Within the more than 300,000 Christian congregations in the United States, very few ministries exist for the marginalized, especially for widows. Considering that over 900,000 adults in the United States are widowed each year, the lack of care and support available within Christian congregations for widows is alarming. The neglect of care and support available for widows within Christian congregations in the United States today is specifically important to address as care for the marginalized—the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner—is a frequent topic in the Bible and, therefore, a subject especially near to the heart of God. This research paper will explore several key questions: (1) Why is it important that churches care for widows today? (2) What are the reasons for the lack of care for widows by the American church, and society in general, in an age when social justice is especially important? (3) How can the American church better care for widows today? In exploring these questions, this research paper will first survey the social and cultural experience of widows in the ancient Greek, Roman, and Hebrew worlds. This paper will also survey the social and historical contexts of key Old and New Testament passages that reveal the importance of caring for widows and the responsibility of the church to care for them. In addition, this paper will briefly survey the plight of widows today on a national and global scale, exploring the psychological, sociocultural, and economic factors that affect widows and the plight of widows in the American church. Finally, this essay will present solutions that can be implemented into American churches to ensure proper care for widows with the goal of eliminating the neglect of widows within our congregations and developing a repaired relational approach to ministry for widows. The neglect of widows in American congregations today can be eliminated if we are willing to allow the Lord to develop in us His heart for widows and implement social, practical, and spiritual resources and ministries for widows in our congregations.
Reeves, Holli R., "Pure and Undefiled Religion: Ministry to Widows in the American Church Today" (2023). Theology Undergraduate Work. 8.