Amy, single and pregnant at 19, knew of no welcoming church group for women in her situation, but she and her boyfriend knew exactly where Planned Parenthood was and how it could eliminate their problem. Now, over 25 years later, Amy says, “We were so close to losing our precious son because of fear, isolation, shame, and feeling that there was no one who would understand.”
Schweitzer wants to help change such typical feelings for many of Springfield’s single women with unplanned pregnancies. To do so, we have joined the program Amy Ford developed called Embrace Grace. The first 12-week semester at Schweitzer began on Wedneday, August 16, and will conclude with a celebratory day of events on November 4.
Embrace Grace is a pro-love, no-stones-thrown ministry with many facets and purposes. One goal is that women feel their value in God’s eyes and the love of people at Schweitzer. After a meal and an interesting discussion, participants leave each week with new or gently used baby gifts. Women may choose to join Embrace Grace for the social bonding or for the promised church baby shower for those who attend 70 percent of the meetings. At the end of the semester, women experience the surprise of a “Special Day” and a graduation ceremony where they receive individual honor and a Bible. In addition, many will receive something they never dreamed of: the saving knowledge of Jesus as the new King of their lives. Though no one will be pressured to choose Jesus, leaders will gently plant seeds in each heart, seeds watered by love and prayers.
The baby shower on November 4 will be a joyous celebration and outpouring of love from our congregation. Mothers will receive handmade blankets from groups outside the church as well as a custom quilt made by Schweitzer quilters. Plus, they will recieve an array of shower gifts to help welcome new lives into the world. Some of these little ones may permanently join us and grow up at Schweitzer. Be praying with us for this connection.
Fourteen women have signed up to be part of our first cohort – far more than anticipated. We will have a second cohort in the winter. If you know someone who might benefit, reach out to our team for details. Making the wonderful plans happen will take an army. If you want to get involved, there is a spot for you. Contact the church office at 417.881.6800 and a member of the EG leadership team will reach out. Our leadership team includes: Mary Ann Gustin, Carolyn Larsen, Teresa Poole, Marilyn Quigley, and Stephanie Quigley.One of our leaders recently said, “I hope Schweitzer becomes known as a church in Springfield where single, pregnant women are welcomed with love.” Love is the defining mark of Christian disciples toward those in every life status and situation. As we continually hear from our pastor, God’s grace is always available no matter the circumstance.
Learn more at schweitzer.church/EmbraceGrace