Sunrise Children's Services values God's Word. In fact, Scripture gives us our reason to exist as a ministry. James 1:27 states: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
Obeying this scripture is how we began 150 years ago when women of the Ladies Aid Society of Walnut Street Baptist Church founded the Louisville Baptist Orphan's Home to care for orphans of the Civil War. The ministry would eventually spread from there and change its name to the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, and then to Sunrise Children's Services.
What does James 1:27 look like in the 21st century? "It is still relevant today, and the problem is as significant as ever," explained Sunrise President Dale Suttles. "Today, Sunrise cares for 'orphans of the living,' those children who have come from unfortunate circumstances and whose biological parents have had their parental rights legally terminated. Kentucky's children and youth have become causalities of neglect, abandonment and the effects of drug and alcohol abuse."
Recently, Kentucky was ranked as the worst state in the nation for child abuse, based on a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Sunrise is responding.
"We are helping our kids find healing, purpose and loving homes," said Suttles. "Since the start of our foster-to-adopt program in 2006, we have celebrated 455 adoptions." And we are trending toward reaching 500 adoptions by the end of this year.
We are also helping our Sunrise kids find their eternal homes. We have recorded more than 80 professions of faith in the last two years! We believe we are following the words of Jesus, when He commanded: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark 10:14)
Our goal at Sunrise of "helping children in crisis shine" is much more than a slogan. It's what we do every day and what our more than 300 team members across the state take to heart. We do it because we understand that we are following God's clear instruction: "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'" (Matthew 25:40).
For 150 years, our mission has remained clear: providing care and hope for hurting families and children through Christ-centered ministries. Sunrise has valued God's Word for the last 150 years and will continue to do so over the next 150 through God's love, grace and guidance.
David Lyninger is the associate director of Communications at Sunrise Children's Services.