St. Giles is grateful for the faithful work of our mission partner, Thornwell Home for Children. In addition to our annual Thornwell Sunday in January and housing office space for Thornwell’s Building Families program, Dr. Mike Payne and Mrs. Tea Madden (members of St. Giles) serve on Thornwell’s board of directors. Included below is Mike’s report from the July 2016 board meeting. Read on to learn more about the ministries of Thornwell and how we might support them in Service to the World.
The summer Thornwell Board of Trustees meeting was held on July 21-22, with Tea Madden and I fortunate to be in attendance. It’s an exciting time to be involved with the Thornwell ministry, with numerous ongoing changes coming to the 141 year old campus. The Children’s Rights, Inc lawsuit has been finalized, and beginning in 2017, children under the age of 12 will no longer be allowed to be placed in residential group homes. This will certainly impact Thornwell, since 85% of the current 71 children have been placed by DSS. It will not affect private placements, but there will certainly be fewer students there in time.
Over the last several years, the Thornwell leadership has anticipated these changes, and continue to develop programs designed to work with families and children throughout SC, GA, and FL. The Building Families Program in June 2016 had 11 Family Teachers in 12 of the 16 presbyteries in our synod. 295 children and families were served by this program in 2015.
Unfortunately, Emily (Henson) Hummer is leaving St. Giles to go back to graduate school, but will offer parenting classes periodically, and her position will be filled as soon as feasible. Thornwell recently obtained a license to be a Foster Care Placement Agency, and hired a director for this program in July. They will be well suited to recruit, train, and support foster families, and should begin this in Upstate SC soon. Thornwell opened their Early Head Start Program on July 29, and will have 3-4 rooms serving infants and needy children in the Clinton area. They will again have 4 kindergarten rooms serving 80 local students in the 2016-17 school year. They also purchased the Read Right Reading Program to assist all levels of delayed reading students, and are in the process of hiring and training 4 teachers. Hopefully, they will be able to extend this program online to all children in our synod.
It is truly an exciting time to be at Thornwell. Please remember this wonderful ministry in your planned giving and estate planning.