February 12, 2009
Octuplets' Mom Says CA Megachurch Will Help Her
Update: Calvary Chapel-Golden Springs responds, 'no we will not.'
Calvary Chapel?Golden Springs, a nondenominational megachurch in Diamond Bar, California, will be providing assistance in the form of childcare to Nadya Suleman, the single mother whose birth to octuplets by in-vitro fertilization January 26 has received much media attention (and criticism) the last two weeks.
Pastor Rex Wolins told the Whittier Daily News that Calvary's women's ministry is gathering volunteers to help Suleman once her octuplets, born nine weeks premature but in good health, come home from the hospital. Suleman has six other children ages 2?7 who were also conceived by in-vitro fertilization.
Suleman and her publicist told Whittier Daily News that she attended Calvary in the past. "[Suleman] thought it was a wonderful church," said publicist Mike Furtney. "She was more than delighted to take her kids up there. I think they went there frequently."
Pastor Wolins says he does not remember Suleman and does not know other members who do. "We just know this person is extremely hurting . . . and this church wants to take care of needs, whether she did or she didn't attend this church," said Wolins.
According to yesterday's Los Angeles Times, Suleman has no job or income, and owes $50,000 in student loans. Beyond Calvary's support, Suleman may also qualify to receive large amounts of public assistance in the form of food stamps, healthcare reimbursements from Medi-Cal, and federal security income for her three children who are disabled (not including the octuplets).
* * *
Update: Calvary Chapel released a statement on Friday, February 13, saying that, in contrast to the claims of Ms. Suleman and Whittier Daily News 's story, the church will not be providing her assistance in the form of establishing a foundation, providing monies, or helping her find a house. Associate pastor Beau De Graffenreid made the following statement in a recorded press conference: "[W]e are unable to confirm or deny whether she actively attends Calvary Chapel, Golden Springs. We can say, however, that no one currently on staff knows her, and to the best of our knowledge, Ms. Suleman's only contact with us was a minor inquiry regarding our children's ministry."
However, Pastor De Graffenreid goes on to say that his church is "relieved that the birth of these infants was successful. Because of the physical and emotional strain that these eight newborn babies will place upon her and her other six children, they will be in need of spiritual guidance, childcare assistance 24 hours a day from her local community for many years to come . . . We would ask that Christians everywhere pray for her and these babies."