Orphan care helps Florida Baptists build more diverse congregations

Jerry Haag is president of Florida Baptist Children's Homes, Orphan's Heart and The Porch Light.Adoption and foster care cross ethnic and cultural lines, and while that may be a challenge it is also an opportunity.

Florida Southern Baptist churches are discovering that by being involved in adoption and foster care ministries they are becoming multicultural themselves, or growing their current multicultural ministries even further.

“As a church with so many people who have fostered children and adopted children the ethnic makeup of the church has changed,” said Pastor Jamin Stinziano of Summit Church in Fort Myers. 

“It’s not strange for new children to find other kids who are like them.”

At Mandarin Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Sunday worship is done in three languages: Spanish, Creole and English.

Mandarin’s pastor, Mark Seagle, says that the church’s multicultural makeup has helped new children feel welcome. Even those children who are not from the cultural backgrounds represented seem to feel as if their culture is also welcome because of the diversity.

“Kids feel at home walking into a church where all these cultures are represented,” he said. “I think it’s a blessing to be able to minister to kids from different cultural backgrounds, like Asia and South American, for example.”

We will have much more on adoption and foster care in our April print edition, which publishes on March 30. To make sure you get your copy, go here: https://www.sonovasystems.com/css/1012/epay.page

Keila Diaz is the Miami-based reporter for the Florida Baptist Witness. She can be reached at 305.724.0544 or via email at keila.diaz@goFBW.com

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