More Than Conquerors
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“Pastors’ wives who do not hold credentials lose a great deal when their spouse passes away,” says McKinley, whose husband, Robin, has been pastor of Calvary Christian Center in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, for 29 years. “They not only lose their husband, their pastor, and their best friend, they also lose their support system. And if they live in a parsonage, they have even lost their home.”
McKinley, 62, seeks to remedy that reality, offering life-giving friendship and support to men and women who risk being “forgotten” when their credential-holding spouse dies.
Upon the death of a minister or his or her spouse, the ministry network contacts McKinley, who starts by sending a sympathy card, followed by a phone call a couple of weeks later to introduce herself and the ministry. She stays connected in various ways, such as quarterly newsletters, phone calls, Facebook, birthday and Christmas cards, and personal visits, when possible.
“When making phone calls, I never want them to think I am just fitting them in,” says McKinley, who has been an ordained AG minister herself since 2011. “I have laughed and cried with many. Some calls have taken up to two hours. I do more listening than talking.”
Those who respond to her caring texts and calls often find a treasure. Carol A. Kenzy, 78, widowed in 2019, considers McKinley a dear friend.
“This ministry has been timely and so encouraging for those of us who may struggle with the title of widow,” Kenzy says. “My heart is focused on Jesus, but having a partner in faith at such a time as this is surely a gift from God.”
McKinley says the ministry also blesses her, with many widows praying for her needs and touching her heart.
MTC is in partnership with U.S. missionary Marlene Craft’s Widows Link, a nationwide ministry that connects and provides resources for widows and widowers.
Manuel A. Cordero, senior director of Chaplaincy Ministries notes that ministry to widows is a new, but necessary, area for U.S. Missions. He says the Lord has put together a team that includes McKinley and Craft.
“Taking care of widows is after the heart of the Lord,” Cordero says. “James 1:27 tells us that religion that is pure and undefiled is to take care of the orphans and the widows. The risk is that those who have served the Church well may be forgotten and forsaken. Cindy ensures that that does not happen.”