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WMU hosts first training event for Christian Women’s Job Corps

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–One hundred-seventy-five men and women from 30 states attended Woman’s Missionary Union’s first Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) National Certification Training event, held Aug. 7-9 at WMU’s national headquarters in Birmingham.
CWJC is a holistic training program for women in need launched by WMU in 1996. The objective of the ministry is to provide a Christian context in which women in need are equipped for life and employment; and a missions context in which women help women.
Trudy Johnson, WMU special projects manager, said those who completed the Aug. 7-9 training event are now certified to begin CWJC sites in their communities.
“This significant event exceeded all our expectations,” Johnson said. “Christian Women’s Job Corps is well on its way to becoming a reality nationwide. The future of women in need is brighter because of those who participated in this training event.”
Johnson said the training included required workshops on project development, mentor training, project coordinators, volunteer recruitment, covenant development, needs assessment, resource development, legal issues and evaluation. Participants also attended two selective workshops, choosing from grant writing, family literacy, cross-cultural understanding, principles of supervision, life/job skills development, and communications and public relations.
Along with workshops, the event also included three general sessions, where keynote speakers addressed such topics as a biblical basis for CWJC and empowerment. A commissioning service highlighted the closing session.
Anne Davis, retired social work professor and dean of Carver School of Social Work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., told the group that the road would be tough without a clear calling from God.
“You are starting a difficult journey,” Davis warned. “Not everyone will succeed. Not everyone will be unchurched — Yes, you’ll discover that people in church have problems too!
“You may even ask, ‘Why should I continue on?'” she added. “That is when your calling will provide the answer. Because you know that God has called you to this ministry you will be able to continue on, no matter what.”
In describing the biblical bases for CWJC, Davis noted that caring for the poor has many biblical models, including Ruth and Naomi in the Old Testament and the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament.
Emphasizing Christ’s model, Davis said, “God called the church to be Christ in the world until He comes again.”
Laquita Bell, chair of the Birmingham Baptist Association CWJC Advisory Council, said one of the greatest needs women in poverty have is for someone to affirm their dignity.
Citing the story of the Samaritan woman, Bell said that Jesus affirmed the dignity of the woman at the well by making her needs his own.
“We have got to make peoples’ needs our own,” she said. “We have to empower them by applying skills and resources to their problems.
“Affirm peoples’ dignities,” she pleaded. “Give them back what God created them to have. Give them the love of Jesus that He gives you for them.”
Dellanna O’Brien, WMU executive director, led the commissioning service during the closing session. Like Davis, she also emphasized that a call must undergird this new ministry.
Defining commissioning as “setting out on a new pilgrimage,” O’Brien said, “We’re sending you out to do a tough job. What makes you think you can do it?”
Referencing 2 Corinthians 3, she responded, “Our confidence comes from God. So, while we try to prepare ourselves as much as we can, there will be those times in which we will have to say, ‘God I’ve given you my best, now make it enough.'”
For additional information on CWJC, contact Johnson at Woman’s Missionary Union, P.O. Box 830010, Birmingham, AL 35283; phone 205-991-4972; or e-mail [email protected].
*Name changed for security concerns.

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