Giving a boost to single parents
According to Statistics Canada, the number of single parent homes in Canada has risen by eight percent since 2006, with the number of single fathers rising by 16 percent in the same period. With increasing economic uncertainty, these parents are raising children without a partner to share the load.
The apostle James wrote that true religion is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). Inspired by this challenge, North Langley Community Church hosted its third annual Super Single Parents’ Day on Saturday of the Mother’s Day weekend. The church welcomed 120 single mothers and 6 single fathers for a day of encouragement and assistance.
More than 250 volunteers provided car washes, detailing, oil changes, lifestyle workshops, legal advice, children’s haircuts, a free clothing boutique, a meal for the freezer, and activities for children and teens. A few local organizations provided additional resources. A volunteer team covered the event with prayer, praying for each pre-registered participant by name in advance, and offering personal prayer ministry during the day.
The special day included a luncheon for mothers hosted by the women of NLCC featuring a single mother who shared her own story of God’s faithfulness in the midst of challenge. In a follow-up email evaluation, one guest responded, “I was moved deeply by the speaker…. I left feeling emotionally fortified and a little less alone in my own journey as a single mother.”
Meanwhile, the single dads received a lesson in gourmet grilling before savouring the steak for themselves.
One mother wrote on the evaluation, “While so many people I encounter say, ‘Wow, single parents, I don’t
know how you do it,’ the message I have received from your church is ‘Wow, single parents, let us lift you up and ease your burdens, and show you that God loves you.’”
Another wrote: “Today was one of the most generous, loving, and best experiences I’ve had in a very long time.”
The day had an impact on volunteers as well. One volunteer who was put to work in the spa was squeamish about touching feet. She’d planned to wear gloves, but felt a nudge to remove them. “The Holy Spirit filled me with his lavish love,” she posted on Facebook afterward. “I got to perform an act of love for this woman by holding her bare feet in my bare hands and quenching her thirst for physical closeness. I am so humbled.”
Through events like SSPD, NLCC endeavours to find ways to meet the challenging and ongoing needs of its neighbours throughout the year, and to develop enduring relationships that will provide an environment to share the love of Christ with others.
—Tim McCarthy is pastor of discipleship and community life at North Langley Community Church.