Bitter wind and melting snow did not deter 250 of Baptist
Children’s Homes of North Carolina’s (BCH) friends from gathering Dec. 5 to
celebrate the opening of Britton Ministries, a new group home in Ahoskie to
serve as many as nine boys and girls who are at risk for abuse or neglect.
The new home is a dream shared by friends in the northeast
that dates back to BCH’s origins in 1885, when the first BCH resident in
Thomasville came from that area.
“It may sound cliché, but the building of Britton Ministries
has been a labor of love between BCH and North Carolina Baptists in Hertford
County and the surrounding area,” said BCH president Michael C. Blackwell.
“This home has been on the hearts and in the minds of our supporters and
friends for well more than a decade.”
According to Blackwell, BCH has come “full circle” by
building Britton Ministries in 2010, the year of BCH’s 125th anniversary. In
early 1885, churches comprising the Chowan Baptist Association in Ahoskie,
known today as the West Chowan Baptist Association, agreed to give a $1,250
donation towards establishing BCH’s first location in Thomasville. Baptists
from the same association gave to found Britton Ministries.
“The church and community support we have received has been
unparalleled,” Blackwell said. “It makes a remarkable difference when you have
such a strong relationship in place. Going forward, that continued relationship
will be very meaningful to the children who will come to call Britton
Ahoskie resident Mary Presson became the very first BCH
resident on Nov. 11, 1885. John Mitchell, pastor of Ahoskie Baptist Church (now
First Baptist), escorted nine-year-old Mary by train to her new home at the
Thomasville Baptist Orphanage.
“It is a God thing that we dedicate Britton Ministries
on December 5 the day after Mary Presson’s birthday and the day before the
anniversary of her death,” said Mary Anne Britton Croom, whose family donated
the property. “I hope the children who come here find hope, love, joy and
peace. This is holy land on which we stand.”