Hamilton church and nonprofit providing teen abstinence training, diapers and clothing for families

Vanessa McQueen, administrative director for the The non-profit Chrysalis Community Development Agency celebrated its new location Monday, on Main Street just across the High Street Bridge, with a ribbon cutting.
The charitable organization supports needy children and their families through distributing diapers, infant clothing as well as food baskets at area schools. (Photo By Nick Graham\Journal-News)

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Vanessa McQueen, administrative director for the The non-profit Chrysalis Community Development Agency celebrated its new location Monday, on Main Street just across the High Street Bridge, with a ribbon cutting. The charitable organization supports needy children and their families through distributing diapers, infant clothing as well as food baskets at area schools. (Photo By Nick Graham\Journal-News)

Co-pastor says program is about helping others realize they have value and purpose.

Part of the Rev. Vanessa McQueen’s mission in life is to teach others, especially teens, that they have purpose and worth. That message alone can help prevent teen pregnancies, she says, because people with goals are less likely to do risky things that can create detours in life.

Her church, The Sanctuary Covenant Christian Fellowship, at 117 Park Ave., is offering abstinence training, and that’s one of the messages of the program. McQueen said she was about 40 before she herself understood she had value and purpose.

“There’s a reason why you’re here,” she said. “I don’t care what the circumstances of your birth are. I tell them the first Saturday (of the program), I want them to remember my voice years from now, and remember that Vanessa said they had purpose and worth, and they’re not a mistake.”

“My father, he raped my mother,” McQueen said. That created low self-esteem for her: “I always thought I was a mistake. I always thought, ‘OK, my mother’s life is bad because of what happened to her.’ I never really thought — for years, even into an adult — that I was supposed to be here, that I had purpose or destiny. It wasn’t until I was almost 40 that I really began to understand that I was not a mistake, even though she was raped. I was not a mistake, I was supposed to be there. It changed everything for me.”

Among other people the teens will hear from in the abstinence program are a man who became a father at 19, discussing the obstacles he faced, and an athletic-shoe designer for Nike. The teens also learn about self-esteem, steps toward college, resisting peer pressure and other life skills.

McQueen, 60, late last year finalized creation of the Chrysalis Community Development Agency at 110 Main St., a block from the church. Creation of Chrysalis, a separate nonprofit, allowed the efforts to qualify for more grants.

The nonprofit provides diapers and gently used clothing for newborns to 4-year-olds to needy families. It is accepting donations of diapers for the diaper bank and financial help to aid those programs. Chrysalis can be reached at 513-737-7223.

She also offered programs last summer for teens who were confused and lonely because of the pandemic.

“We’re getting ready to a program where you teach individuals how to cook healthy meals. We also have some financial literacy coming up,” she said.

McQueen’s husband, the Rev. Frederick McQueen, is senior pastor of the church, and she is co-pastor.

This media outlet in 2019 wrote about and published photographs of the church’s efforts to restore the beautiful church sanctuary that was built in 1919 that had been occupied by Bethel Community Church. Unable to use that part of its property for services, Sanctuary Covenant instead has been using an adjoining building constructed in 1974 for its services.

ExploreFrom 2019: Must-see photos: A 100-year-old area church is seeking help restoring its historic sanctuary

McQueen said she is about to seek a grant that can make progress toward renovation of the 102-year-old sanctuary.

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