On a clear Sunday in October, the bright, sunny weather matched the joyous mood of the crowd which gathered to witness the Dedication Service for the new Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana. The construction of our new Home is complete!

More than 250 supporters enjoyed the opportunity to fellowship and celebrate this wonderful accomplishment.  Before and after the service, people toured the Home and enjoyed refreshments provided by area United Methodist churches.

The program began with remarks from Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services’ President and CEO, Terrel J. DeVille. Mr. DeVille shared this was all made possible by the offer of a very generous gift from Mr. Bill Henning and his three sons, Dub, John, and Tom. Mr. DeVille and Bishop William Hutchinson accepted this gift, and began a search for the location of the new Home. It was determined that southwest Louisiana would be most appropriate, as this was part of the LUMCFS long-range strategic plan. The Henning gift enabled us to accomplish this goal sooner than had been thought possible.

Mr. DeVille emphasized the invaluable relationships which were formed once plans were underway. E.J. Ellender (Architect), Ralph Lewing (General Contractor), Mark McMurry, Dr. Charles Smith, and a steering committee of dedicated volunteers from the Lake Charles area, were among the many who collaborated successfully, making the completion of this state of the art facility a reality. The 32 bed Home will be staffed and ready to begin serving children by late January, 2011.

Connie Shaw, a leader of the volunteer steering committee, spoke of how proud she is to be a Methodist today. She shared the deep satisfaction felt in knowing that she is part of a community making it possible for a Methodist Children’s Home to serve thousands of children and families over the coming years. This will make a strong, positive impact in the lives of children and families in southwest Louisiana.

To begin the dedication portion of the ceremony, Rev. Mickey Stringfield, Director of Pastoral Care for the Home, opened with prayer.

Dr. Steven Franks, Program Director for the Southwest LA Home led a responsive reading with attendees, and then the presentation of the buildings for dedication to the Bishop commenced. The buildings were presented by Mr. Billy James, Treasurer of the Board of Directors for LUMCFS.

Bishop William Hutchinson made the occasion even more sacred and special with his remarks. He spoke of how pleased he is to be involved in the Dedication of this Home, which will provide God’s love to children and families in great need. A benediction was offered by Rev. Douglas L. Cain.

Several members of the surrounding communities will serve on the board of directors for this new Home. They are:  Mr. William “Dub” Henning, Jr., Lake Charles; Rev. Mike McLaurin, DeRidder; Mrs. Cindy Qualls, Sulphur; Rev. Steve Spurlock, Lake Charles; and Mr. Mark McMurry, Nominee for Membership, Sulphur.

We are thankful to the many individuals and organizations who donated their time and efforts in various ways to benefit this project. There is the Henning UMC Women’s “Mustard Seed Group” who hand-made beautiful quilts, two of which were in silent auction of which the proceeds will benefit MCH of Southwest LA, the rest of which will be for the Home’s new residents. The UMW group from Lake Arthur UMC purchased a beautiful framed print to hang in the lobby of the new Home in honor of Mrs. Gertrude Vaughn, one of their members.

These are a few examples of the outpouring of support and involvement that we have received from day one of this endeavor. In addition to the donations of time and gifts, we are grateful for those who made very generous monetary donations towards Naming Opportunities and Furnishings for the rooms of the Home. Please see next issue of

Pathways, our Fall Newsletter, for a complete listing of these donors. The Pathways will mail November 4.

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