Caring for the orphan is one of the most important ways that Christ Church is loving like Jesus in the world.
Our Orphan Care initiative not only offers resources (including an Adoption Fund) and a support network for those who are interested in adoption or foster care–it also connects CUMC with area churches with whom we join in this mission in
order to help equip and engage the whole body of Christ in orphan care. Even if it is simply in supporting those who are engaged in orphan care at the deepest level, these efforts are driven by the conviction that orphan and foster care is, in some way, for all of us. And each of us has a part to play.
When I was sitting down to lunch with CUMC member Jennifer Parris at the Orphan Summit earlier this month, it must’ve been all God’s timing when a certain married couple join us at our table. Just taking that half hour to chat with them was one of the more enlightening and encouraging parts of the conference. They shared their stories, and we saw their heart. They really were just a normal married couple that answered in obedience and faith to care for children who were not their own as if they were their own.
And after sketching a portrait of what foster care is like in both its challenges and its joys, I was deeply touched–not only by the extent to which God’s love and care is powerfully demonstrated in caring for these children, but also in my realization of just how much the church can do to support families like these.
After mentioning some ways that we can help, whether it’s respite care or just bringing over dinner one night, the wife said, “And the most important thing, and I really mean this, is pray for us.” Prayer is anything but what someone does instead of doing something else. In fact, genuine prayer is action, and through it, we will grow in our awareness of what else we can do as God provides those opportunities.
Christ Church has been active in supporting foster families this month because May has been devoted to National Foster Care Awareness. Different Memphis churches have held a certain event each weekend that in some way blesses these families.
On Friday, May 9, Christ Church joined in by holding its inaugural Foster Parents Night Out just in time for Mother’s Day weekend. More than twenty Christ Church members, along with ten employees from the Department of Children’s Services, showed up to love and take care of these precious children, 37 in total, ranging in age from 7 weeks to 15 years.
Staff members Jan Averwater, Laura Greenwell, and Marcy Fitzpatrick coordinated the event. Our Orphan Care committee spoke to Sunday school classes and those who could not physically help with the children were able to donate money for pizza and other expenses. There were crafts, several different activities, and quite a bit of playing in the gym and on the playground.
“I was amazed at how much you did with the kids,” said Mike Nason from DCS. “You had every minute covered. We expected to have to jump in and pitch in throughout the night but you had it so well organized that we were pleasantly surprised. I hope all of our endeavors with your church are as well planned and executed as this one was. Thank you for all you did with the Parents Night Out.”
A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this such a success, and watch for more opportunities to become involved in orphan and foster care at Christ Church: cumcmemphis.org/orphancare