|Meet a need. Save a life!|
|Written by Amy Scherschligt|
Editor's Note: Many years ago Presbyterians Pro-Life caught a vision for Shepherding Homes. We organized an effort called "Care Churches." Churches and individuals willing to offer support and housing to a woman who was pregnant and in need responded to PPL and a list of such churches remains on our database today. It's a much needed ministry as this article from Amy Scherschligt of Fair Oaks Evangelical Presbyterian Church shows. Read her letter about the need in Sacramento County.
The Shortage of Housing for Homeless and Displaced Pregnant Women in Sacramento County
Our Biblical Mandate: Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3,4
"If this (maternity) home had not been here, my baby would be dead."
So said a 19-year-old pregnant woman in 2004. She was the adopted daughter of a pastor and his wife. She is now married and raising multiple children.
Thankfully, this woman was referred by the local pregnancy center to Love Them Both maternity home, where she found a safe and loving place to live. The home was supported by churches, Alternatives Pregnancy Center and the caring community.
Today, that maternity home is closed. Yet with abortion rates falling as more women choose life for their unborn children, there is an urgent need to help house these displaced and homeless pregnant women.
Recently, Murray received this phone call from a young woman:
"I am four months pregnant and I must move out of this shelter. I am looking for a place to live and have my baby. Can you help me?"
Due to the shortage of housing for homeless, pregnant women, it is hard for Murray to succeed in finding her a place. Bishop Gallego's is the only maternity home in Sacramento County and it houses 12 women. Their waiting list has 25 women on it and they only house women from 7 months pregnant until delivery.
The need is great and churches can help pregnancy centers find ways to solve this critical need for housing for pregnant women who are homeless or displaced. Many have come from the foster care program; nearly 50 percent of girls who age out are pregnant within one year and without resources, leaving them highly vulnerable. A high rate of abortions exists among homeless women. Also, many are pressed into sex trafficking by predators.
In Sacramento County not a single church has taken on the task of reaching these women. If a home is not available, the pregnant mom feels hopeless. Abortion may seem a reasonable, though possibly undesirable, option. Some even rationalize abortion as a compassionate alternative for circumstances. This is especially true in cases when the woman is counseled by professionals, family, the baby's father, and/or well-meaning friends who do not view life with God's perspective - "You shall not kill."
An Opportunity for Ministry
What is a Shepherding Home?
The Christians in these Shepherding Homes touch the lives of the pregnant moms forever. They come into a woman's life at a critical time and this opens the door for deep and lasting relationships where we can influence them to a lifetime with Christ the Lord. It also gives the opportunity to share our faith with the woman's family and friends.
What is a Transition Home?
How can you and your church help?