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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Miracle Hill Ministries said the non-profit is amending its "spiritual identity" in order to allow people of the Catholic faith to serve as foster parents and employees.

The CEO has clarified the non-profit’s identity as an “evangelical, Christian, Gospel-infused mercy ministry.”

“We are grieved that the recent religious freedom struggle surrounding our foster care program has been mischaracterized in the media as a dispute between followers of Christ  instead of the right to exist as a Christian organization providing invaluable services to our community,” said Reid Lehman, President/CEO in a news release.  “Our calling as an organization is not primarily to evaluate and emphasize differences between various branches of Christianity or between denominations within Protestantism.  Rather, Miracle Hill’s spiritual identity is first and foremost that of brothers and sisters in Christ working together to minister to the needy in Christ’s name.”

In January 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services clarified that in South Carolina faith-based child welfare organizations may partner with those who share their religious beliefs while caring for children placed by the South Carolina Department of Social Services, a ruling that protected Miracle Hill Foster Care’s right to exist, according to a news release.  Miracle Hill said the Catholic Diocese of Charleston applauded that decision by saying, “This organization should not be forced to discontinue these life-affirming services because they desire to serve children consistent with their Protestant faith.”

Miracle Hill was also in the spotlight earlier this year when a Greenville same-sex couple filed a federal lawsuit turned down their request to be foster parents because they did not meet Miracle Hill’s religious criteria.

Miracle Hill said they are working to remedy their image after another lawsuit gave the impression that Miracle Hill was in a dispute with other followers of Jesus Christ.  “Although we advocate to protect the rights of Protestant and other religious organizations to work with those who share their faith, we recognize our previous stance has wounded other followers of Jesus Christ,” Lehman said in the news release. “For Miracle Hill, embracing Christians who share our beliefs simplifies our affiliation process while protecting core values and doctrinal consistency.  It’s the right thing to do.”

The organization’s spiritual identity is now defined as:

Miracle Hill Ministries defines itself as an evangelical, Gospel-infused mercy ministry. Christians who share a commitment to the Gospel and embrace our doctrinal statement in belief and practice are valued ministry partners in employment and fostering. God’s call on us is to be broad in our outreach and broad in our donor/volunteer base while standing firm on our core beliefs.  Miracle Hill wants to be known for what it stands for – our allegiance to Jesus Christ, His Good News, and serving those in need in Christ’s name. Miracle Hill Ministries is Protestant in doctrine, teaching, and leadership, but by broadening its policy surrounding employment and fostering, the organization expands its ability to serve the needy and vulnerable in Christ’s name and to heal wounds within the Christian community.

RELATED - Greenville couple files federal lawsuit claiming taxpayer-funded foster care agency's religious criteria violate constitutional protections

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