Our Supporters’ Stories
Embraced by Love
As a child, Deanna occasionally went to Jehovah’s Witness meetings with her grandmother, especially memorable because they’d go to McDonald’s afterward. Otherwise she had no connection to a church.
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, Deanna visited a pregnancy help center not in her hometown. There she learned about an Embrace Grace support group at One Hope Community Church in Burlington, Ky.
Embrace Grace is a Christ-centered program that helps churches minister to young women who’ve chosen life for their babies despite sometimes difficult circumstances. Care Net has long appreciated partnering with churches, where our clients can find the long-term stability and spiritual nurturing only a church family can provide. At the time of Deanna’s visit, One Hope Community Church was launching its first Embrace Grace classes.
At first, Deanna wasn’t sure about joining the Embrace Grace group. She worried people at the church might be “judge-y.” But she did join, and since completing the 12-week Embrace Grace program, she has come back to church several times.
One Hope became an Embrace Grace church after leaders decided to invite a guest speaker from Care Net to help kick off their baby bottle campaign. After the service, the speaker, Care Net staffer Sherry Pinson, sought out worship leader Joetta Browning.
“This church is so down-to-earth and welcoming,” Sherry told Joetta. “I really think you’d be a great Embrace Grace church.”
Joetta checked out Embrace Grace, got the go-ahead from Pastor Steve Anderson, and completed online training with another member, Joei. Though usually not one to put herself forward, Joei was especially interested in the ministry; she hadn’t grown up in church and also had had an unplanned pregnancy.
Three other women responded to One Hope’s Facebook post about the new Embrace Grace group, and one of them, Alicia, followed through. Alicia also had attended church with her grandmother, and her parents eventually became Christians. Deanna and Alicia met with Joetta and Joei weekly for study, activities, videos and snacks. One meeting was Princess Day, when the women had their hair, makeup and nails done—a treat as they adjusted to being pregnant. A professional photographer donated her services to capture the fun event.
The church also treated the women to a joint baby shower. One Hope is a small church—about 40 members—so they fulfilled one wish list and sent the other list to local Catholic churches. Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Burlington not only was the collection point for that list but also provided childcare for Deanna’s and Alicia’s other children during Embrace Grace meetings.
At the final meeting, women from local churches and a professor from Northern Kentucky University shared their own testimonies of choosing life for their babies.
“The women think they’ll never make something of themselves,” Joetta said. “The testimonies are a big encouragement.”
As their own Embrace Grace experience ended, both Deanna and Alicia asked to come back on closing night of the next class to give their own testimonies. That class began at the end of January.
Learn more about Embrace Grace at embracegrace.org. If you begin an Embrace Grace ministry or have a similar outreach to young women who’ve chosen life, please let Care Net know so we can refer our clients to you.