Before she came into the Fellowship Housing program, Susan* had attended Willow Creek Community Church. But as she has navigated the first year of Fellowship, she’s gotten more involved. The church has become a lifeline for her and her two daughters.
“We want our moms to have a support system, another set of people they feel connected to,” says Lauren Wiens, associate director of Fellowship. “The more connected moms are, the more successful they are in our program.”
At church, moms can connect with other moms and families. They can get into a small group where they can build friendships and learn more about the Bible, about God, and about themselves. They can volunteer, grow spiritually, and find a place to belong.
Fellowship has a partnership with Willow, meaning it is one of dozens of independent ministries in the Chicago area who receive some funding from the church. The church also welcomes our moms and their kids into a variety of mini
Susan is the perfect example of how getting involved in a church can help a single mom thrive.
“Church is a big part of our life,” she says. “We’re there at least three days a week.”
Susan and her two daughters, ages 10 and 11, would attend both weekend and Midweek services each week. Her daughters attend Awana while she goes to worship, a moms bible study or a class. The girls love Awana. Last year, they enjoyed memorizing verses and getting connected with their small group leader—who had once been a single mom herself, and made a special effort to build a relationship with Susan’s daughters.
Her 11-year-old daughter auditioned for and was selected for Promiseland Out Loud, a singing group that performs for both children and adults at church. She sings once a month in the 4 and 5-year-old room at Promiseland. She even had an opportunity to sing at the 40th Anniversary celebration at the United Center.
“That’s her God gift,” Susan says. “She loves it. When she auditioned, she told me, ‘I put my all into it.’ She loves singing and performing.”
Susan attended Financial Peace University at Willow, along with a group of other Fellowship moms. That not only helped her with budgeting and finances but also helped her get to know and build friendships other moms in the program.
Susan and her girls also volunteer at the care center, and Susan is in a section community and small group, both of which focus on single parents. Her advice to other moms? “Get involved in a section. Ask someone to meet you and go to church with you. Being at Willow has really enhanced my experience at Fellowship Housing.”
* Not her real name.