More than 800 guests from North Carolina Baptist churches in the western area of the state converged at Broyhill Home in Clyde on September 8 for the 57th Annual Western Area Conference. The group was treated to cottage tours, presentations by Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) residents and staff members, and a barbecue meal. Over the years, the event has served to introduce Baptists and other friends of children to the ministry.
BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell preached a rousing sermon. He reminded those in attendance of the responsibility to provide care for children – to offer care to the broken and hurting.
“I’m concerned,” he voiced in a low tremble. “I’m concerned about the empty chair at the table – a child’s chair empty because of neglect and abuse. I’m concerned about the empty chair when a child needs food, clothes, love, and protection.”
Blackwell’s comments brought “amens” and other shouts of affirmation. Responding, he proclaimed, “I want no empty chairs, you want no empty chairs. No child should go hungry, be beaten and abused – be afraid of the darkness. Every child deserves a home.”
Broyhill Home director Linda Morgan reminded the group that “we keep God at the center.”
“He’s the one that makes a difference in each child,” she said. “He is the hope for every child – today and for eternity.” The 2016 Friend of Children Award was presented to the members of FISH (Forgiven I Serve Him) for the support of BCH’s western area ministries.
“We hope that the children enjoy all we do to have fun with them,” FISH leader Bill Beal said, “but, honestly, I believe we leave being blessed the most.”