August 20 Called Annual Conference Session - business items now posted

Methodist Home celebrates 150 years of helping children and youth


By Kara Witherow, Editor

Edwin arrived at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth as a 9-year-old.

A “wild creature” with no significant parenting, he was failing school and fighting during recess.

At The Methodist Home, he found structure, order, and values. He was no longer able to wander neighborhoods and alleys at will. He found adults who set limits and cared.

Today, more than 70 years later, Dr. Edwin Chase credits The Methodist Home for saving his life.

“The Children’s Home saved my life twice,” said Dr. Chase, a retired South Georgia pastor and pastoral counselor. “It blessed me twice. It blessed me once as a child and blessed me again as someone on staff.”

What began as an orphanage in 1872 has grown into an agency that ministers across the South Georgia Conference with residential care, community foster homes, specialized treatment programs, and counseling services. The Home currently serves about 55 children, teens, and adults from ages 6 to 21 years old.

This year The Home is celebrating its sesquicentennial, 150 years of caring for children and helping the community.

In an anniversary video, four retired South Georgia bishops - Bishop James King, Bishop Michael Watson, Bishop Lawson Bryan, and Bishop Richard Looney - shared special messages celebrating The Methodist Home, its children, and the families it serves. South Georgia Conference congregations and members were also thanked for their support and love through The Home’s 150 years. 

“God’s amazing grace has carried us through these years, and God’s providence, with your help, will carry us onward,” said retired CEO and President of The Methodist Home, Dr. Steve Rumford, in the video.

Alison Evans, current President and CEO of The Methodist Home, thanked God and those who have led the ministry through 15 decades.

“Our ministry has flourished thanks to the blessings of God. He has worked through so many wonderful people as highlighted by several bishops in this anniversary video,” she said. “The hands and hearts of the people in the South Georgia Conference helped us live into our mission to restore childhoods, strengthen families, and build up the people we serve. We praise God for His mighty blessings.”
Dr. Chase estimates the number of lives impacted by The Methodist Home could fill The University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium twice.

“I tried to figure out how many lives The Home has touched in 150 years, but I’d probably need an economist to help,” he said. “My estimation was 200,000 people. For me, I went to The Home as a single person, I got married, had three sons, and now have seven grandchildren. That’s 15 people now. That’s just me!

“The Children’s Home has had a profound impact on many, many, many, many lives.”

With five sites across South Georgia – in Americus, Columbus, Macon, St. Marys, and Valdosta – The Methodist Home for Children and Youth has served more than 10,000 abused and neglected children and young people in its 150-year history.

More than a home for children, it’s also home to a host of children and family programs and services including community foster homes, specialized treatment programs and counseling services.

Not just a place for children to have a bed and meals, The Methodist Home provides counseling, therapy, independent living skills training, and more.

It gave young Edwin - and others like him - much-needed consistency and security to be able to learn, grow, and thrive.

Through the years, he’s seen God work in his own life and in the lives of countless young people through The Methodist Home.

“I got to see the transformation The Methodist Home made in people’s lives from both sides. It thrilled me to see the difference in whole family lines,” Dr. Chase said. “The Children’s Home was part of God’s goodness to me.”  

Click here to watch a video celebrating The Methodist Home for Children and Youth’s 150th anniversary.

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