I was recently questioned why we chose to use the term “Orphan” in our organization’s name. We were asked if we had been aware that to some people this word is negative, and even offensive. Obviously, I explained it was not our intention to encourage labels on a child or offend anyone. I also would be lying if I did not say that we knew that using this term was taking a risk. It was a very conscious and intentional decision when we chose the name “City Without Orphans.”
The reality is that in our faith of Christianity, God uses this word. He talks about the “orphan” all over the pages of our Bible. When doing a Hebrew search on the word “Orphan” it revealed that the root comes from the words lonely and vulnerable. Is this not what our children in the foster care system in the United States and all over the world are at this point and time?
One of our goals with City Without Orphans is to engage our churches in living out our faith in action by caring for these vulnerable children. The scriptures do not talk about “foster children” because this term was not relevant to their era, but the issues these children faced were. The same reasons children were abandoned and neglected then happens today. We believe using the term “orphan” to talk to the church about their call to get involved helps Christians understand that this wasn’t just a Biblical mandate thousands of years ago…we still have a broken world where, unfortunately, children are abused, neglected and abandoned.
We hope that as you see our vision of Fresno being a city (and really the greater world) known for caring for these children you then can understand our name.
To look at reference of scriptures on Orphans visit Tom Davis’ Blog http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/2006/11/scriptures-on-c.html