National program directors discuss ABHMS’ new ministry model: Marilyn Turner-Triplett

The Rev. Dr. Marilyn P. Turner-Triplett, director of Rizpah’s Children at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, explains the ministry.

Q.: What is Rizpah’s Children?

A.: Rizpah’s Children takes its name from a sermon that I preached about 10 years ago. It comes from the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, chapter 21, and it tells the story of Rizpah, a woman who kept watch over the bodies of seven slain children. Only two of those children were hers. When you look at the text, you realize that Rizpah stood on that mountain for months at a time. She could not have handled it by herself. Rather, by the very act that she stood on that mountain, she called attention to the issue of what was happening. Rizpah’s Children endeavors to do the same thing: to have one organization stand and bear witness to the fact that we can do something to make a difference in the lives of children in poverty and to call others into that action.

Q.: What does the ministry seek to accomplish?

A.: Rizpah’s Children is building on the foundation that we’ve been laying for the past 10 years. We’ve done fabulous work in terms of incremental efforts. But we believe now is the time to do something that will have long-term, strategic impact in our communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. We’re beyond the time of small, independent efforts. We need to band together to create systems that are focused, that are going to be there for the long term, that our children can count upon from generation to generation.