Illinois Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services will celebrate a milestone anniversary at the IBSA Annual Meeting in Maryville. The agency dedicated to serving children and families turns 100 this year.
To celebrate the anniversary, BCHFS will host a reception Tuesday, Nov. 6, following the IBSA Pastors’ Conference evening session.
BCHFS began in 1918 as an effort of families in southern Illinois to help families in need. The time was difficult for the country, and the world. The first World War had resulted in more than 100,000 American casualties. And a global influenza epidemic claimed 675,000 lives in the U.S., and 50 million worldwide.
It was in the midst of that suffering that Baptists in Illinois began to envision an orphanage to care for displaced children. Twenty families risked their financial futures to sign a $3,000 note to secure 40 acres of property for the project. The owner of the land, John W. Holderby, donated 40 additional acres to build what would become the original Baptist Children’s Home facility in Carmi.
“The faith, sacrifice, and vision of many churches and people have propelled this ministry forward and continue to carry the work today,” Executive Director Denny Hydrick wrote recently, referencing the agency’s anniversary theme.
Since the initial effort 100 years ago, the ministry of BCHFS has grown to include care for expecting and new mothers, adoption and foster care services, and Christian counseling in centers around the state. For more information about BCHFS and ministry to children and families, go to BCHFS.com.