June 23 is International Widows Day, which addresses the needs of millions of widows around the world. The Loomba Foundation’s awareness campaign highlights the plight of approximately 245 million widows, 115 million of whom live in poverty. In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly ratified June 23 as the day to give special attention to widows and their dependents.
In the United States, where can a widowed person go for help? Google “widow” or “widower” and the choices that pop up are mostly dating websites. Even though many grief resources and a few blogs by widowed persons are available online, not everyone uses the Web.
CHERA magazine was launched in 1991 by IFCA International. Carol Gregory, whose husband was then the National Executive Director, had a heart for widows, especially after visiting Russia and observing how deprived and seemingly forgotten widows were in that country.
Chera is the Greek word for “bereft” which is translated as “widow” in the New Testament. The magazine was later renamed CHERA Fellowship and started including articles of interest to widowers, as well as widows.
One reader wrote, “Thank you so much for your special magazine. I’ve enjoyed it and I know my friends will enjoy it too. It is so encourageing to read, and the Bible study in each issue helps me a lot.”
Another said, “I wanted to tell you that the CF publication has been very helpful. However, not just to me. For example, a widow I [gave a subscription to] started a grieving widow/ers support group in her community and uses the magazine for discussion ideas. I was thanked many times by this woman for introducing her to the IFCA organization.
“The articles in CF are so varied and cover so many different issues concerning loss, that I am able to share something specific with people who [are grieving]. So, I just wanted to let you know how one drop in the water can send out ever wider rings, to touch countless others! Once again thank you for sending CF my way. God has used it and us to minister to many.”
For nearly 23 years, the quarterly magazine has addressed the grief issues associated with being widowed. As a Christian periodical it offers hope, insight, and comfort from the Source of hope and comfort—the God of the Bible.
Although financed by subscriptions and donations, the magazine is offered free of charge to every widow and widower who requests it by calling 616-531-1840.