By Gwen Green
A United Methodist community center has been recognized for its service to children and families.
The Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference honored Moore Community House with the Founders’ Award at MRLC’s annual banquet Jan. 23 at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson.
The Founders’ Award is given for significant interfaith contributions to denomination, community and state. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, MRLC vice-chair, presented the award to the Rev. Carol Burnett, executive director of Moore Community House.
Established in 1924, Moore is a United Methodist community center in East Biloxi. Affordable childcare, parent services, community development and emergency family assistance are its core ministries. Seven of Moore Community House’s eight buildings were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but new facilities are planned.
“Moore’s single biggest contribution is allowing low-income families the opportunity to have their children in a place that is safe, comfortable and conducive to learning,” said Ward. “I give thanks for the ministry of Moore Community House.”
In her keynote address, “Katrina’s Children,” Burnett remarked that Katrina’s impact on children is “severe and long-term.”
“It was hugely helpful that public schools (on the coast) opened as quickly as they did after Katrina,” she said, commending the state Department of Education and Education Superintendent Hank Bounds for their efforts. “But there is no ‘Department of Childcare.’” Soon after the storm Burnett surveyed the neighborhood around MCH and learned that 65 out of 100 households needed childcare.
She called on people of faith to advocate for children.
“We have enough members (in our faith traditions) that if we chose, we could make Mississippi go from the worst to the best state for children in one legislative session,” Burnett said.
“Carol Burnett is a remarkable person. She has devoted her life to the children of Mississippi, especially low-income children,” said Mary Woodward, MRLC chair.
MRLC is a statewide interfaith coalition of religious leaders open to any person, religious body, business or non-profit organization with a commitment to reasoned interfaith dialogue, social justice and community involvement.