Covington CWJC help to equip women with life, job skills

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Covington Christian Women’s Job Corps is a ministry of national Woman’s Missionary Union with the purpose to provide a Christian context for women in need.

The Covington CWJC is led by Judy Phillips, front left, and Shirley Smith, front right. Pictured with Phillips and Smith are the organization’s local mentors.

Covington CWJC falls under the ministry of Covington Baptist Association led by Dr. Otis Corbitt at the Christian Service Center and is included in the CSC’s annual budget.

“The CWJC equips women for life and employment in a missional context in which women help women. It is a hand up not a handout. The CWJC’s purpose is fulfilled when a woman has basic life skills necessary for sufficiency within her culture, which includes substantial employment, adequate income, housing, transportation, childcare, and medical care,” Co-Director Judy Phillips said.

The national WMU was organized on May 14, 1888, before CWJC began in March 1996. The official birthday for CWJC is March 1, 1997, with the organization celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The men’s section was added in 2020.

There are 15 Alabama sites and almost 200 sites nationwide. Andalusia is the only location in Alabama south of Montgomery. Corbitt serves as the Director of Missions for Covington Baptist Association, and Leroy Cole is the Director of Community Ministry.

Many programs seek to empower men and women and equip them with job skills. However, CWJC is a unique ministry with two distinctive elements.

“We believe in the power of the Bible and God’s Word to change our lives. Every participant is involved in regular Bible study just as God seeks a relationship with us, so we seek relationship with others. Having someone to walk through the journey with us empowers us and provides safety, and we grow and develop.”

Foundations of CWJC include prayer, statement of faith, strength-based perspective, and site structure.

“Prayer is essential. No one can plan, develop, operate, and evaluate a CWJC without intentional intensive prayer. The prayer strategy has two dimensions: the team that prays for the coordinator and the team that prays for the site. We believe in the Trinity-God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible is the Word of God. We recognize strengths in a person and use these to help address their challenges. This is exemplified in a CWJC graduate’s quote: ‘generational poverty ends with me.’ We are a ministry branch of the Christian Service Center.”

The eight key elements adopted by the National Task Force are contribution, advisory council, needs assessment, networking, Bible study, mentoring, covenants, and evaluation.

“The director and site coordinator must be trained. Shirley Smith and Judy Phillips have completed this training. Our needs assessment is currently in process and will help to define the classes that will be offered initially. We have someone who has agreed to teach the Book of John. Once identified, the mentors will receive training, and we have covenants with participants and mentors. An evaluation consisting of strengths, weakness, and opportunities threats will assist in developing classes and expanding into other areas.”

Weekly meetings are held every Friday morning at the Christian Service Center. “We do Bible study, parenting classes, and life skills classes including preparing resumes, interviews, sewing, cooking, budgeting, and more. All these classes will be limited to 10 participants at a time. While all these classes will be learning experiences, we want them to be creatively done and include fun activities,” Co-Director Shirley Smith said.

The organization seeks help in the following areas: prayer, need for 1-on-1 mentors, instructors, trainers, teachers, weekly lunch sponsors, help with graduation and other activities, the purchase of journals and books, referrals, and assistance with designing a website and working with social media.

Janet Brantley and Smith are currently facilitating a parenting class entitled “Raising Kingdom Kids” by Dr. Tony Evans. The second session, which consists of life skills, will begin on June 10. A mini-session scheduled to begin on August 5 will discuss the Andalusia Adult Activity Center, cooking classes, basic sewing, and additional skills.

The Covington Christian Women’s Job Corps meets every Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the food room at the Christian Service Center located at 401 East Three Notch Street in Andalusia. This year’s graduation is scheduled for Saturday, August 27.

For more information contact Judy Phillips at jujaphillips@gmail.com or 850-228-5020 or Shirley Smith through shirley23214@gmail.com and 334-488-4715.