Striving to connect Bartow's church community with Advocates for Children's mission, the inaugural Matthew 19:14 Breakfast will be presented Friday. Along with their first meal of the day, attendees will be treated to a message from Michael Tutterow, lead pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Cartersville, and a presentation from Advocates President and CEO Rachel Castillo.
"The stories of children are woven throughout the stories of the Bible," Tutterow said. "We might think it's an 'adult' book, but so many key moments of Scripture involve children. The patriarchs and matriarchs give birth to children of promise. Long before he became king of Israel, David was a young boy who somehow managed to topple the giant Goliath. It's a child who shares his lunch one day with Jesus, who then turns around to use it to feed a multitude of people.
"And of course, Jesus comes into the world first as a child — an infant, totally helpless. When troubles arise, Jesus and His parents have to flee to avoid violence. Somewhere along that family's journey there were people who helped and protected them and enabled them, finally, to return to their own home of Nazareth where Jesus would then grow up. My hope is that the breakfast meeting will rekindle the passion for the attendees to share in the work of Advocates, to be the kinds of people who serve as the caregivers and protectors of children, especially at times of crisis."
Ongoing from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., the complimentary gathering will take place at the First Presbyterian Church of Cartersville, 183 W. Main St. Doors will open at 7 a.m.
"Heritage Baptist Church, for whom I serve as pastor, has been a long-time support of Advocates' ministries," Tutterow said. "They are a regular part of our church's missions budget as well as the focus of some special offerings and occasional volunteer projects. So, it was only natural for me to take an interest in the breakfast.
"Advocates' mission reflects Jesus' own concern for children. When His disciples tried to discourage some parents from bringing children to Him, Jesus made it clear that the children were more than welcome. 'Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these' — Matthew 19:14, Today's English Version. There is something about a child's innocence, a child's ability to trust, a child's willingness to believe that opens all us jaded older folks into recognizing God's wonders at work around us. And when such children are in danger, it becomes our responsibility to protect them. That's what the work of Advocates is all about."
Formed in 1983, Advocates for Children assists more than 3,000 area youth and families each year. Along with operating Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, the Cartersville-based organization provides numerous programs that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
The Matthew 19:14 Breakfast was created by Advocates' recently formed Faith Relations Committee. Ideally, Nathan Kongthum — Advocates' development director — shared the event will be held twice annually.
"This is the first year for the Faith Relations Committee," Kongthum said. "The purpose of the committee is to advise Advocates how to partner with churches; how to cultivate deeper and meaningful relationship with churches; and how to thanks the churches for their supports.
"The founding churches include ATCO Baptist Church, Cartersville First Baptist, Creekside Fellowship, Crosspoint City Church, First Presbyterian Church of Cartersville, Heritage Baptist Church, Sam Jones, Trinity at the Well, The Episcopal Church of the Ascension and Tabernacle."
To attend the Matthew 19:14 Breakfast, individuals need to RSVP by Tuesday by calling 770-387-1143 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.