Among the great Latin phrases from church history is Martin Luther’s famous description of the Christian as simul iustus et peccator—at once justified saint and sinner. Cindy Cronk, CT’s director of production services and our longest-serving employee by far (42 years!), appreciates good Protestant theology. She gets what Luther is saying. But she’s had enough of people thinking of her as saint and sinner. She prefers Mom.

Thirty-three years ago, Cronk was the second single person the Evangelical Child and Family Agency worked with in its foster-to-adopt program. Eventually, she says, ECFA greenlit her because they thought it was unlikely that the state would place a black child with a white, suburban, single woman. But they did. (The third single person to adopt through ECFA was Cronk’s caseworker.)

Church is notoriously difficult for single women. As a single, white woman with black children, it was even harder. “I had a real bad time with people mostly talking to me to figure out if I’d been sleeping with a black man,” Cronk says. “People never got to know me. They just made assumptions about me, my education, my work.”

Eventually she found a church where she and her family could be accepted. “But a church that’s good at accepting doesn’t mean a church that’s great about helping,” she says. Informal father-son gatherings tended to forget about her sons. A woman offered to take the kids to her house to bake cookies but couldn’t understand why Cronk asked if she could run a kid to a doctor’s appointment or to childcare instead. “Don’t take the fun stuff! Give me the ability to do the fun stuff!” she tried ...

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