Section 1 – Biblical foundations
“Quote 1,11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” (Luke 7:11-15)
“Quote 2, 9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. (1 Timothy 5:9-12)
“Quote 3, 5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:5)
“Quote 4, 29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.” (Deuteronomy 14:29).
“Quote 5, 17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for everyone is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” (Isaiah 9:17)
“Quote 7, 11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.” (Jeremiah 49:11)
Section 2 – Societal need
A widow can be understood as a woman whose husband has died and has not remarried. In the book of 1 Timothy 5:9-12, a widow can be expressed as a woman whose husband is dead and is over the age of 60 years since they have little or no chances of remarrying. According to US Census Bureau (2009), there are about 7.8 widows for every 1000 women in the USA in 2009. The reason given by the study is that women tend to marry older men than themselves as well as active involvement of men into conflicts, for instance, the Middle East Crisis. States like Hawaii, Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia recording the highest rates with more than 9 per 1000 women. Vermont and Utah recorded the least rates of women widowhood with less than 5.6 per 1000 women. US Census Bureau (2009), have gone ahead to show that the age group of 65 years and above is the worst affected with 66.4% of the women in this age group being widows, while 55 to 64 years has 17.7% of women being widows. Racially, white women are the most affected with 79% of all the widows being white, 11.9% being black (Elliott and Simmons, 2009).
Globally, the state of widowhood among women is sometimes worse than in the U.S. especially in conflict dominated areas. The World Economic Forum (2015) noted that globally, there are about 258,481,056 widows globally and the number has been on the growing trend since 2010. There have been 9% more widows since then; a span of 5 years. Armed conflicts and disease in the Middle East and North Africa is the single largest culprit of the depressing statistic. In the said regions, there have been a 24% increase in the number of widows between 2010 and 2015. The Loomba Foundation (2015), informs that one in seven widows on a global perspective live in extreme poverty, a tenth of marital age women is widowed globally, and India has the highest number of widows followed by China with 46 million and 44.6 million widows respectively. In developing countries, the phenomenon is more pronounced due to the prevalence of child marriages.
Section 3 – Ministries
The Potter’s House Church
Mission Statement of The Potter’s House Church “The Potter’s House and T. D. Jakes Ministries seek to become a global voice, along a lifelong journey of spiritual and economic hope, encouragement and empowerment to people locally, nationally and around the world.”
The Potter’s House Church provides legal services, counselling, shelter, drug and recovery services as well as children welfare services to widows it can reach (The Potter’s House, 2017).
The Potter’s House Church evaluates it efforts by keeping a count of people it impacts and how well they are doing after their intervention. They compare statistics across years.
Hope for Widows
The mission of Hope for Widows is “Easing the burdens of widows and their families.” According to The Hope for Widows Website, the organizations involves itself with activities that ease the grieving process of widows as well as have forums that are consultative in nature. Donations are also part of the organizations work. The organization has enabled consultative forums on online platforms such as Facebook and on Instagram where widows all over the world meet and share thoughts and ideas (Hope for Widows, 2017).
The Hope for Widows Website does not explicitly tell how the organization works evaluates its work but it strongly suggests that those impacted by the organization to send in their reaction as a testimonial. The website has a full page of such testimonials.
The Widows Project
The organization does not have a mission but its vision is “To uniquely serve Widows and Widowers with the love of Jesus, then, provide that model to a coalition of ministries that Champion the intentional ministry of serving the Widow and Widower with the love of Jesus.”
The organization prides itself as a support system for widows which maintains a strong online presence. The Widows Project provides resources and gifts to widows irrespective of their stage in widowhood. Resources include books that are tailored for the widows in their grieving moment as well as counseling, Attorney services, business consulting, insurance, and photography services among many other activities (The Widows Project, 2017).
US Census Bureau. (2011). 2009 Census Report. Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Retrieved https://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-13.pdf
Hope for Widows. (2017) Accessed from http://hopeforwidows.org/
The Loomba Foundation. (2015) The Global Widows Report 2015: A Global Overview of Deprivation Faced by Widows and Their Children. London, United Kingdom. Retrieved http://www.theloombafoundation.org/images/The%20Global%20Widows%20Report%202015.pdf
The Potter’s House Church. (2017). Accessed from http://thepottershouse.org/
The Widows Project. (2017) Accessed from http://thewidowsproject.org/
World Economic Forum. (2015) Which Country has the Largest Number of Widows? Retrieved https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/12/which-country-has-the-largest-number-of-widows/
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