BCH breaks ground in Ahoskie
Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications
May 05, 2010

BCH breaks ground in Ahoskie

BCH breaks ground in Ahoskie
Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications
May 05, 2010

AHOSKIE — Baptist

Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) broke ground April 25 for a new group

home in Ahoskie.

Named Britton

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 photo

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina leaders break ground on a new group home in Ahoskie.

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.”

Connaritsa Baptist

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.)