Finished with vacation Bible schools and summer camps, Bradley Cleveland Ministerial Association members resumed the monthly meeting schedule with a resource fair.
The fair was held in the gymnasium at Peerless Road Church.
Edward Robinson, association president and senior pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was in Virginia at a revival.
In his place, board member Lavonna Cockerham, who pastors Living Word Church with her husband Dr. Larry Cockerham, said Wednesday was the association’s first attempt to have a minister’s fair.
“Our hope is to bring all of our nonprofit service organizations together to be able to share with pastors what services and resources they have for their church people and just to build relationships,” Cockerham said.
There was a better than hoped for response from nonprofits from Bradley and Hamilton counties. One such organization was the H.O.P.E. Center Inc., 10th Judicial District Children’s Advocacy Center in Bradley County.
Family Advocate Kristen Lawson said CAC services victims of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse in Polk and Bradley counties. CAC has served the two counties from its Athens location for 13 years. The agency located a facility in Bradley County in 2010.
“When those allegations are reported, Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement comes to our center where we provide forensic interviews, advocacy and counseling,” Lawson said.
“We are a neutral location where the child can be interviewed one time instead of telling their story over and over again.”
Interviews are recorded and are admissible as evidence.
“We have a forensic interviewer on staff who is trained to deal with those situations and talk to the child,” she said. “We are here today to raise awareness and to network with other resources in the community.”
My Father’s House, a retreat in Signal Mountain, is a hospitality house, much like bed and breakfast setting where ministers and missionaries can get away for a night or a weekend.
“We give them a beautiful place where they can be with the Lord and with each other. We love for people to come as couples and leave their children at home for that week or weekend to just be alone and experience being loved on,” said Kathleen Morgan.