Senior pastor Ivy Butler mentors with power

Posted in :

gorengan

Editor’s note: For five weeks, we are profiling two women each week who are making a difference in the South Bend region. Whether they are already in the spotlight or escaping much public attention for their efforts, these women are putting in the work to make their neighbors’ lives better. Check them out every Wednesday and Friday through Aug. 4.

MISHAWAKA — When her husband, Bishop Rico Butler, died unexpectedly at age 44, Ivy Butler continued to lead the flock that he’d gathered almost 16 years earlier, with some members having left the grips of addiction.

Ten years later, Ivy Butler still serves as senior pastor of the church and its more than 250 members from “all walks of life.” She also heads the school that the couple started here at Power in Praise Crusade Ministries, at Mishawaka Avenue and Logan Street.

Loss and starting anew. She taps into power from these “various challenges in my life,” she says, but also from Rico’s legacy of education and hope.

Ivy Butler pauses for a moment in early July in the church sanctuary at Power in Praise Crusade Ministries in Mishawaka, where she is senior pastor.

Ivy Butler pauses for a moment in early July in the church sanctuary at Power in Praise Crusade Ministries in Mishawaka, where she is senior pastor.

So do their four children, now in their 20s and 30s: sons Rico E. Butler II and Rico A. Butler Jr. and daughters Tequisha Baker-Butler and Natasha McCallister-Butler. They and their mom lead mentoring programs that, she says, offer “a platform, a voice.”

This spring, the YWCA North Central Indiana honored Butler with its Sojourner Truth Award. And in 2022, IU South Bend’s School of Education gave her its Outstanding Alumni Award.

Aug. 11, 2014: Ministry continues after sudden loss of charismatic leader

The Butlers’ school, New Vision Christian Academy, focuses on an individualized, one-on-one approach and biblical preparation. Its 50 students are grouped into four “learning centers” — grades K-3, grades 4-6, grades 6-8 and high school.

Recently, she’s been taking off semesters from teaching classes as an associate professor in IUSB’s School of Education so that she can focus on her doctorate in educational leadership from Capella University in Minnesota, which she hopes to finish next year.

Butler took some time to share insights and answer questions from The Tribune.

Ivy Butler's awards sit on a shelf in her office recently at Power in Praise Crusade Ministries in Mishawaka.

Ivy Butler’s awards sit on a shelf in her office recently at Power in Praise Crusade Ministries in Mishawaka.

Tell us about the mentoring group you started in 2018, called L3.

“It stands for Lead, Learn and Live. This is a monthly empowerment group for all walks of life. They learn various social skills, whatever they need to make them better in all aspects of life. … I host it. I share with women based on my experiences. Then I bring in speakers to share with the women based on their experiences. It’s a safe space to disclose information to the extent they’re comfortable with it. It’s a healing process. Everyone’s been through things, and we wanted to give them hope.”

What sorts of things have they been through?

“Relationships, family, childhoods. Sometimes individuals have to deal with issues in childhood that, if they’re not addressed, it sometimes follows them into adulthood. They find out the whole reason for their behavior. … (The program aims) to inspire these women and give them hope. We encourage them that life is not over. Turn the page. Life is not one page. Start a new chapter. It’s all about the power of choice.”

The sanctuary of Power in Praise Crusade Ministries in Mishawaka is seen July 3, 2023.

The sanctuary of Power in Praise Crusade Ministries in Mishawaka is seen July 3, 2023.

Your four children lead a mentoring program for young people from about ages 12 to 21, called SCARS (Survived Countless Attacks to Reach Success). Tell us about that.

“It’s based on their father and the things they’ve gone through as well. We (she and her late husband) were advocates for education. Our main motto is giving people hope. … A lot of times students were good at school but may not be good at college. We want to be that bridge. … You need a skill or trade to become a productive citizen in society.”

Words of affirmation cover a wall in early July in the New Vision Christian Academy offices, which Ivy Butler also heads.

Words of affirmation cover a wall in early July in the New Vision Christian Academy offices, which Ivy Butler also heads.

In 2018, you were a founding member of the South Bend chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. It advocates on behalf of Black girls and women to promote leadership and gender equality in health, education and economic empowerment. What’s your role?

“We’re strong in the South Bend Community School Corp. … I’m the health initiative chairman. One of the things I did was Fitness in the Park at Mishawaka’s Battell Park. It started during the pandemic. We had designated days where we’d do exercises. We had speakers on mental health awareness, heart, stroke and healthy eating. Women of all ages. We had women bringing their children, as well as fathers bringing their kids. We’re trying to be creative in the pandemic. We still have that program … in June, July and August and then the fall.”

What’s ahead?

“We have a new thing on Aug. 5, Michiana Gospel Fest at Howard Park. … We want to showcase local gospel talent, then bring in artists from the area. We’ll have musical acts, vendors, a bounce house, singing, Fitness in the Park. It’s open to the public. … It’s a collaboration of Power in Praise Crusade Ministries and the Bishop Rico Butler Foundation Inc.”

Butler said she’s also preparing to bring back an online program that she ran during the pandemic under the umbrella of her church, Real Talk Tuesday, where individuals will share information on various topics, such as mental health, home ownership and heart-healthy living.

She says, “Now we’re focused on the social and emotional health of people since the pandemic.”

South Bend Tribune reporter Joseph Dits can be reached at 574-235-6158 or [email protected].

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Rev. Ivy Butler mentors with Rico values ​​and YWCA IUSB awards