VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/23/14)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries hosted an online opportunity May 5-9, 2014, for women to learn about homelessness and to explore its impact on their communities and the world. “Break Every Yoke: Homelessness” focused on causes of homelessness, effects on those who are homeless or inadequately housed, and a variety of approaches that individuals and faith communities can take to address the issue. Participants were introduced to resources, ideas, and inspiration for advocacy and action.
“Break Every Yoke” featured daily activities that helped participants explore homelessness as it relates to youth, adults, families with children, military veterans, and senior citizens. Each day also included suggestions for advocacy around particular facets of the issue. Evening conference calls offered the opportunity for discussion with special guests: Francesca Crane, executive director of Bridges of Hope Lancaster and Chester County; Corenne Smith, international missionary in Brazil; Luz Jurado, volunteer with homeless youth in Los Angeles; and Rev. Judy Fackenthal, pastor of Garfield Park Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, with a ministry to the homeless.
Participant Marcia Street of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, remarked, “This virtual mission encounter provided me with many resources on homelessness that I have now shared with others at my AB Women’s Ministries region board meeting; I am also in the process of setting up a program on homelessness for a women’s ministry meeting and I’ve invited a speaker from an organization working with the homeless in my community that I discovered doing research during the virtual mission encounter. I am a person who is ‘into’ prevention, and was happy to learn that November is designated as National Runaway Prevention Month: I will definitely be encouraging my church to plan activities during that month to help prevent youth from falling into homelessness. This event was very inspirational and educational for me, as they all are. I attend every virtual mission encounter I’m able to.”
Participant Frances Home of West Chester, Pennsylvania, said, “This virtual mission encounter came at just the right time for me. For almost 40 years, our church has offered a free Saturday breakfast for anyone in the community, no questions asked. Many who come are homeless for a variety of reasons. After writing a new mission statement, our congregation is seeking God’s will for how we can expand what we do with and for those who come for breakfast. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned from the virtual mission encounter with others in my church.”
“This was the seventh virtual mission encounter we’ve hosted since our first in 2010,” noted American Baptist Women’s Ministries associate executive director Rev. Sandra Hasenauer. “Each time, I am inspired by the enthusiasm and insights of participants as they respond to the issues. It is exciting to hear later about the impact they’ve had in their churches and communities based on the virtual mission encounter experience.”
American Baptist Women’s Ministries will be hosting another virtual mission encounter September 29-October 4, 2014, entitled “A Time of Grace: Aging and Faith.” For more information about virtual mission encounters, visit the American Baptist Women’s Ministries website at www.abwministries.org, or call (610) 768-2288.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.