OUR OPINION: Tupelo Children’s Mansion marks a notable 60 years

Tupelo Children’s Mansion celebrates its 60th anniversary today with a private banquet in Tupelo, the kind of low-profile affirmative method that has characterized its service to more than 1,500 children since its founding.

Its campus on East Main Street/Mississippi Highway 178 is easily noted by its landmark white-columned main building, providing a public identity to its whole existence. But it has not been TCM’s method to keep a high profile or make its religious identity as a United Pentecostal Church International affiliate a primary focus.

Its mission always has been the children referred to its care because of the loss of their parents or because they come from abusive or disadvantaged situations requiring assistance.

TCM, as a ministry of the UPC, doesn’t receive money from federal or state governments. It’s supported by churches, individuals and corporations from Northeast Mississippi and around the country. It scrupulously nurtures the relationships with its friends and supporters, who come from all over Northeast Mississippi and far beyond.

Representation in TCM’s support and governing structure comes in part from the geographic districts of the United Pentecostal Church nationwide.

In the longer view of Christian history, the care of “orphans” has been accepted as a biblical mandate.

Other faith streams continue to operate children’s homes, some in Northeast Mississippi, and most with the same kind of discreet profile and general method used by TCM.

The historic involvement in the care of children also is prominent in Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, United Methodist, Presbyterian and Churches of Christ work, to cite faith names familiar in Northeast Mississippi.

Scott Morris’ feature story on Monday about TCM’s 60th anniversary included a strong testimonial from an “alum” of the mansion.

Clifton Parker, 61, of Pascagoula, said he doesn’t know what his life would’ve become without Tupelo Children’s Mansion. His father was an alcoholic and his mother was never around. “I was there 12 years,” he said.

Parker’s a shift manager at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.

“Now, I’m 42 years with the same company. I’m respected for the work I do. I’ve won awards. It all stems from being raised at the Tupelo Children’s Mansion.”

“I’ve got my son who works at the yard,” he said. “I’ve set him up to take over my spot so the Mansion will still be supported.”

Faithful work creates its own reward.