy.”
“What differentiates us is that we don’t have the appearance of a church,” she said. “We’re neutral ground. It takes away any apprehension people have toward church, or any fear of judgment.”
In a culture where women are often judged based on appearances and creating the illusion of perfection, Beane said spiritual healing demands a different paradigm.
“Some of my past experiences and my upbringing taught me I needed to be perfect,” she said. “I didn’t realize how beautiful imperfection was.”
Beane, who works full-time at Room To Room Furniture in Tupelo, said The Stone House is operated solely by unpaid volunteers.
“Our operating hours right now are 10-5 on Thursday and Friday, and 10-2 on Saturday,” she said. “It’s all volunteers and it’s open to anyone who wants to come. If we get one person the help they need, it will all be worth it.”