Aug 012012

Pastor Harold’s Sunshine series shined it’s light on Hope this week. To exemplify the power of hope Pastor Harold invited Rev.  Stephen Hartsfield to speak about the important work the church is doing at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home.

Rev.  Hartsfield explained to us that the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home was established in Enterprise, Florida in 1908 as the Florida Methodist Orphanage. It began with the purchase of one building, eight town lots and a tract of forty acres of land.

In 1939 our name was changed to The Florida Methodist Children’s Home. This name change reflected the reality that an increasing number of children coming into care were not simply orphans. Children come to the home because of sexual abuse, other physical abuse,abandonment or because of family breakdown due to divorce, drug abuse, illness or death of a parent. There may be neglect, or conflicts that have made impossible a normal family life.

 A majority of referrals now come from pastors, family, schools, courts or other state placing agencies. Each child is evaluated to see if the program of the Home can be of help.

The home has changed the lives of children for over a hundred years, and on September 18, 2012, the Children’s Home will be expanding.

Rev. Hartsfield  said, that due  to a generous gift of 300 acres of beautiful, pristine land in Madison, The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home (FUMCH) now has the opportunity to give more hurting children a FUTURE and a HOPE by building a new “north campus” to be named the Madison Youth Ranch.

The Madison Youth Ranch will be a residential home for children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse, abandonment, neglect, family conflict or breakdown due to divorce, drug abuse, illness, death of a parent or some other traumatic issue.

Replicating nearly all of the services currently provided at the FUMCH main campus (residential care, emergency shelter care, therapeutic group care, independent living, foster care, adoption services, vocational training, and community child care center), the ranch also plan to build horse stables, ball fields, and overnight facilities for volunteers.

Before closing out the service, Rev. Stephen Hartsfield shared one of the letters that a former resident wrote to illustrate the impact the Home has on the people it shelters.

The Home has changed me so over these past nine months and i don’t think I could ever repay the caring and kindness that I have received while in the Home. They’ve helped me realize I do have a lot of stength on the inside. Through the rough times, the Home stepped in and walked me though the rough spots. When I started to fall once again, the Home pickedme up and carried me back onto the straight road. Yes, I get in my fair share of trouble at the Home, but I’ll always be grateful for everthing the home has given me and taught me. I know I would not be the strong person I am today if it was not for you and the Home. I know that someday I shall return to the Home and give of myself to thank you all so much for caring about me and always being there for me.

Hope is a very powerful thing.