“I joined the Flying Solo Group at Rowville Baptist Church about 18 months ago. Being a single mother returning to the area, I found that I was isolated and lonely. I needed support and companionship. This group is the highlight of our week. The wonderful volunteers take care of our children, give us morning tea and are always there to support us. I have made many new friends from this group and enjoy the various different activities that are organised for us each week.” —Elizabeth“There is a real need for more Flying Solo support groups. I found the support I needed, it helped my self-esteem, my legal needs, my children’s special needs and more. The group also led me to the Lord Jesus and his enduring love. The women give great advice. They have gone through similar situations and give immensely of themselves with dignity and compassion. This type of group needs to be established in other areas.”-Nicole
There are many parents doing it alone these days. What are churches doing to support them? Sandy Taylor from Rowville Baptist Church explains one way to go about it. Our church was looking for a way to give something to our neighbourhood. After our initial idea of a community fair failed to get off the ground, we sought God looked for an area of unmet need around us. Single parents screamed out.
Parenting is an important and challenging role. To do it on your own is really tough. We wanted a way to tell single parents they were significant and loved, more than they could imagine. After all, it was for the wounded and broken hearted that Jesus came.
Our first step was to set aside two days a year to bless the single parents in our community. This was their day. They would be cared for and pampered while their children were occupied with crafts. We served cappuccinos and snacks, provided a massage chair and hand massages, and offered a listening ear. Anglicare and Knox City Council gave us information about relevant services.
We received very positive feedback but we sensed there was something more we should be doing. Several times we talked and dreamed about providing a regular support group for single mums. We couldn’t quite see how to make it happen but the dream was still there. Then, out of the blue, Anglicare approached us with a proposal. If we established a weekly group, they would provide a trained worker and speakers. Here was our answer to prayer!
Flying Solo has been operating for two years now and we have seen wonderful things happen. Most of the women who attend this group are not Christians and yet each week they walk through our door knowing they will be cared for, accepted and listened to.
Last year a number of women accepted Jesus into their life after an ALPHA course run specifically for Flying Solo. Sharyn, Flying Solo coordinator, says, “Many single mothers feel isolated and alone. Some have come out of traumatic situations and are looking for acceptance and safety. Others struggle with ongoing health complications, children with special needs, custody issues and financial matters.
We are privileged to walk with these women in the hard times and rejoice with them in the good. We see them blossom into confident women able to put plans in place for the future. If your church is interested in exploring a similar type of outreach, we would be happy to talk to you.” We continue to run our Pampering Days and the two ministries feed into one another. Mums from Flying Solo are our best promoters. We still sense there is something more that should be done. Solo Dads have expressed their needs to us too. We have no way forward as yet. Do you?
Case Study (prac9): Flying Solo. By Sandy Taylor, the Outreach Team Leader at Rowville Baptist Church.