On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the board of the United Methodist Children's Home voted to expand its ministry by selling its DeKalb County property. Rev. Hal Jones, president and CEO of the Children's Home sent the following letter to be shared with North Georgia United Methodists:
Dear North Georgia United Methodists,
I want you to be among the first to hear news about The United Methodist Children’s Home.
Responding to the growing and changing needs of the children and families, on Jan. 17 the Board of Trustees of The United Methodist Children’s Home made the decision to expand and accelerate its impact across North Georgia, by voting with overwhelming approval to sell its Decatur property in furtherance of our mission.
This decision will unlock the resources needed to reach more children and families in crisis. It will help to greatly expand local, community-based ministries in towns and cities across North Georgia, in partnership with many more churches. It will accelerate our ability to address the 13,000 Georgia children who have been separated from their families, and who are in State custody due to neglect, abuse or abandonment, a number that has doubled over the last five years.
Every week, when called on by the State, we turn away 30 children who need a loving foster home, because of limited resources. And each week families at risk of homelessness are turned away for the same reason. Through the sale of our Decatur location, we estimate we will be able to serve approximately 63 more people every year, in perpetuity, as a result of this decision.
The history and legacy of The United Methodist Children’s Home offers precedence for this type of decision. Our campus originally featured 226 acres, but over the years, and in response to changes in how services to children and families are delivered, 149 acres were sold as the needs of the ministry changed. The decision just made by our Board is reflective of their continued attention to the changing landscape of services to children and families; and our Board is confident that it is setting the course for an exciting future while increasing our ability to achieve UMCH’s mission to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.
The Board’s decision also honors the legacy of The United Methodist Children’s Home in two significant ways: It applies resources to serve children and families across North Georgia in those areas where the need is the greatest. And, the Board made a commitment to identify specific ways to preserve and honor the history and legacy of UMCH for all future generations to celebrate.
As our UMCH leadership begins the task of executing our Board’s decision, I have asked John Cerniglia to continue to serve as our official spokesperson for all questions related to the decision the Board has just made. To that end, if you have questions, or if you are approached by others with questions, please, direct them to John at 404-327-5867. I also encourage you to refer people to our website: www.umchildrenshome.org.
Our United Methodist churches across the North Georgia Conference are critical and valued partners in the ministry of The United Methodist Children’s Home. It was the North Georgia Conference who first responded to the call from Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring to establish The United Methodist Children’s Home 145 years ago. The North Georgia Conference is our founding partner in this ministry. I am grateful for that; and I am grateful for the history we will continue to create together.
Thank you for your continued prayers, your continued presence, your continued gifts, your continued service and your continued witness. Thank you for your continued partnership as we accelerate and expand this ministry.
Rev. Hal Jones
President and CEO
The United Methodist Children’s Home