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A home away from home
Poplar Baptist turns parsonage into resource for foster children, parents
Martha Coley walks through one of the rooms of the Poplar Springs Baptist Church parsonage. The church has let the Hall County Foster Parents Association use the parsonage for meetings and storage. - photo by Tom Reed
How to help
To donate or for information on how to become a member of the Hall County Foster Parents Association, contact 770-287-3033.

The parsonage at Poplar Springs Baptist Church sat empty for several years, so when church member Martha Coley asked if the Hall County Foster Parent Association could use the facility, the church quickly agreed.

Now, Poplar Springs Baptist has turned the foster parent association into a mission of the church, and they have come together to renovate and prepare the parsonage for a houseful of fun and learning for the children.

“I think it’s wonderful; it’s part of the church, an extension of the church,” said Cindy Matthews, wife of Poplar Springs Baptist’s pastor, the Rev. David Matthews. “What Martha and them do is just awesome.”

David and Cindy considered becoming foster parents years ago, so the new mission is near to their heart.

“We were going through the (foster parent) process, and then we had the opportunity to adopt and we adopted a baby,” said David, who has pastored the church for 18 years. “We’ve been involved in some way for years.”

Coley, who has been a foster parent for about 27 years, said she just loves that the house offers a home setting for the children. The association is in the process of furnishing the house with donated items along with decorating the office, baby nursery, study and game rooms for the children.

Many times children and babies will arrive at their new foster home in the middle of the night or on the weekend and without proper clothes or even formula or diapers. Coley knows how daunting this can be for the child and for the foster parents, so, she said, she hopes to make the process a little easier for everyone.

“We have been looking for a place for a long time for the children to feel at home,” Coley said. “And to put our clothes closet and have things that children need, like babies that come in the middle of the night that might need diapers or clothes.”

Pat Brown, who became involved with the association about five years ago and is now the president, said she hopes the parsonage will be open to foster children in the next few weeks, and then activities for families will begin.

“In September we will actually be using it for more than that, as a facility for us to have our meetings,” she said. “And for a clothes closet for parents to come to at night or on the weekend when they might need something.”

Amy Bremer, church member and volunteer with the foster parent association, said working with Brown and Coley has been a blessing.

“I just feel like it’s just what God wants me to do right now, and I’m very honored to be a part of it,” she said. “It just fills my heart with joy.”

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