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First Baptist among churches in Mississippi marking Orphan Sunday

Sunday, the congregation of First Baptist Church Vicksburg will join church congregations across Mississippi and the rest of the U.S. to pray for children who are orphaned or with foster families.

Orphan Sunday is designated to encourage families to consider adoption and foster care as well as give tangible ideas on ways their church can support orphans, adoptees, and foster children.

“We’re recognizing foster families and having a time of prayer for them,” Josh Gee, youth minister at First Baptist, said. “The Christian Alliance for Orphans has Orphan Sunday and Stand Sunday, and they go together.

“Stand Sunday is a time for the body of Christ to stand together for children who are victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment that has placed them into foster care,” he said, adding the church will recognize families and individuals who are either foster parents or involved in the system to protect children and pray for them.

Orphan Sunday was started by a pastor in Zambia, Africa, about 2003 and caught on in the U.S. about 2009, said Chris Gray, executive director of Zacchaeus’ Tree Orphan and Adoption Ministry.

Gray has been involved in the program for four years, and travels to churches of different denominations to encourage families to consider adoption and being foster parents.

He also provides information on how churches and the families in the churches can support families going through the adoption and foster care process.

He said the Orphan Sunday observance can take place during Sunday school or at other times.

“It doesn’t have to be during a church service,” he said. “It can be small. A lot of churches start small. They start in a Sunday school class and then go from there. There are no limitations. A church can do whatever they feel led to do.”

Presently, Gray said, 231 churches across Mississippi participate in Orphan Sunday. Gray said First Baptist has been participating in Orphan Sunday for four years.

“We have at least one church in all 82 counties,” he said. “Churches of all denominations are welcome to participate if they would like to get involved just to take time during their worship service.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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