50 Years Of Molding Minds And Hearts

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - April 23, 2014

What do twins Laura Cole Thrash and Leah Cole Jarrell, Marty Stuart, Cynthia Williams Jordan and 18 others have in common? They all were a part of the first kindergarten class at First Baptist Church of Philadelphia in 1964!

On Sunday, the classmates and others who have gone through the kindergarten program in its 50 years of service to the community will join in a special celebration during the 11 a.m. service at First Baptist.

Past directors will be recognized during the service. What's more, the preschool choir is scheduled to sing.

"We are going to talk about how the child ministry started and the plans and goals we have for the future," Jennifer Prince, director, said.

An open house and reception are planned that afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.

"We will have tours of the child ministry center," Jennifer said. "Past, present and even people who are considering looking at us are invited. The rooms will be open for tours and my staff will be there to answer any questions. The reception will include cake and punch."

Jennifer is looking forward to the celebration. She has been at the helm of the child ministry for the past 10 years.

The public is invited to the morning service and reception on Sunday.

"It is an exciting time just to know that we have been around for 50 years supporting and helping our community," Jennifer said. "I think that is a goal to achieve. We are looking forward to the future. I'm really wanting to expand so we can reach more of our community. Constructing a new facility to house the child ministry is part of our long range plans."

The late Mrs. J. C. Walton was the first director of the kindergarten program at First Baptist. In the 1980s, the church added daycare to its child ministry.

Today, there are 110 children in the children ministry, which includes the daycare, and a three and four-year-old kindergarten program.

The ministry is staffed with teachers who provide a loving and nurturing environment. The staff seeks to guide the children in developing spiritually, socially, physically and educationally.

After school care is also a part of the ministry.

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