Single parents, once considered a sign of failure in family-oriented churches, are now the prime targets for new ministries, reports the News Observer (N.C.) newspaper (Aug. 23).
Reporter Yonat Shimron writes that “With divorce rates as high among the faithful as the rest of society, and with government championing church initiatives to help mothers on welfare find work, many religious leaders are recasting single parents in a new light. No longer symbols of disgrace and disintegrating family values, single mothers and their children are now seen as today’s version of the widows and orphans of biblical days.”
Traditionally, churches may have helped out single parents in tight situations, or often lumped them together with singles groups, but today the emphasis is on ministries offering consistent support, such as financial planning programs and emotional support groups for single mothers.
The support groups are important since many leave the church because they feel ignored; one leader of a single parents’ ministry says that only five percent of them go to church regularly.