ABHMS announces new ministry, awards $60,000 to ministries serving children in poverty

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/23/17)—At a luncheon event on Oct. 19, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) launched a new ministry—Rizpah’s Children—that seeks to address the issue of childhood poverty. The ministry connects a national network of partner organizations that serve children in low-income communities through locally-based interconnected, wraparound programs and services.

Noting that “Poverty is ubiquitous; poverty lives next door,” the Rev. Dr. Marilyn P. Turner-Triplett, Rizpah’s Children director, announced the network’s 2017 partners:

  • Bob Burdette Center, an after-school program in Charleston, W.Va.;
  • Youth Enrichment Program of Greater Cleveland, an after-school learning program in Ohio;
  • JOYA Scholars, a higher education preparatory program for youth in low-income communities in Fullerton, Calif.; and
  • Neighborhoods Focused on African American Youth, an academic support program based in Atlanta, Ga.

ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray and board President Dr. Clifford Johnson announced that ABHMS awarded grants totaling $60,000—$15,000 to each partner—to support their ministries.

“It takes more than one individual to make a difference in the lives of children in poverty,” said Johnson. “ABHMS is proud and excited about these new partners coming alongside us.”

Haggray added: “We are very excited about Rizpah’s Children and grateful for this vision being introduced today.”

Rizpah’s Children walks alongside its partner organizations by shining a light on their ministries to share models for duplication elsewhere; connecting partners with others engaged in similar work to share ideas, work processes and successes; coordinating pursuit of grants from large funders; and inviting partners to become part of a national platform that provides forums for sharing knowledge, leading webinars and offering workshops at national gatherings.

The ministry is named for the Bible’s Rizpah (2 Samuel 21:1-10), a woman who protected the slain bodies of seven children from wild animals. Turner-Triplett presented an inspiring inaugural sermon about Rizpah and the vision for the initiative, and she is developing content for a future Judson Press book on the themes and ministries of Rizpah’s Children.  

Haggray also invited attendees to join ABHMS’ Passionary Movement, a growing number of those who partner with ABHMS who are passionate about the call of Christ and seek to respond to the call in some way.

Laura Alden, publisher, ABHMS and Judson Press, closed the event with a prayer by Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, which included this supplication: “O God … Help us to stand together and vote to make America just and right for all your children.”

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.