Church will host Orphan Awareness Weekend
A safe family is foundational for a happy life, and Faith Baptist Church of Bartlett wants to raise awareness of how many Shelby County children lack that advantage. To help, the church is hosting Orphan Awareness Weekend Nov. 8-10. The church’s “1 < Orphan” Ministry Team began this summer with six women who spearhead activities and get support and input from their church family. Their mission is “to glorify God through orphan care by raising awareness, preserving life, and strengthening families.” Team member Cynthia Peacock of Bartlett said, “The idea and hope is that each of us will be able to break out into areas we’re strong in and gather volunteers under us.” Three members of the 1 < Orphan Ministry Team prepared by attending the Christian Alliance For Orphans (CAFO) conference in Chicago earlier this year. Peacock said about 70 people from the 3,800-member church have already expressed interest in helping the ministry team. Their current focus is on education and raising awareness. They want to share how people can help young people who are orphaned, in foster homes, or simply are the children of overwhelmed single parents who are looking for more support. Families of adopted children also will benefit from the ministry. It is really a “ministry to the least,” Peacock said. The ministry team’s plans include classes to help families wanting to foster/adopt children and a support group for people in the adoption process, she said. One current need is for families who can provide short-term foster care for children when their parents need temporary help for various reasons. “People say, ‘I want to help but I don’t know where or I don’t know how,’” Peacock said. The team will be sharing information on the children’s needs and where people can contribute.” It is an active expression of the church members’ faith, and Peacock said they are praying and paying close attention to their prayers to God. “We are wide open to what He wants to show us.” For Peacock, participating in this ministry is also deeply personal. “We adopted our oldest daughter from China 10 years ago,” she said. “That point was the pivotal point. All these years, it’s always been on my heart, wanting to do something like this.” For more information, see the 1 < Orphan web page at http://myfaithbaptist.org/orphan-care.php Events include: • Free movies and pizza, 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8. Guests will watch age-appropriate movies about adoption, fostering, and orphan care: “Despicable Me” for children, “Lost & Found Family” for teens, and the brief film “Faultless” for adults. Adults will also hear a panel discussion featuring Jonathan Goode, the producer of “Faultless.” • 5K Family Run/Walk starting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 9. Participation is $20 for foster/adoptive families and $25 for all others. Pre-registration is at www.myfaithbaptist.orgor on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/faithbaptistmissions. Registration is also available the day of the event, starting at 8 a.m. in the church parking lot. The event benefits ONEless Ministries, which focuses on preventing human trafficking through educational programs, aiding families adopting orphans, and providing homes for vulnerable children. • Special worship service at 9:15 a.m. on Nov. 10. The service will have special music, an inspirational message and an orphan care emphasis provided by the Faith Children, the church’s preschool and kindergarten children. The church will be collecting shoes for donation to children and families. A display of shoes also will represent the number of children orphaned around the world during the time period of the service.