In their earliest incarnations, the organizations that grew to become American Baptist Homes and Caring Ministries held the welfare of children in the highest regard.
This is no coincidence. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when many of today’s child welfare agencies took root, it was evident that children who were abandoned or orphaned faced a grim future. There were few governmental programs to protect children’s health and safety, leaving churches and other faith-based organizations to offer help.
During this period the modern orphanage emerged as central to the welfare of children who had no one else to care for them.
This concern for the youngest among us goes back to Jesus himself. During his ministry, Jesus admonished his disciples to let the children come to him, for the children belong to the kingdom of God.
Over the decades, the systems that care for the young have changed dramatically. Foster homes have replaced orphanages, and government involvement has altered a landscape once dominated by faith-based organizations.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to do our part. As part of our core mission, we are called to help those who can least help themselves. And as the groups that make up ABHCMcontinue to evolve, our commitment to the children will remain steadfast.
Peace and blessings,
The Rev. Garth Brokaw
ABHCM Board President