2012 General Assembly

New network formed to address needs of orphans

The following post is from CBF contributing writer Ryan Higgins.Orphan Network

Every day, another 15,000 children lose their mother or father to HIV/AIDS and other causes, according to the Faith to Action Initiative. On Friday morning of the General Assembly, the CBF Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Network officially launched and announced its partnership with the Faith to Action Initiative, which brings together Christians to respond to the needs of vulnerable children.

More than 20 Fellowship Baptists gathered at the network, dividing into groups to discuss the two Faith to Action publications ‒ Journeys of Faith and From Faith to Action. These resources are designed to guide faith-based engagement in focusing on improving family and community situations, instead of focusing solely on orphanages and international adoption.

Evidence shows that if church-to-church partnership can improve the life in the community for the orphans, it would enhance the ability of the children to stay with and be raised by families.

Although designed around Sub-Saharan Africa, the resources have been embraced in other places, such as Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. The Faith to Action Initiative worked closely with UNICEF, the Firelight Foundation and others to ensure the program was internationally applicable so that it could be used by congregations globally.

“We all want what is best for children, and children do best when they are part of a family,” said John Derrick, coordinator of the new network and a member of the Faith to Action Initiative Core Working Group.

Attendees included pastors, seminary students, CBF state and regional coordinators. They brainstormed ideas on how to apply the resources to their specific situation and how to expand the newly formed OVC Network, including training seminary students.

“We could use seminary students or Student.Go interns that experience this in the mission field to come back and teach it in our churches,” said Rob Fox, CBF Field Coordinator for Virginia.

The seminary students who were present at the breakfast embraced the idea.

“That would give a voice to students and knowledge to do something,” said Missy Ward, a student at McAfee School of Theology. “It’s not acceptable to me to not do anything,”

For more information, contact John Derrick at jderrick@thefellowship.info.


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