Children’s Homes look to ‘fifth Sunday’ offering

March 25, 2020
By Alan Wild
The Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes recently shared this post on its Facebook page:

A young lady at our Nicholasville campus has a goal to be a nurse. 

She’s applied to several colleges and even explained the benefits of social distancing to her peers this week! 

We know she will be an amazing nurse. Even in this uncertain time, we see God doing a new work in her life, as He says in Isaiah: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Small success stories like that are why it’s so crucial for the Children’s Homes to continue providing a full range of services even during these days of social distancing.

That’s the message that President and CEO Rev. Julie Hager Love and her team have been preaching as their critical “fifth Sunday” offering approaches on March 29. She and her team also have been reaching out to pastors urging them to “please remember us,” she said in an interview via Zoom.

The staff of roughly 120 served 954 children and families in 2019, said Love, who became President and CEO of the Children’s Homes in Nicholasville and Owensboro in July 2019, after serving for 15 years as the Kentucky Conference’s Director of Connectional Ministries and Annual Conference Secretary.

The young people the Children’s Homes serve already are dealing with major trauma in their lives, and the forced quarantines that make it difficult or impossible for home visits is an added layer of stress.

“It’s just hard for them to understand,” she said.

A group of 18- to 21-year-olds living independently in apartments also are overseen by the Children’s Homes staff, which is trying to focus them on as many activities as possible while they are homebound.  

Offerings during the fifth Sundays of the month are devoted to the Children’s Homes budget. Love is concerned that with churches meeting on digital platforms, giving will be down significantly.  

Last year the first fifth-Sunday offering gathered about $150,000 for the Children’s Homes, and the three subsequent Sundays gathered in the $142,000 to $145,000 range, she said. The agency’s annual budget is about $6.9 million, the majority of which comes from state and federal sources, Love said.

Love said the agency also works with community-based counseling and case management. It also works with the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice in 107 counties.

At least for the time being, most of the community-based counseling services are being handled by phone or teleconference, she said. Love said staff who can work from home are doing so, but since many of them are involved with direct care of the children, they must be physically present.

Another concern Love has is at-risk children who are home with potentially abusive parents during this time. For the second year in a row, Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for child abuse and neglect, she said.

She is very concerned about all the children at home now who aren’t safe. After the COVID-19 quarantines are over, “I just fear that we’re going to be flooded” at the Children’s Homes, she said.
She is suggesting two ways people can help:
  • Donate either individually or this Sunday as the first “fifth Sunday” offering of 2020.
  • Invite people into a threefold prayer: for all the children, youth and families her agency serves; for the staff; and for a positive financial picture.
More information about the Kentucky Children’s Homes, including a link to donate, can be found at: