LDS Women Leaders Attend Multi-Faith Meeting Supporting Foster Care

  • 15 August 2017

Women leaders of the Church deliver donations from the Church to the Sunbeam Family Services building in Oklahoma City on August 4.

Article Highlights

  • Mormon, Baptist, Protestant, and Jewish leaders came together in support of foster homes in Oklahoma City.
  • Sister Bingham, Sister Marriott, and Sister Cordon delivered a donation of more than $12,000 in car seats, blankets, and other items.

“It was a gathering of ‘one heart and one mind.’ … The clearly stated faith of Baptist, Jewish, Mormon, and Protestants created common ground for all to discuss their support for good foster homes in Oklahoma City.” —Neill F. Marriott of the Young Women General Presidency

In an effort to work together with other government, business, and religious leaders to address a growing need for foster care for children, three general leaders of the Church attended a community leaders breakfast hosted by the Church in Oklahoma City on August 4.

Begin serving in your own community

“It was heartwarming to see the community support for children in foster care,” said Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President. “We can all do something to show our love for God and His children by serving others, which begins in our own homes and communities.”

Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, also attended the event.

“It was a gathering of ‘one heart and one mind’ as members of various churches met at the breakfast to share ideas for strengthening homes and providing hope for foster children,” said Sister Marriott. “The clearly stated faith of Baptist, Jewish, Mormon, and Protestants created common ground for all to discuss their support for good foster homes in Oklahoma City.”

For Sister Bingham and Sister Marriott, foster care is something they know about firsthand. For many years, Sister Bingham and her husband, Brother Bruce Bingham, were foster parents to a number of children for various amounts of time, some of whom they still consider part of their family. In addition to her 11 children, Sister Marriott and her husband, David, also welcomed a foster daughter in their home for a time.

“Not everyone can be a foster parent, but everyone can help”

During their visit to Oklahoma, the three leaders toured Sunbeam Family Services, the oldest nonprofit organization in Oklahoma City, and delivered a donation of more than $12,000 in car seats, blankets, and other items needed for children in foster care.

Erin Engelke, chief external relations officer of Sunbeam Family Services, said the Latter-day Saint donation was the largest in-kind donation the organization has ever received.

“Not everyone can be a foster parent, but everyone can help,” said Midge Woodward, Sunbeam’s director of foster care.

According to an article on MormonNewsroom.org, in 2015, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the Department of Human Services launched an initiative called Oklahoma Fosters to serve a growing number of children in state custody and to work to recruit new foster and adoptive families. The state has one of the highest numbers of children in foster care in the country.

Other community members at the breakfast included Reverend Major Lewis Jemison, senior pastor of St. John's Missionary Baptist Church, and Rabbi Abby Jacobson of the Rabbi Emmanuel Synagogue, who is also president of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma.

The Church hosted a community leaders breakfast in Oklahoma City, Friday, August 4, 2017. The event was organized to bring government, business, and religious leaders together as Oklahoma addresses a growing need for foster care.

The Church hosted a breakfast for the community, including clergy, in Oklahoma City on August 4, 2017.

Women auxiliary leaders of the Church take a tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum on August 4, 2017.

Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, visits with Rabbi Abby Jacobson of the Rabbi Emmanuel Synagogue at a community leaders breakfast in Oklahoma City, August 4, 2017.

From left: Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency; and Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, visit Sunbeam Family Services in Oklahoma City on August 4.

Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency; Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President; and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, stand outside the Sunbeam Family Services building on August 4, 2017.

Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President; Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency; and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency; visit Sunbeam Family Services in Oklahoma City on August 4.

Latter-day Saints deliver a donation to Sunbeam Family Services, including more than $12,000 in car seats, blankets, and other items needed for foster care children.