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Lineville’s Barfield Baptist serves community through day carecomment (0)

August 1, 2013

By Anna Keller

Citizens on the east side of Clay County have been desperate for a local day care program, and members of Barfield Baptist Church, near Lineville, in Carey Baptist Association have decided to meet that need.

“There were no day care facilities on this side of the county, and people were driving from one side of the county to another to drive their kids to day care,” said Christy Horn, Barfield Baptist day care director. “We started talking about what a blessing it would be to start a day care at the church, and it just went from there.”

The day care at Barfield Baptist opened its doors in May with the hopes of enrolling 32 children. Just a little more than two months into the program, it’s already at its full capacity of 55 kids (25 are part of the current summer program, and the rest are already enrolled to start once the school year begins).

For Tiffanie Character, whose 5-month-old son, Camden, attends the day care, the program’s opening is a godsend.

“We had nowhere local to take him, and we were going to have to go to Ashland or Alexander City for Camden to go to day care,” said Character, a member of Lineville Baptist Church, also in Carey Association. “The only options here really before this day care were people who keep children in their homes, but they always book up fast.” 

Character’s 9-year-old stepson will join Camden at day care (as part of the after-care program) once school starts up in August. 

Horn and her staff are not only focused on caring for the children — they also help the parents with being away from their children, Character noted. One part of the experience she really likes is that the caretakers send photos of the children to the parents throughout the day. For Character — who works an hour away and is at work 10 hours a day — it makes being away from Camden more bearable. 

According to Barfield Baptist Pastor John Howell, the congregation felt called to embark on this ministry for biblical reasons. The day care’s mission is to provide a loving, caring, spiritual environment for children, guided by the lesson in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

“The teachers that we hire are missionaries, because they’re telling children about Jesus,” Howell said. “I would love for every child to have the opportunity to grow up in a godly home. But if they can’t get [godly teaching] at home, we can give it to them during the day.” 

In the six years since Howell has been pastor of Barfield Baptist, he says this is the best ministry the church has started. 

“It was a growing need, and God planted the seed in our hearts,” he said. “We’ve had people in our church express that they’ve talked to people who were so thrilled, so excited that we were offering a day care. The children are enjoying it so much.”

Horn and her staff enjoy being with the children as well. 

“This is a ministry not just a school,” she said. “Missionaries are needed all over the world, including right here in our own hometown. We get a blessing out of it too.” 

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