May 22, 2008

Support for Single Parents

James 1:22-27

Religion that … [is] pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
James 1:27


According to a recent newsflash, four out of every ten children in our culture are living in homes without their father. Close to half of all children in the United States are being raised by single parents or find themselves part of a “blended” family. The so-called nuclear family consisting of two parents and their children is no longer the norm.

Single parents face many challenges. Single parents have to accomplish on their own what often is a challenge for two parents. Without a partner, however, they need emotional support. Some single parents find themselves deep in debt and often face financial hardship. Some no longer feel accepted by former friends because their partner is gone.

Single parents need the help of the Christian community. In the Old Testament God made provisions for widows and orphans. James calls us to put our faith into practice by reaching out to them. Had James been writing today, he would have included single parents and their children too. You and I may need to step in and help. Look around in your church for such needs and offer assistance. You can help care for young children, accept single-parent families into fellowship groups, and provide financial assistance. In the church everyone should be accepted and included.

Lord, help us as members of your church to reach out to all who stand alone as they raise their children, and give us all the grace to accept and learn from each other. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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