A “Joining Hands to Lift Children” Summit was held in October at the Epworth Children's Home in Columbia SC. The sponsoring partnership included Hood Theological Seminary, the Balm in Gilead, the Pan-Methodist Commission's Campaign for Children in Poverty, Big Changes Start Small, and Baptist Churches in the Carolinas. The Summit was connected with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) observance of the Children’s Sabbath and used the CDF theme, “Children of Promise: Closing the Opportunity Gap.” Eighty persons were in attendance as topics addressed included adverse childhood experiences and their impact on adulthood, childhood stress, trauma and the effects on educational success, helping children belong, breast feeding, working with children with special needs, risky health behaviors for children and youth, parenting best practices, and understanding the risk and impact of technology on children.
Attendees were encouraged to take what they learned to their congregations and communities and share the information, plus find ways to join in partnership with other congregations, schools or agencies to make a difference. Not only were the participants involved in learning, but an offering was taken and given to the Epworth Children’s Home to aid their ministry to children.
The presenters included Mrs. Pamela Price – Balm in Gilead, Mrs. Meghan Brannon – Children’s Trust of South Carolina, Rev. John Holler – CEP Epworth Children’s Home, Dr. Keri Sylvus – Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Rev. Renee Bethea – Guidance Counselor at West Hoke Middle School, Rev. Meg Cook – Pastor of Epworth Church, Dr. Mary Love – Adjunct Professor Christian Education, Hood Theological Seminary, Mrs. Jessica Mearns- Director of Early Intervention Center at ECH, and Rev. Kevin Griffin – Director of Cloud Operations for Spoken Communication, CEO, Big Changes Start Small and HTS student.
Submitted by Dr. Mary Love, Hood Theological Seminary