Ministry to Widows and Orphans

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27 - NIV)

We have been called to care for widows and orphans. Living Word is continually working at expanding our ministry in these areas. First, we must expand our idea of what a widow or orphan is in today's world -- especially orphans.

An orphan does not necessarily have to be without parents. It is increasingly common for children to have at least one parent, but the parents are abusive, neglecting or simply not present. There are thousands of children in our state's foster care system and many are not placed in a foster home or adopted.

We are working with the state to help meet the needs of these children. Regardless of how a child ends up in the system or if they truly belong in that system, they ARE in it and we want to help.

Some of what we have done and are beginning to do...

Angel Tree Last Christmas we coordinated with local businesses, organizations and members of the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce to collect toys and personal care items for the children in group homes who had no family for Christmas. We worked through Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation and various state programs to distribute the items. The drive was VERY successful, distributing gifts to over 600 children, and we plan to expand the reach next year.

Valentine's Day Special Offering In February we received a special offering in all three of our church locations to launch our programs for this year. We have plans to specifically address the needs of children who are "aging out" of the system. Statistics show that as many as 90% of those children end up in prison. We are working to sow into their lives the resources they need as well as to show the love of God to change that outcome.

Adopting Our Local CPS Office We have built a team of volunteers who, on behalf of our church, are adopting the Tempe CPS office to assist with their needs. State budget cuts have hurt their ability to meet the needs of the children who come through their doors. We will be donating needed items and gift cards for food and clothing for children as well as cleaning and repairing some of their facilities. This is a developing program in association with Arizona Serves, which is Governor Jan Brewer's task force assigned to engaging the faith community to meet the needs that the state cannot.

Orphanages Around the World We support 2 in India with 16,000 children, 1 in Brazil and 1 in Uganda.

Widows... We are currently developing some specific programs to minister to widows and widowers -- especially those in local care facilities.