Southern Baptist communicators from across the country recently joined hands with Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) to create mission bags to share with foster children, independent college students, and senior adults served by BCH. The communication professionals took the event to heart—not only filling the bags but writing prayers and encouraging messages to tuck inside.
Mission Project Two-Fifteen was part of the 68th Annual Workshop of the Baptist Communications Association (BCA) held April 17-20 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center. BCA Lifetime Member, Art Toalston, remarked, “Learning of North Carolina Baptists’ compassion ministries in foster care, outreach to lone collegians,
and so many ministries to seniors certainly has heightened my compassion in these areas. I needed that and am greatly appreciative.” Toalston has served as editor of Baptist Press and as a writer for the International Mission Board “Mission Project Two Fifteen,” held April 19 at 2:15, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about cutting-edge ministries BCH provides while completing hands-on mission projects.
The session featured three BCH ministries: foster care and adoption services through EVERY CHILD, HOMEBASE outreach at Western Carolina University for college students who have aged out of foster or residential care, and NCBAM (NC Baptist Aging Ministry) which helps adults 65+ maintain their independence.
After learning of these outreaches, attendees created “Welcome Bags” for children entering BCH’s foster care, “Care Kits” for students served through HOMEBASE, and “Red Bags” —a proven life-saving medication management tool developed by NCBAM for older adults. Attendees were most impressed with BCH’s breadth of services and how the ministry that began as an orphanage in 1885 has constantly adapted to meet the needs of the marginalized, and now encompasses ministries for every stage of life—from first heartbeat to last.
Dr. Michael Blackwell, who this year celebrates his 40th anniversary as BCH president/CEO, sent his personal invitation to BCA professionals to experience dynamic ministry in action. BCH is on what President/CEO Michael C. Blackwell calls and “upward spiral of growth.” “God has kept building, people have kept loving, and BCH has kept responding to help those in need,” Blackwell says. “My years of leadership continue to be marked by change and managing the change for the betterment of those we serve.” Blackwell believes the ministries highlighted at this year’s BCA annual meeting help illustrate “innovation during change.”
The EVERY CHILD Initiative is a partnership between BCH and NC Baptist State Convention, providing vulnerable boys and girls Christ-centered homes. EVERY CHILD helps North Carolina Baptist respond to the growing needs of children through adoption and fostering. BCH provides licensing and trauma-informed training for couples in churches who desire to foster or foster-to-adopt, avenues for families to adopt domestically or internationally, and instruction on how churches can support foster and adoptive parents and their children through their congregations.
For more information, contact Mark Smith at 828-450-9136.
HOMEBASE is a partnership between BCH and Western Carolina University, providing needed support to independent college students who have aged out of foster or residential care. They may also have parents but these parents cannot or will not care for their child’s needs. HOMEBASE is a safe place for students. The ministry
provides free food, hygiene products, access to printers and a washer and dryer, social gatherings, and emergency housing.
To learn how you can help, contact Jim Dean at 828-508-0035.
NCBAM’s Red Bag ministry was initially created to prevent accidental medicine overdoses among aging adults. Medication mismanagement is a great risk to the health of individuals 65+—many who take two to seven medications daily. The red, insulated bag is a perfect place to keep medicines. Having all medicines in one place makes it easy to take medicines to doctor appointments.
Emergency response programs across North Carolina are trained to look for Red Bags when assisting aging adults in crisis. Providing Red Bags is a good way NC Baptists can help aging adults, especially to frail aging adult who find it hard to leave their homes.
To learn more, contact Angie Gregg at 828-467-1371. To order Red Bags, visit www.ncbam.org. Red Bags are ordered in
minimum quantities of 50.
We are excited to share this unique ministry with Baptists from all across America who will learn about NCBAM and hopefully go back to their areas inspired about what BCH/NCBAM is doing. BCA is a professional organization of communicators who serve in editorial, public relations, electronic media, photography, management, marketing and graphic design positions principally within Baptist agencies and institutions. The organization has more than 250 members across the United States and around the world.
BCH staff presenting at the mission project session included: Jim Edminson, assistant to the president and editor of BCH’s publication Charity & Children; Jim Dean, HOMEBASE director; Mark Smith, EVERY CHILD church liaison; and Angie Gregg, west regional director for NCBAM. Additionally, BCA members Jim Edminson and Carol Layton (NCBAM director of communications) presented a session entitled “Ageism in America—and the Church.”
Written by Carol Layton, NCBAM Director of Communications and Administration