Hephzibah Announces Bold Ministry Redesign
Hephzibah Ministries, Incorporated (HMI), located in Macon, Georgia, is revising its ministries to reach greater numbers of youth and families, announced Dr. Dan Berry, HMI Board of Directors chair.
“For 118 years, Hephzibah Ministries has been serving the needs of children and families who are homeless, orphaned, abused and neglected,” Berry said. “In spite of consistent and sacrificial support provided by our faithful donors and volunteers, Hephzibah Ministries’ ability to sustain its ministry as currently configured is untenable. Hephzibah leaders are taking significant steps now to ensure this vital ministry can continue.
“Revenue essential for operations has been and remains inadequate. During the past 20 years, significant changes in the regulatory environment have greatly restricted Hephzibah’s ability to generate sufficient income to support its residential model and prevented it from expanding its ministries to serve more broadly throughout its North American constituency,” said Berry.
“The Hephzibah Board of Directors, through much prayer and many tears, agreed that it is time for a new season of ministry through Hephzibah Ministries,” Berry said. “We thank God for all that has been accomplished through souls saved and lives changed, and petition God for discernment and blessing upon what is yet to be.”
On January 5, 2018, the HMI Board of Directors unanimously voted that Hephzibah Ministries, Inc. begin the process of discontinuing the current mode of operations and work toward liquidating the property assets with a plan to reestablish a ministry model that will allow for continued assistance to children and families in need. The Hephzibah Children’s Home Board voted in support of the HMI Board actions.
HMI Board minutes state that the revised ministry/ministries be designed to operate in a model that will be intentionally designed to create a ministry that will allow for a renewed connection with Hephzibah’s North American constituency, be established in a manner that will allow for the continuation of the more than a century of ministry to children and be flexible enough to meet ever-changing requirements governing child care.
Action steps include:
- Securing a commercial realtor and marketing the property and buildings.
- Ongoing operation of Hephzibah Behavioral Health Services (HBHS) on site until the property is sold. Plans are for HBHS to eventually relocate and continue to operate within Macon.
- Suspension of the second chance program, formerly known as Elizabeth Home, by the end of January 2018.
- Suspension of the Maximum Watchful Oversight (MWO) program by the end of February 2018.
- Appointment of a Made New Task Force comprised of HMI staff and board members, and The Wesleyan Church (TWC) leaders to re-imagine a new ministry model. Options to be explored include foster care, adoption services and special needs ministries.
- Appointment of a transition team comprised of Hephzibah staff and Board of Directors members.
HMI is partnering with TWC Human Resources to assure Hephzibah employees receive excellent care and severance benefits.
Affirmation of HMI Board actions by the General Superintendent and the Executive Board of The Wesleyan Church.
“On behalf of The Wesleyan Church, I commend the Hephzibah leaders for this bold move of faith,” said Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent. “When considering Hephzibah’s history, one notes the many times and ways the ministry transitioned to meet emerging needs in changing regulatory environments. Throughout all the adjustments of all the years, Hephzibah’s mission to serve children and families remained steadfast. To continue to fulfill that mission is at the heart of the Hephzibah Board of Directors’ decision to re-vision. I am thankful for their faithfulness and excited about the future of Hephzibah Ministries.”