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Pastor's Corner: Child Bridge Ministry in Havre

 

October 11, 2019



Thursday, Oct. 1, 2018, Child Bridge had its first organizational meeting here in Havre.

“What is Child Bridge?” you ask.

Well, in a nutshell:

Child Bridge’s Mission is to find and equip foster and adoptive families for Montana children who have been victims of abuse or neglect.

This mission fits with the scriptures:

Psalm 68:5-6 — “For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.

“5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

is God in his holy dwelling.

“6 God sets the lonely in families,—

he leads out the prisoners with singing;

but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

Montana children who have been victims of abuse or neglect may not be technically or literally “fatherless,” but their parents are definitely not present in the ways that parents should be present in their lives. Child Placement Services does its best to place these children in foster or adoptive families — a monumental task that cannot be and should not be done by CPS alone. Child Bridge comes alongside CPS and focuses on equipping foster and adoptive parents to better provide safe, loving families with safe, loving parenting — with no abuse and no neglect. So many times, these abused and/or neglected children come into their foster or adoptive families with trauma. These foster and adoptive parents and families need extra equipping and training to more effectively deal with the trauma these children face. How does Child Bridge do this? That is revealed in their core values:

Child Bridge Core Values: “As a faith-based organization focused on finding and equipping foster and adoptive families, our approach has proven unique and effective. Following the successful recruitment and preparation of foster and adoptive families, Child Bridge provides support, advocacy, and resources for them as they obtain a foster care license and prepares them to provide the best care possible for children. 

To meet the special needs of foster and adopted children, Child Bridge provides families with Resource Groups, Focus Groups, education, training and special assistance as needs arise, free of charge. 

Child Bridge has a board of directors that is made up of community business and child welfare leaders, and has a small operations staff that oversees Programs, Mission Advancement, Finance and Operations. To date, the organization is funded 100 percent by donations and receives no state or federal funding for its work. 

More information can be found at the website http://www.childbridgemontana.org .

So, after that organizational meeting back in October of 2018, what happened with Child Bridge and why am I writing an article about it a year later? Here’s the history:

• Thursday, October 18, 2018 — organizational meeting

• Child Bridge started monthly meetings here in Havre Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Monthly meetings took place: February; March; April; May; June; and July.

All of the meetings took place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Havre Assembly of God Church’s fellowship hall. A crew from the Great Falls Child Bridge came every month to provide the instruction and take care of the children. Sometimes, churches in Havre would provide the dinner for the parents and children. Sometimes, the Great Falls Child Bridge would provide the meal. Presbyterian Pastor Maggie Lewis (Chinook and Havre) led the child care initiative, but only had help from teenage children of the Great Falls crew, so Pastor Maggie was soon burned out with this ministry. Due to lack of attendance during the summer months, and a lack of child care personnel, Child Bridge canceled the monthly meetings for August and September 2019.

At our first GHAMA — Greater Havre Area Ministerial Association — meeting of the school year, Thursday, Sept. 5, we invited the new Great Falls Child Bridge regional director, Bryon Gustafson — 406-403-4081 — to come and speak to us about the ministry of Child Bridge. During that meeting, he gave our GHAMA group the option to “own” Havre’s Child Bridge ministry. In other words, instead of a team coming up from Great Falls to provide the meal and provide child care and ministry, the churches in the GHAMA group would unite and provide those elements. The regional office in Great Falls would send us the instructors for each meeting. Our GHAMA group agreed to those terms.

So, our next Child Bridge monthly meeting will be this month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Havre Assembly of God Church fellowship hall. All foster families and adoptive families are invited to attend. Please contact Gustafson for details.

Please let me, Pastor Edroy “Curt” Curtis — 399-0263 — know of your intention to attend so that the appropriate amount of food can be provided for the dinner. Set Free Church, here in Havre, will be providing this month’s dinner. Pastor Curt will be emceeing the meetings. We need about four people for child care and ministry: one adult and one teenager to take care of the babies and one adult and one teenager to take care of the older children. Please contact Pastor Curt — me — and communicate your willingness to help at the October gathering. Thanks!

Future meetings for this year include November with the meal to be provided by Abundant Life Ministries; and December with the meal to be provided by Havre Assembly. Child care and ministry will be figured out each month, unless we are able to assemble a team that would like to take this on as a continual ministry …

——

The Rev. Edroy “Curt” Curtis is president of the Greater Havre Area Ministerial Association and lead pastor of Havre Assembly of God Church

 

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