AHOSKIE — Baptist
Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) broke ground April 25 for a new group
home in Ahoskie.
Ministries, the home will provide residential services for up to nine children.
Before nearly 200
guests packing St. Johns Baptist Church, Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn said,
“Your vision and dedication to establish a home in this area is to be
commended. Children deserve to be able to share in every good thing life
BCH President Michael
C. Blackwell said the groundbreaking marked a “full circle” for BCH, which
traces its historic ties to the area to early 1885 with the Chowan Baptist
Association in Ahoskie, known today as the West Chowan Baptist Association.
During that time, area
churches that comprised the association agreed to give $1,250 towards
establishing BCH’s first location in Thomasville. Chowan was the first Baptist
association to contribute.
Later that year on Nov.
11, John Mitchell, pastor of Ahoskie Baptist Church (now First Baptist),
boarded a train with nine-year-old Mary Presson of Hertford County. Mitchell
escorted the girl on a 200-mile journey to her new home in Thomasville. Presson
became the first child ever admitted into BCH’s care and Nov. 11 is considered
the official date of BCH’s anniversary.
Today, the church’s
efforts to assist with Britton Ministries draw similar parallels to BCH
The morning of the
groundbreaking, Blackwell recounted Presson and Mitchell’s historic trip at
First Baptist Church in Ahoskie.
At the end of the
service, Pastor Daniel Glaze presented Blackwell with a check from the church
for the Ahoskie-based home.
“It’s astounding to
witness churches in this area pledge their support for the new group home,”
Blackwell explained. “Their faithful and sacrificial support of BCH is just as
it was 125 years earlier.”
Church in Aulander recently contributed $10,000, a substantial amount for the
small congregation and the largest contribution in the church’s history.
“Connaritsa has always
been a supporter of Baptist Children’s Homes even though its ministries were
away from us,” said John Tayloe, deacon chair at Connaritsa.
“Once we became aware
of BCH’s plans to build a home in our community we knew we needed to be
BCH looks to complete
its $780,000 fundraising campaign for Britton Ministries soon and hopes to have
the home built early next year.
“We are so grateful to
the Britton family as well as our fellow Baptists and community friends for
making the dream of this much-needed home a reality,” Blackwell said.
“I can think of no
better way to celebrate Baptist Children’s Homes’ 125th anniversary than to
establish Britton Ministries and offer hope and healing to children and
families in northeastern North Carolina.”
Since 1885, Baptist
Children’s Homes of North Carolina has helped children and families. BCH
began with one campus, Mills Home in Thomasville, but now provides services
in 18 communities across the state.
Blackwell on road
Blackwell spoke with a
crowd at the annual Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina meeting on April
He pointed out that leader Ruby Fulbright “can be as soft as velvet” and
“tough as nails.”
Blackwell and the
Fulbrights were in seminary together at Southeastern Baptist Theological
Seminary in the 1960s.
Blackwell thanked women
of the WMU-NC because of the “many things we’ve done together. Women have been
… truly the heart of (BCH).”
Blackwell shared one
story about the power of the WMU-NC.
In 1988 Food Lion’s leaders offered to
give a percentage of receipts to the Baptist Children’s Homes. WMU got the word
out about the challenge, and Food Lion had to give a check for $64,000 to BCH.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ragsdale is director of communications for
BCH. BR Assistant Managing Editor Dianna L. Cagle contributed to this report.)