The 59th Annual Western Area Conference (WAC) was held Thursday, September 6 at Broyhill Home in Clyde. Hundreds of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) supporters representing Baptist churches from throughout western North Carolina attended the event which included cottage tours, Gospel singing and a barbecue meal. Children and former children in care participated in song and by sharing testimonies.
Also, this year’s annual celebration highlighted BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell’s 35th anniversary as the ministry’s longest tenured leader. Blackwell assumed the mantle on July 1, 1983.
“As I share with you today,” BCH’s statewide director for child/residential services Linda Morgan told the crowd attending the event, “I am sharing through the eyes of a staff member who has been fortunate to serve with Dr. Blackwell throughout his 35 years. Today, we come to celebrate both he and his wife Catherine’s successes in this ministry.”
Morgan said Mrs. Blackwell has been her husband’s greatest encourager. Morgan said that Catherine has “truly been the wind beneath his wings.”
“Congratulations, boss and Mrs. Blackwell, on a job well done,” Morgan said. “Because of this couple’s servantship to children and families in need, today we name a cottage here on campus the Michael C. and Catherine Kanipe Blackwell Cottage.”
Hunt Broyhill presented The Broyhill Founders Award for Distinguished Service to Dr. Blackwell on behalf of The Broyhill Family Foundation and his father Paul H. Broyhill, who is the Foundation’s chair.
Broyhill said the award was presented to Blackwell for “his long-standing devotion and commitment” to BCH and “for his extraordinary Christian leadership” exhibited since becoming president/CEO.
The plaque Broyhill presented reads: “The Broyhill Founders Award is rarely given and is earned through decades of loyal support and dedicated service to the ideals that brought Baptist Children’s Homes into existence in 1885.”
This year’s WAC Friends of Children award was presented to Bethany Baptist Church in Wendell. Morgan said in presenting the award: “Bethany Baptist Church, year after year, you have shared your love with us. You are God’s hands and feet to those we serve. You have shown our children that there is hope.”
Blackwell delivered the WAC annual message. He shared five truths Zaccheaus would want us all to know.
The conference is held each year on the first Thursday of September and serves to introduce Baptists and other friends of children to the ministry.
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