As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate a church that gives to The Children’s Home with each baptism

The congregation of Sugarloaf United Methodist Church in Gwinnett County holds, on average, 15 to 20 baptisms a year. And while that in and of itself is a celebration for the life of the church, it is also an incredible blessing for The Children’s Home.

 

That’s because the congregation at Sugarloaf recognizes that while most babies who are baptized in their church sanctuary are surrounded by family and loved ones, there are other children who are in need of the love and care that is provided through the ministry of The Children’s Home. So they take up a collection after each baptism.

 

Baptismal reflections at Sugarloaf UMC. Pictures courtesy of Sugarloaf UMC.

 

“This is our opportunity to support the work of The Children’s Home and make a lasting difference,” said Rev. Matthew Mitchell, who enthusiastically embraced the tradition started by Sugarloaf UMC’s former pastor, Rev. Stuart Greene. “We only sponsor local ministries, and this is a very significant one for us. Being able to give regularly to The Children’s Home is very much a part of who we are.”

 

Started at Smyrna First UMC, Rev. Greene began this regular offering for The Children’s Home at Sugarloaf UMC in 2008. “By encouraging people to give to children in need in honor of the baby being baptized, we avoided taking ‘yet another offering’ which people grow weary of,” said Rev. Greene. “No one passed the plate; there were no commitment forms to sign. Anybody who wanted to give any amount would simply walk to the front before leaving the sanctuary and place the money or check on the altar. Many of the donations came from extended family members, who may or may not be members of the church, but who want to ensure their baby is adequately honored.”

 

Today, offerings taken after a baptism at the church total $500 to $1,000. “It’s always exciting to watch little kids to elderly folks, long-time members and new members visibly respond so emotionally and enthusiastically while they are putting their donation in the collection basket,” added Rev. Mitchell. “We know through these donations, and especially because of the great stewardship of UMCH, we are making a real impact.”

 

And yet the church’s connection to The Children’s Home goes deeper still. Currently Sugarloaf UMC has families who have fostered through The Children’s Home, according to Rev. Mitchell, and in one case, the fostering led to adoption.

 

Says Rev. Dave Allen Grady, Director of Church Relations at The Children’s Home, “Baptism is such a powerfully meaningful time for a family, both the family of the person being baptized and the family of the church. The Children’s Home is incredibly lucky that Sugarloaf UMC extends their family’s blessings to our family.”

Christmas Wishes Come True at The Children’s Home

On Saturday, Dec. 10, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived to The United Methodist Children’s Home for our annual Christmas event to celebrate the holidays with the families and children we serve. More than 300 foster families, family housing residents, volunteers and staff joined together to celebrate Christmas at The Children’s Home. Most importantly, your generous love, support, gifts, and donations helped make Christmas wishes come true for our families and children.

 

Special highlights:

  • 57 families participated in this year’s Christmas shopping event
  • Over 90 volunteers contributed countless hours of service on Saturday
  • 145 children took keepsake portraits with Santa and Mrs. Claus

As we celebrate this season of giving with our loved ones, the need for loving foster families has never been greater. There are more than 13,000 foster children in the state of Georgia this Christmas. Please consider opening your home to a child in need or making a tax-deductible gift this holiday season.

View our 2016 photo gallery

 

Photo credits: Melanie Jones and John Haugaard

 

Children’s Home Foster Care programs at a glance

The Children’s Home has served more than 100 foster  care children and youth in 2016  the Foster Care, Transitional and Independent Living programs, and our programs continue to help more youth for longer periods of time.

 

How you can help:

Help us recruit new foster parents. Spread the word to your friends and community that compassionate and nurturing foster families are needed.

 

Consider becoming a foster parent. Attend one of our informational meetings to learn more. IMPACT training, which is required for anyone wishing to foster or adopt through the State Foster Care System, is currently offered free of charge in our Decatur and Gainesville offices.

 

Learn more: Contact Denise Peacock in the Atlanta area; Contact Sondra Rogers in the Gainesville area; Contact Ashley Blocker in the Newnan area.

 

Season To Give: 2016 Christmas Match Campaign

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During this season of generosity, there has never been a better time to give to The United Methodist Children’s Home and create the biggest impact for your gift. Through the kindness of a few special and anonymous donors, your gift this holiday season will be matched dollar by dollar, up to a total of $94,000 until Dec. 31, going even further to help change the lives of children and families in need. That includes young adults like Kayla*.

 

Kayla’s childhood was exceptionally hard. In a true sense, her childhood was lost. She experienced the trauma of her father’s unexpected death when she was very young, and Kayla’s mother was addicted to drugs. For years Kayla suffered from her mother’s neglect and abuse. Tragically, there was no one else in the family to whom Kayla could turn. When Kayla was 13 years old, the state intervened, but was unable to place her in a foster home, so instead she entered a group home. Then, at age 17, she’d reached the age where she had to leave the group home, and was facing the world alone.

 

Because of the support of people like you, Kayla found her way at The United Methodist Children’s Home. As a resident in our Independent and Transitional Living program, Kayla learned basic life skills she had never before been taught, and she gained experience and confidence as she honed those skills. She was able to build and manage a personal budget, find and keep a job, and even purchase her first car – all while completing the program. Most importantly, Kayla was surrounded by people who loved and cared for her.

 

Kayla set a goal of going to college and members of The Children’s Home team helped her complete college applications and secure financial aid. Today, Kayla is 21 years old, working part time and attending college. She and her beloved adopted dog live in an apartment that the Children’s Home staff helped her find and furnish, and she is flourishing!

 

It’s through YOUR support that we are able to help young adults like Kayla be independent. But there are more children and young adults who need our help. Please take advantage of this special opportunity for your gift to have twice the impact, as we continue to partner with you in this redemptive ministry.

 

Remember the words of Psalms 127:3, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”

 

 Your gift to The United Methodist Children’s Home is tax-deductible, to the full extent allowed by law. Donate online at www.umchildrenshome.org or mail to:

The United Methodist Children’s Home
500 S. Columbia Drive
Decatur, Georgia 30030

 

But, hurry. Your gift must be mailed by Dec. 31 to be matched dollar for dollar, and for 2016 tax purposes.

 

From all of us at The United Methodist Children’s Home, thank you for everything you’ve already done, and for considering to give today. We hope you have a warm and blessed holiday season.

 

*Name changed for privacy

Wish List: Christmas 2016

The Christmas season is upon us. We need your help to make Christmas Day and our annual Christmas Event (private event) a special time for those we serve – our families and children! We have approximately 100 children in our foster care program and another 70 residents on our campus.

 

There are two great options for you to help make this a wonderful Christmas for our children and families. You can donate from our general Wish List below OR contact our Christmas Coordinator to sponsor a child over age 8 or a family living on our campus.

 

All gifts are due to The United Methodist Children’s Home offices by Tuesday, December  6.  Donations can be delivered to our main office (Decatur)  Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or Sunday, December 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. Please make sure donated items are new and unwrapped, so that our families feel the donations are valued and safe.

 

Photos from Christmas Event 2015

 

Requested Donations:
Visa gift cards (please put cards with receipts in an envelope, separate from gifts)
Amazon gift cards
Publix gift cards
Kroger gift cards
Infant and toddler clothing
Children’s clothing (up to children’s size 16)
Cloth and board books for infants and toddlers
Baby and toddler toys
Gender-neutral toys (arts & crafts, LEGOs, educational, pretend play, musical instruments, etc.)
Ride toys (toddler, age 4 and up)
Bikes (ages 4 – 8)
Bike helmets
Diapers
Diaper bags
Pull-Ups (sizes 3,4,5,6)
Wipes
Baby care supplies (crib sheets, baby gates, teething rings, safety items, pacifiers, etc.)
Sturdy suitcases or duffel bags
Dolls (emphasizing a variety of ethnicities)
Passes, tickets, memberships to local attractions
Books from our list of new foster homes:

  • Hootah’s Baby  by Joanne Green
  • One for the Murphys  by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Maybe Days  by Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia Kahn Wright
  • Kids Need to Be Safe  by Julie Nelson
  • Families Change by Julie Nelson
  • The Whole-Brain Child  by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
  • The Connected Child by Karyn P. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

 

Passes, Tickets, Memberships

This year, please consider a gift that may ignite a budding passion or career! The families and children we serve are often excluded from activities they cannot afford. For example, tickets to an Atlanta Hawks or Silverbacks game, the movie theater, Zoo Atlanta, or the Georgia Aquarium allow them to experience events they may never otherwise experience without your help. Finally, please share this information with your neighbors, friends, and congregations. Your generosity and thoughtfulness go a long way with our families.

 

Feel free to download and share the PDF version of our 2016 Christmas Wish List.
mini-2016-wish-list-pdf-graphic

 

Contact our Christmas Coordinator, Wendy Palmer, at wpalmer@umchildrenshome.org or (404) 327-5867 for additional information.

 

You’re invited to Fam Fest 2016

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