Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Church Embraces Orphans' Needs Focused Ministry Began in 2010

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Church Embraces Orphans' Needs Focused Ministry Began in 2010

Article excerpt

Focusing on care for children who need it most is the mission of Empty Chair Orphans Ministry at Monroeville Assembly of God.

It falls under the umbrella of Sheep Inc., an outreach serving the Monroeville, Arnold and Lower Burrell areas. Sheep Inc.'s programs are designed to serve people in need and to give church members an opportunity to serve others.

Empty Chair started in 2010 and is led by Angel Bellante of Monroeville and Teresa Huber of Harrison City, both members at Monroeville Assembly of God.

"This ministry is vital to carrying out the mandate in James 1:27," to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world, Ms. Bellante said.

The name for the ministry came from the concept that "Everybody has an empty chair around their table and that chair can be filled by an orphan," Ms. Huber said.

Ms. Bellante said she could not sit by and do nothing once she understood how many orphans there are in the world.

"Having this ministry gives me and others the opportunity to care for orphans, who are also referred to in the Bible as one of the 'least' because they are so completely helpless," Ms. Bellante said.

"Empty Chair Orphan Ministry is focused on orphan care and has three major parts," Ms. Huber said: adoption, foster care and projects to benefit orphans

To care for orphans the goals are: To raise awareness of the needs of orphaned children; provide opportunities to help meet basic physical and spiritual needs of the children through donations and projects; and to partner with, support and visit orphanages.

The program supports orphans in countries such as Africa, Mexico and Haiti.

No one orphanage is singled out. Ms. Huber said the organization turns its focus where it is needed.

Operation Christmas Child is one outreach. Church members fill a shoebox with small gifts and the boxes are sent to orphanages around the world.

Empty Chair also holds collections throughout the year to gather things the children need.

"This past year we had a large collection for Love a Child Orphanage in Liberia," Ms. Bellante said. "We were able to provide them with money as well as supplies for school, toiletries, socks, hair supplies and other items they requested," she said. …

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