2006 brings new beginning for Open Arms
Posted By Sparta Live | January 17, 2006 12:00 am
Barbara Lancaster has been named the new director of Open Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center and replaces Kathryn Jones who had been at the helm five years.
Lancaster, registered nurse and licensed massage therapist, left a lucrative position at River Park Hospital to accept the position. Lancaster views her work at the pregnancy center as a ministry and not as a job.
Her desire is to continue the good work Jones began and continue the momentum by moving the center to the next level and providing many needed services to the community.
“My main goal is to focus on abstinence at the middle and high school,” said Lancaster.
“If we can reach the kids with this message, it would take care of a lot of problems people in White County face.”
Scott Foshie, minister of music and youth at Bear Cove Baptist Church, and Teresa Phillips, school nurse, help with the abstinence program. Their goal is to give kids accurate knowledge and information so they can make better choices.
Lancaster said she would love to completely solve the problem of unwed pregnancies, ultimately forcing Open Arms “out of business,” although it is a not-for-profit organization.
Lancaster is focusing a lot of her efforts on a program called “Hope.”
“We want the girls to understand the concept of being rewarded for work they accomplish,” said Lancaster.
Pregnant women and new mothers and fathers can come and receive the help they need. By attending parenting classes, reading books, or watching self-help video series they can earn “Baby Bucks,” which are used to “buy” baby supplies from the center’s “mini Wal-Mart.”
Available baby supplies include clothing, diapers, formula, car seats, strollers, and various other items new parents need.
Baby Bucks can also be obtained by making personal progress, such as A’s and B’s on report cards, attending church or a bible study, or giving up bad habits such as smoking.
“They are rewarded for positive moves,” said Lancaster. “It is not a hand-out or welfare, and they can be proud of their achievements.”
Focusing of spiritual matters is one of the center’s main objectives.
“We want these young people to understand the love of God and Jesus Christ,” said Lancaster. “Open Arms in not a business. It is a ministry.”
In February, the center will begin a post-abortion support/study group.
Lancaster feels there are many women and men in the community dealing with grief and guilt from abortions. This program will offer help and support for those individuals. She feels it is time for the healing and forgiveness process to begin in their lives.
Before giving her life to the Lord, Lancaster worked as a nurse in an abortion clinic. Many times she had to be escorted to work by police officers because of pro-life protesters.
“The protesters had the right message, but they were not helping,” said Lancaster. “They never provided love, support or answers for those young, scared girls.
The girls were looking for an answer, and the abortion clinic gave them one.”
Lancaster is now a pro-life supporter, but that is not enough for her. She has a burning desire to go a step further, not only offering the right message but also providing solid answers by creating avenues to help young women in need.
Lancaster is married with two children.
Her husband is Chuck, and he is a nurse at Life Care Center.
Devin is 16, and Teague is 12. They moved to Sparta from Gainesville, Fla., a few years ago. They attend Bear Cove Baptist Church.
“The center is in great need of volunteers,” said Barbara. “Those desiring to make a change in young lives, desiring to offer guidance, love and support should call.”
Along with volunteers, the center also needs monetary donations to keep the center and its programs running. They also need donations of good, clean baby items.
All programs offered at the center are confidential.
Open Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center can be contacted at 836-2746.