Church hosts ‘Night of Hope’
WARREN — Helping Trumbull Children Services find homes for children is one of the ways Second Baptist Church House of Hope assists the community.
The church, along with the Village Network, came together with Trumbull Children Services to host its third annual Night of Hope event that included testimonies and musical performances with this year’s event being virtual.
“We are reaching out to the public to encourage them to explore foster care and adoption. The needs this year are greater than ever before due to the continued effect of the opioid epidemic as well as the coronavirus pandemic. Because we could not do this in person this year, we did it virtually on Facebook and YouTube,” Pastor Todd Johnson said.
He said while the church likes to host in-person events, the online event did reach a bigger audience.
“People are able to watch the messages online. We will be promoting this at church all through November, encouraging foster care and adoption. We pray for the youth, children and babies and those who serve them and care for them and provide services for them and help them to be whole and healthy,” Johnson said.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month,
“We want to bring God’s presence into the lives of God’s people. People have hope,” Johnson said.
Stacy Ferencik, community liaison / recruitment specialist for children services, said everyone has faced so much in 2020, there was a need for a celebration like this.
“This event is something to give us hope. At Trumbull County Children Services, we always have hope. We appreciate the many people who become a light for the children,” Ferencik said of the 143 children in their custody, which usually averages 20.
She said the children are looking “for that someone who will be the light in their life.”
Ferencik said people are being asked to consider being “a forever family” to a child.
Johnson said with the pandemic, nothing is the same. The church hosted the Night of Hope in 2018 and 2019 as a way to help children services bring attention to the need of foster and adoptive homes.
“We were not going to let anything stop us. We want our people to think more deeply about the children,” he said.
Agency officials said a great need exists for displaced children to find homes, especially among the black population.
Johnson said the church also will have an Angel Tree to get gifts for the children so that no child goes without at the holidays. He said the event will be a drive-thru.
He said the youth and members of the church also will be making blankets for the children for Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Tim Schaffner, children services executive director, said, “Every child deserves a forever family. Adoption changes children’s lives, but there are so many children waiting for a forever home.”
He said 2020 has been a challenging year with 20 adoptions.
Keynote speaker and performer Geoffrey Golden of Cleveland held a virtual performance. He released his debut album “Kingdom Live” in 2015. His single “All of My Help” placed at No. 18 on the gospel digital song charts.
Chuck Baldwin with the Village Network, a service organization that provides assistance for youth, said they are happy to be partners with Second Baptist Church.
“We foster hope for children who have been damaged from the traumas in their lives such as living in poverty. Many do not know where their next meal will come from,” Baldwin said.
Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted recognized the month as “National Adoption Month — Engage Youth, Listen and Learn.” They noted there are 1,200 teenagers who have spent an average of 4 1/2 years in foster care.
For information, contact children services at 330-372-2010.