Women of the Church of God in Christ launch new initiative

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The Women’s Department of Arkansas’ first ecclesiastical jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ will virtually launch an enhanced and expanded transformational ministry within jurisdictional boundaries that spans 18 counties: Phillips, Monroe, Mississippi, St. Francis, Lee, Crittenden, Craighead, Cross, Jackson, Woodruff, White, Arkansas, Desha, Jefferson, Grant, Hot Spring, Garland, and Pulaski.

The launch of The Hannah Project will be virtual on March 24 at 7 p.m.

The research-based study planning process over the past 14 months has informed the direction and organizational model to better align our worship with our service. The question was, “How could the premier Women’s Department of Arkansas improve and expand the alignment of our worship and service toward transforming and sustaining respective communities within jurisdiction?”

The challenge was to look for a way to become the difference we wanted to see because of the presence of the Church of God in Christ in all 18 counties of Arkansas and the district of Greenville, Texas, comprising the first jurisdiction of Arkansas.

Two goals form the foundation of this enhanced and expanded ministry initiative: (1) to promote a culture of effective ministry, as evidenced by transformational and enduring programs that are rooted in scriptural inspiration and that motivate, inspire, educate and activate the participant ; (2) promote a culture of evaluation, research, innovation and engagement.

The Hannah Project, available from International Women’s Department, Church of God in Christ, is the guide of choice. The Arkansas First Women’s Department’s research and programming strategies to address given concerns are influenced by the likes of the six components of the Hannah Project: Job Fair, Financial Literacy, K-12 Academic Success, Teenage Pregnancy Prevention, Second Chance (Re-Entry), and Marriage University.

Here are some examples of what compels the first Arkansas Women’s Department:

• Arkansas ranks first in the United States in teen pregnancy among the 15-19 age group. The highest rates of teenage pregnancy exist in Phillips, St. Francis, Monroe, and Mississippi counties — all of which are within Arkansas’ first jurisdiction.

• Phillips County is the poorest in Arkansas: median income of $26,652. One in 5.5 people live in poverty – also located in Arkansas’ first jurisdiction.

• In 2015-2019, the median income was about $47,600, down 4% after adjusting for inflation from 2000. This was about 76% of the national median income, making Arkansas is the third-to-last in the country by this metric, just above Mississippi ($45,100) and West Virginia ($46,700). Median income was by far the lowest for black or African American households at $32,100, close to the poverty line for a family of four with two children (about $26,200).

• Arkansas has one of the youngest average marriage ages among states, 24.8. Arkansas has the highest divorce rate in the United States, 10.7 per 1,000.

• Main reasons for divorce: incompatibility 43%, infidelity 28%, money problems 22%. The average age of the first divorce is 30 years old.

• Arkansas ranks third (57%) in the United States for recidivism in prison. A recent study of incarcerated people found that about 25% did not have a high school diploma or GED and only 54% worked before their incarceration.

This initiative is non-denominational and all reforms, organizations, social and corporate entities are invited to join a leader in the respective geographical areas.

The Arkansas First Jurisdiction Women’s Department (AR1JWD) has been and continues to be a vital and vibrant ministry for more than 60 years within the Arkansas First Jurisdiction structure of the Church of God in Christ. Mother Hazel B. Deloney is the Jurisdiction Supervisor, Women’s Department. Bishop Jewel R. Withers Jr. is the prelate.

Eva McGee is Chair of the Advisory Board/Steering Committee. For more information, visit ar1cogicwd.org or contact Eva McGee – head of this ministry, at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: Pastors, ministers, or other writers interested in writing for this section can submit articles for consideration to [email protected] Please include your phone number and the name and location of your church or ministry. Writers must have a connection to southeast Arkansas.

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