Single Parents Association for Christian Education (S.P.A.C.E.) Conference Promotes Hope and Support for God’s Restoration

By Lida H. Moore

In June, more than 100 single parents and their children gathered together in Rochester for the first annual Single Parents Association for Christian Education (S.P.A.C.E.) Conference. The theme was “Single Parents Restored for God’s Purpose”.

“I want single parents to recognize that even though their soul is wounded because of the loss of a relationship and the struggles of parenting alone, they can move forward with the Lord’s help because He is a God of completion. He is faithful to finish what He has started,” said Sandy Robs, Founder and Ministry Leader of S.P.A.C.E, as she opened up the ministry’s first conference. “God has a plan and a purpose for everyone, and we can become the person He wants us to be by trusting in Him.”

Because Robs was a single parent for 10 years, she understands the challenges and heartaches that single parents and their children experience. She believes that the best way to get through these struggles is to rely completely on God by studying God’s Word, through prayer, and fellowship with other believers.

Two years ago, Robs felt called by God to start a monthly Bible study to encourage and support all single parents in the Rochester area and surrounding communities. Because of her passion and trust in the Lord, she founded S.P.A.C.E. and began organizing monthly meetings and activities for single parents and their children.

From this experience, Robs decided that she wanted to reach more single parents with the message of God’s unfailing love and restorative power in every situation. Therefore, she sought out other members of the Body of Christ in the community to come together with a message of hope and purpose to present at the Single Parents & Children’s Conference. She also founded a team of Children’s Leaders to provide enriching and fun activities during the conference for the single parents’ children.

The first speaker at the Single Parents and & Children’s Conference, Tony Martorana, Pastor of Joy Community Church, has had extensive experience ministering to single parents and understands the stigma they sometimes feel, even in the Church. He wrote a book titled Your Home is Not Broken.

“In the Church, if you don’t have the 2.5 kids and live in the suburbs, you can sometimes feel alone and like a second-class citizen, with lots of shame and guilt,” Martorana said. “But if you are in God’s Kingdom, He wants to bring you comfort and healing. Your home is not broken because it is headed by the Lordship of Christ and you can be whole.”

Martorana said that the fear and hopelessness many single parents feel is an attack on the family from the Enemy. “Single parents must get support from the Church and the Body of Christ because we need one another,” he said. “It is a choice to hold fast to the Lord in your place of difficulties and to teach your children, the next generation, how to be strong through the many struggles of life. The greatest thing you can give to children is how to stand with integrity as they go through pain and suffering.”

Kathy Elliott, another speaker at the conference who is a practicing Christian Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), also spoke about restoration for the single parent and the importance of forgiveness and praying for the healing of relationships.

“God can redeem anything that we’ve lost, but it is our part to surrender it to Him and to choose to grow in judgment and wisdom through the circumstances,” Elliott said. “If we stay stuck in the situation, we are bound to repeat negative patterns instead of being restored to the beautiful capable people God created us to be as individuals.”

“We must ask God to guide us to restoration which brings healing and freedom and is ultimately restoration with our Creator,” Elliott said. “The experiences God puts in our lives, even the most difficult ones, can lead us to a deeper and more intimate relationship with God that we could never have had without the struggles. By journaling, and through prayer, we can process our feelings and God helps us to gain perspective on our situation.”

Barbara Thomas, Executive Director of Rochester Family Mission and Pastor of Victorious Living Christian Life Center, encouraged the attendees to recognize that each of us has a “divinely selected” assignment from God, and He is with us each step of the way as we fulfill His will and purpose for our lives.

“Remember that God will never leave you nor forsake you no matter what struggles you must endure. He will help you through to be victorious as men and women and as single parents,” Thomas said. “He has created you for this exact purpose and will show you the way. When you accept that God is in your corner, then peace and joy will come and you will trust Him to help you through any situation.”

Single parents from the community also shared at the conference about God’s faithfulness to them in their situations. John Rider, who lost his wife and the mother of his three children to cancer in 2011, reminded the audience that God’s love for us does not change despite our circumstances.

“The Bible doesn’t promise an easy life because we live in a broken world, but we can trust in Jesus to overcome our difficulties,” Rider said. “God uses so many verses from His Word to heal my heart and the hearts of my children. I’m constantly reminded from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to be constantly aware of God’s blessings and to develop a spirit of thankfulness.”

Rider said that going through the devastating and difficult loss of his wife made him realize that he had made his wife the center of his universe and had neglected his relationship with God. “My wife, Laura, was very strong in her faith, studying God’s Word daily, in group Bible studies, and even wanting to pray together as soon as she found out about her diagnosis. So she faithfully ran the race she was given. As for me, it was through losing the love of my life that God has restored and strengthened my relationship with Him and constantly provides comfort and healing to my heart.”

The next S.P.A.C.E. ministry activity will be a picnic for single parents and their children on August 16. For more information about the picnic, supporting or attending ministry monthly meetings or special activities go to or call 585-899-9808.

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