By Jennifer HarrisWord&Way News Writer
Families entering the building at 1837 East Cherry Street in Springfield are greeted with calming light green walls, cozy sitting areas and friendly staff.
The new offices of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home Children and Family Ministries show no trace of the building’s former life as Southwest Missouri’s only abortion clinic.
“Buildings, like people, can be redeemed by God and be used for service and ministry,” said Robbi Haynes, director of marketing and recruitment for MBCH Children and Family Ministries.
The clinic shut its doors in 2005, after legislative changes required abortion providers to obtain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their clinics. The Springfield clinic’s doctor commuted from St. Louis, well beyond the 30-mile radius.
The owners of the building, Doin and Dianne Loftis, decided to donate the building to the Pregnancy Care Center, a private not-for-profit organization committed to helping pregnant women bring healthy babies into the world and preparing parents for parenthood. The building sat empty for nearly a year.
Meanwhile, MBCH CFM had outgrown the space they leased from the Greene County Baptist Association and spread out into a number of different churches and businesses, including Second Baptist Church, Springfield; First Baptist Church, Ozark; and the Greene County Library Center.
MBCH CFM approached Cindy Boston, director of the PCC, about leasing the space. The building has now been remodeled, and MBCH CFM moved into their new space in November. They recently showed it off during a Jan. 15 open house.
The building houses the offices for MBCH CFM staff who supervise the placement of approximately 120 children in foster care, Haynes said. The new office space has rooms for family support team meetings, which involve workers, family members, attorneys, teachers and others involved in decision -making for a child, a foster parent training room and space for informational meetings.
“One of the neatest things about this building is the family visiting room,” Haynes said.
“When we have a biological family who can spend time with their children, we’re now able to provide a nice place for that to happen. The room is furnished like a living room in a home, with a couch, rocking chair, toys for the kids, a table and chairs…This allows the biological parents to rock a baby, get down on a warm, carpeted floor to play or even share a sack lunch with their kids.”
And, of course, the staff break room is a big hit.
“We are honored with the partnership of MBCH Children and Family Ministries as they reside in the Cherry Street facility,” said Boston.
“What was once a place of pain and sorrow, the former abortion clinic now is a place of hope and healing for children and families. What a miracle!”
For mre information about foster care, contact Haynes at Robbi.Haynes@mbch.org.