First Baptist-Black Mountain is another CBFNC partner church providing a ministry that has recently joined the Welcome House Community Network in living out the call Jesus gave us to welcome strangers. In partnership with other churches and volunteers of the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, First-Black Mountain provides emergency shelter for the homeless in the winter as well as for single mothers and their children through the Hope For Tomorrow apartment campus. Read below as Bill Walker, deacon chair at First-Black Mountain, shares the church’s Welcome House ministry story.
Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry (SVCM) empowers over 30 faith communities to combine their God-given resources to be “The Church” to our neighbors in the Swannanoa Valley who are going through difficult times. So many people in the Valley are having difficulty feeding their families, paying for housing, keeping the power and water on, getting prescriptions, and providing clothes and school supplies for their children. Whenever possible, SVCM helps to bridge that financial gap to help people stay sheltered, warm, fed, and clothed.
While individual churches serve the community in so many important ways, we at FBC Black Mountain have found we can do so much more together rather than in isolation. Our congregation has partnered with SVCM over the past 10 years by housing an emergency cold weather shelter in our Fellowship Hall during the winter months for people who are experiencing homelessness. As an outgrowth of the shelter ministry, the Hope for Tomorrow Apartment Program is an important link in breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse and homelessness for single women and children. The Hope for Tomorrow campus consists of 10 apartments along with a yearlong program to provide a safe, stable home and life skills training, counseling and support to help single mothers work towards successful independent living. Essentially, it’s a vital investment in the future.
Our congregation believes so strongly in this ministry, that we have sponsored at least two different families by providing furniture, kitchen utensils, window coverings, linens, and much more. Overall, the Hope for Tomorrow ministry has graduated four families in recent months who are now living in their own homes.
The SVCM Johnny Raines Christmas Program is an exciting ministry that provides Christmas gifts for over 300 children in our community and is based at our church. Also, FBC has hosted the kickoff for annual Swannanoa Valley Walk for Hunger Relief event for over 15 years which is the main fund raising event to support the food ministry.
Our relationship with SVCM is so important to our congregation that it is a part of our monthly mission budget and several of our members lovingly and faithfully volunteer at the Ministry. What a blessing it is for us to work together to serve our neighbors in need by being the hands and feet of Christ.