Mother Sophie* has served in Mount Calvary Church of God in Christ for more than 20 years and lived in Chester, PA, for more than 40. She serves as the matriarch of the congregation of about 30 people in rough parts of the city. She’s seen her share of grief. A few years ago, her husband died after many years of marriage. About five years ago, her nephew was killed with a stray bullet from a crossfire gang shooting down the street from her home. Recently she was driving her grandson to a youth meeting, a shot rang out, and a bullet pierced the car door and hit him in the hand. She rushed him to the hospital. He should fully recover physically.
Mother Sophie was an RN earlier in her professional life in a nearby hospital. She is smart, friendly, loving and welcoming. She is constantly reaching out to brothers and sisters in the church and friends in the neighborhood who need help. She loves the Lord Jesus and His Word and always brings Him into the picture as the relevant Savior and Helper that He is. For years, though, she has keenly felt her lack of training in the Word so that she could be more prepared to help others.
She learned about TUMI (The Urban Ministry Institute) from her pastor at Mount Calvary. He received a mailing from me and met me over breakfast to learn about our Capstone and Pastoral Counseling courses. He was ecstatic. He asked me to come to the church and teach his leaders about biblical counseling. Mother Sophie was one of the nine in the class. At 68, she was still the top student in the class with her reading responses, exegetical paper, quizzes and tests, and the ministry project. I urged her to continue her training in our other courses and she is now finishing her first one. Again, she is at the top of her current class.
Mother Sophie’s role in her church and neighborhood hasn’t changed. She is still a vibrant part of both and reaches out to hurting folks. But now, she says, “God is giving me more understanding about how to bring the help of the gospel to people. I’m able to use the Word of God more confidently.”
Please continue to pray for front-line servants like Mother Sophie. The brokenness of this city can only be addressed fully at the heart level with the gospel. These folks are servants with hearts of gold who love Christ, His Word, His church and the people of Chester in and out of the church. Thank you for your ongoing prayer and financial involvement with these at-risk brothers and sisters.
*Name changed for privacy. The events are real and are not exaggerated; though they are a composite of several folks I’ve had the privilege of serving over the past years. “Church Mother” is a name of honor and respect in the Black Church for a recognized godly matriarch who serves the church faithfully.