The room darkens and the video appears on two large screens, images of days long past appear.
“The Thomasville Orphanage was born in a time of adversity. The Civil War had ended only 20 years earlier. It was 1885 and this Orphanage—this citadel of hope—greeted the first child on
a blustery November afternoon.”
The video “Founded on faith...Built on love” began the Baptist Children’s Homes’ report at the 2021 Baptist State Convention
Annual Meeting in Greensboro on November 9. The video traverses time, reflecting on times of challenge: the flu pandemic of 1918, polio quarantine of the early 1950s, two world wars, The Great Depression, Vietnam, 9/11, and now Corona virus.
Messengers’ attentions are drawn as they are reminded how God sustained the ministry: “God’s guidance and the sacrifice of women and men who gave of themselves to the ‘least of these’...the most vulnerable.” The video concludes: “We are BCH Strong. We will rise. ...We shall not be moved. Strong now, strong then, strong forever.”
I then stepped before the Messengers and shared how through time the march goes on:
“This is the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina—many ministries, to the glory of God, beating with one heart.
“The journey we have been on since November 11, 1885 continues. This year, we will serve 195 thousand people. 195,000 people! And we’re just getting started.
“The march for safety, security, and salvation goes on. The march for children who have been abused, abandoned, traumatized, and tossed aside—that march goes on.
“For aging adults who are alone or lonely or in frail health and who need ‘help for the journey’ from the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry, that march goes on.
“For unborn babies who deserve a chance at life, who deserve a chance to be held by their mother or by loving parents who adopt them and care for them through Christian Adoption Services, that
march goes on.
“For special needs adults who are blessed by God but have intellectual and developmental challenges and who come to us Baptists for love and protection and sunshine, that march goes on.
“For orphans in Guatemala who are loved in the name of Jesus and who come to know him as Lord and Savior, that march goes on.
“For our many outreach ministries that feed the hungry and console the downtrodden, that march goes on.
“For college students, for boys and girls who live outdoors in our two wilderness camping programs, for children in residential care, foster care, adoption care, foster to adopt care, birth mother care, that march goes on.
“This is BCH! We will not be discouraged. We will not be defeated. God is on the side of children. And, so is the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
“So, join hands with me, North Carolina Baptists—frail children of God though we may be—and affirm that the dream of safety and security and salvation for all children—for all God’s children, every child—is a dream that will never die. Strong now...strong then...strong forever.”
Written by Michael C. Blackwell, President/CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer)