Most churches advocate life and discourage women from getting abortions, but once a brave and courageous girl chooses life, a lot of times the church then steps away and has nothing to offer her for support at that point. She is then left with nine months of being scared, worried and feeling alone. This is where the Body of Christ can minister …
Every Thursday at 6 p.m.
March 22-June 7, 2018
Wheelersburg Community Center
Contact: Dee Hagans
These are the first words you read when you visit the website for Embrace Grace (see https://embracegrace.com/), a non-profit organization that provides emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young women and their families who find themselves in an unintended pregnancy.
The website goes on to note that the group’s primary goal is to “empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt.”
This program kicks off here in Scioto County on Thursday, March 22, at 6 p.m. at the Wheelersburg Community Center, 11712 Gallia Pike Road. Dee Hagans is coordinating the course which will run every Thursday evening through June 7 and is targeted to reach females ages 15 to 29.
Just a few months ago, Dee lived in Licking County, Ohio, where she volunteered with Mary’s Safe House, a non-profit shelter for single moms. She was preparing to launch the Embrace Grace program there when her family had to relocate due to her husband’s job in August 2017. So, they picked up and moved to Scioto County and began attending Grace Saturated Church in Wheelersburg.
She is the mother of four sons, ages 19, 16, 7 and 5, and in December 2016, she and her husband, Randall, became the legal guardians of her 15-year-old cousin. She homeschools her two youngest children.
The Embrace Grace ministry is close to Dee’s heart because she has personally experienced single motherhood herself. Married at age 20, she gave her heart to Christ while pregnant with her oldest son. The first-generation Christian knew nothing about religion, but she quickly got to work learning about the things of God and never looked back.
“I’ve grown every day in the Lord by His grace,” she said.
However, after her second son was born, her husband left, and she raised her sons on her own for the next eight years. She gives credit for her success to her loving and supportive church, which is also where she met Randall.
Now she wants to give back to other women facing the same challenges. “There’s so much I can do to tell my story to help people who are willing to listen,” she said. “I want to be God’s vessel and do what I can, walk along with them, show them Christ and love them.”
Dee currently attends discipleship training at Wheelersburg Baptist Church to grow in her relationship with Christ and become more equipped to handle what she will face in her new ministry.
She says she is supported in her effort by her home church and her pastors, Dan Whitley and Jason Hamilton. “Grace Saturated was very excited to support Embrace Grace,” she said. This congregation meets on Sunday mornings in the Porter Community Building and has evening meetings at members’ homes. Additional support comes from an accountability leader with Embrace Grace who prays for the ministry and provides guidance.
Any church in the area is welcome to start its own group. If interested, contact Embrace Grace which provides a leadership portal that provides training for new leaders. “If someone else in the community does this, I would like to get to know them, so we can work together in collaboration with each other, so we can make it better,” she noted.
The goal of the program is to keep babies from being aborted and to get the church to embrace the single mom instead of shame. “The church needs to take care of the fatherless,” Dee said. “I don’t know what God’s going to do with this, and I’m so excited to see if the community responds. I would like to see area churches support this group or start their own Embrace Grace class, so more people can be impacted.”
More about “Embrace Grace”
There are 12 sessions each Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Wheelersburg Community Center, beginning this Thursday, March 22, and going through Thursday, June 7. If you don’t make it to the first class, you can join later, but walk-ins will not be accepted after the third week. Ladies must participate in at least 70 percent of the curriculum in order to qualify for a baby shower, or a “celebration of life” at the end of the course—more on that later. Love boxes are provided to each attendee. (See https://embracegrace.com/lovebox/)
On Thursday, April 19, there will be a special event called “Testimony Night.” Dee is looking for local Christian women who are willing to tell their stories. Have you received a child through adoption, or were you a birth mother who gave up your child for adoption? Did you find healing through Jesus Christ? If so and you would like to give your testimony, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In early May (exact date to be determined), a special night will be held to pamper these young ladies. Dee is looking for locals who are willing to volunteer their services to fix the girls’ hair, do their makeup, bring food, etc. “There are plenty of opportunities for people to offer their skills,” she said. This same night, the girls will prepare “cardboard testimonies” to show how the program has helped them.
In early June, single moms who complete 70 percent of the program will receive a baby shower as a reward. For those mothers who have chosen adoption, they will receive a “Celebration of Life,” a party to honor them for choosing life.
If you would like to donate cash or gifts to support this ministry, please send them to Grace Saturated Church, 356 Briggs Road, Wheelersburg, OH, 45694. Checks should be made payable
to “Grace Saturated Church” with Embrace Grace written on the memo line.
If the first session of Embrace Grace goes well, Dee hopes to offer a second session beginning August 3. The goal is to host two programs per year and conduct educational meetings during the other months. She plans to refer the attendees to take advantage of resources offered by the Cradle Pregnancy Care Center, where Dee is volunteering one day a week, as well as the Help Me Grow program and other organizations.
A follow-up program called Embrace Life may be offered in the future which provides help and support to young women to be good mothers, and a curriculum for fathers is also being developed.
“We want healthy mommies to be raising healthy babies,” said Dee. “Embrace Grace wants churches to do their job, what they were called to do—provide lots of grace and lots of love.”