Southeast Launches the Chapel in the Woods Campus!
This October, Southeast launched its eighth campus, the Chapel in the Woods Campus with the goal of reaching even more people. The Chapel in the Woods Campus offers a full Southeast service with a traditional worship experience.
By offering the Chapel in the Woods Campus, Southeast is able to provide a valuable tool for the spread of the Gospel to see many traditionally-minded folks deepen their relationship with God and extend invitations to their family and friends who do not know the Lord. Their goal as a campus is to see 100 people baptized in their first year.
God will use the Chapel in the Woods Campus to accomplish this huge goal by bringing them one person at a time. Sherry Stumph understands this process.
The first time Sherry was invited to attend a group for widows, she couldn’t have resisted more emphatically. Now, she’s leading the mission to have a group for every widow.
EVERY WIDOW KNOWN
Sherry and her husband Jeff became Christians in 1996 and began attending the Southeast Christian Church campus on Hike’s Lane. They left behind a life of addiction and struggle to pursue Christ’s eventual call to full-time ministry.
In April of 2013, Jeff was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Stage 4 lung cancer. In the nine months between his diagnosis and his death, he talked extensively with Sherry about what she would do after he died. He felt certain that though he wouldn’t be with her anymore, Sherry should continue serving God in ministry.
Jeff met the Lord in person on December 31, 2013. That’s the day Sherry became a widow.
For the first year after Jeff died, Sherry was able to stay home, grieve, and pray. A community came around her like she’d never experienced before. The body of Christ cared for her in beautiful ways—from meeting physical needs like lawn care and meals to addressing deeply spiritual needs through prayer and presence.
After her first year without Jeff, she began to blog about what life looked for her in that season. That led to the establishment of a nonprofit ministry, In His Grip Ministries. Through that ministry, Sherry was able to provide Life in Crisis coaching for people who desperately needed help.
Sherry’s life settled into a new season. But her friend, who had lost her own husband around the same time, began inviting Sherry to join a dinner group for widows hosted by some faithful women from Southeast. She resisted. “I didn’t want to sit around in a circle with a bunch of weepy women. My life was supposed to be about joy,” Sherry remembered. Her friend insisted, and Sherry finally agreed to go.
The first time she joined the dinner for widows, Sherry was amazed. Despite her worst fears, no one sat around in a circle and cried. They laughed. They encouraged one another. They talked openly about real life. It was true community and sisterhood.
Then Sherry began to wonder about all the widows at Southeast who didn’t have that kind of connection. She thought about the women who were desperately lonely and disconnected, the women who had lost their closest person without a community to rally around them to give them hope, assistance, and a new purpose. She was haunted by the idea that we’re missing people who are hurting.
CHAPEL IN THE WOODS
Sherry began talking with Murphy Belding, the Campus Pastor for the new Chapel in the Woods Campus. One of Murphy’s duties involves helping oversee Southeast’s designated fund for widows and orphans. It’s a fund that has existed for years, and has greatly served some of the area’s most hurting and vulnerable people.
Murphy told Sherry that at just the Blankenbaker Campus, there are more than 500 widows.
Murphy and his team partnered with Sherry and together they began creating a plan to serve widows across the community. Sherry made a list of all the needs a widow might have. Some of them had relied on their husbands to drive them around, and now they’re trapped at home. Some might need help with handyman tasks, like yard work, leaking faucets, or car maintenance. Some widows simply need community, encouragement, and a renewed sense of purpose.
The list is extensive, and is certainly a project that will only succeed with the power of God. In faith, they’re starting with providing connection. Sherry is overseeing the launch of a widows’ dinner group. They believe that many of the other needs will be addressed when the women are involved in a community.
Sherry couldn’t have been more cared for when she needed it the most. Now she’s ready to wreck the roof for the widows who still need to know that kind of love.