I have observed in the SDA body that there are two or three groups that are given attention but there is a forth group that is growing rapidly that gets no attention or support from an organizational or even congregational level. There are ministries for those who are married, singles/youth and children. However, a fourth group that comprises of those who, at some point, started a family and are now widowed, divorced, separated or just single parents, get no support or special ministry in the church. If one were to examine the official component of the church, one would find, however, that many members of this fourth group are serving the church on a weekly basis as ushers, deaconesses, Sabbath school teachers, superintendants and in other areas. Without a doubt, many of these members struggle with financial insufficiency, frustration of having to raise the children alone, loneliness and feeling of being unloved and sexual desires that some struggle to suppress, while others do not. After smiling with the brothers and sisters on Sabbath and claiming to be blessed, many return home Saturday night to begin a new week much like the one that just ended, especially in this recession; full of struggle and hurt.
I can say much more but who is listening/watching, will it make a difference?
1. Yes, the church should do more to help this group ,as even now sometimes many single parents stop attending church as they feel rejected , unwanted and gossiped about by some of the congregation who have nothing better to do with their time.
2. To help ease the struggle they experience-
a- stop gossiping about them and pray for them instead
b- encourage them rather than condemn them as what happened is between them and God and is none of our buisness- he never put some folks to be JUDGE and jury on this earth ,even thou some think its their duty to do just that. ...only God is Judge- not us.
c-financially- where possible- maybe an emergency funding could be set up so that those who do go through dire straights have somewhere they can borrow from with a minimal or 0% interest rate rather than feeling they have to turn to unscrupulous loan sharks or banks who have a lot higher interest rates
. Sometimes just slipping someone a bag of food quietly can help out who may be struggling to even buy bread that week.or food for their baby/child
3. A support group is good but will vary from church to church and the ratio of single /divorced/seperated individuals who are in the church and IF they wish to set up such a group..
4. We go out to evangelize and sometimes neglect and oversee this 4th group as some still regard single parents as 'untouchables' and to be looked down upon because they have 'fallen.' Single parents have spiritual needs too - especially the ones who feel rejected and unloved already if the baby father or mother is no where on the scene and have left them all alone to raise the child on their own.. They don't need more rejection from some church people to make them feel even worse than they already do.