Over the last two days, I have embedded myself in the diligent work of the Board of Trustees for the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. I am honored to do this work and to serve alongside talented staff, pastors, and lay leaders. I have served on this Board for four years now and each time I leave the meetings I am overwhelmed by God’s grace through the Home and how God is constantly working in the lives of these children and youth through restoration.
I am also reminded once again how lucky I have been to grow up in a family that loved and provided for me. For two parents that remained married and faithful to each other. I never had to wonder if I was wanted or appreciated, and I had a church home that supported me too. I often see the world through my privileged lens and assume it is the same for others, but that is not the reality for all. That sadness hits me when I hear the stories about what these young children and teens walkthrough.
The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home was established in 1908 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and it has been changing lives ever sense. Right now, there are two campuses in Enterprise and Madison, as well as Resident Homes and Shelters in three other counties. A banner that hangs in their main hall has these words on them that are attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
“No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”
And I think Jesus would agree. Over and over again we see Jesus stoop down to help the most vulnerable: children, the blind, the paralyzed, the deaf, the bleeding woman, and the outcasts of society. When I think about the legacy of those who follow Jesus, I hope we can look back on our lives and say that we also stooped down to help the most vulnerable.
I leave you with some statistics from this last year of ministry through the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home and I hope they bring you as much joy in reading them as I had in hearing them.
In 2021, the Florida United Methodist Children is served…
- 333 children in residential and shelter care programs
- 134 children in Foster Care
- 38 young adults with our independent care
- Roughly 2,000 children received counseling through Circle of Friends
I give God praise not for the numbers, but for the lives that have been transformed or the families that have been restored. As you digest this information and our calling to serve the vulnerable, would you hug extra tight the children in your lives? Would you make sure that there isn’t anything left unsaid or unresolved between you? Would you tell those you love that you are proud of them and that you see a bright future for them? And if you are lucky enough to still love on your parents, would you thank them for all they have done for you?
May God add God’s blessing to the reading and meditation of these words. AMEN