For three successive Sundays in September of 2005, a joint, adult Sunday School class was held in the FBG Parlor. The speaker, Deborah McKetty, reported on the results of an exhaustive study on the needs for affordable housing in Greenville. (Deborah is currently the CEO of Community Works of Carolina, an organization that provides financial education, lending, and investing for underserved families and communities.) In the course of her remarks, Deborah stated, “One of the best approaches to meeting the needs for affordable housing is to create a Community Development Corporation (CDC).” And then she made this statement, “Even churches can form a CDC.”

Deborah’s comment quickly became the impetus for our church forming what we now know as Genesis Homes. Incorporated as a nonprofit Community Development Corporation in 2006, from its inception, Genesis Homes has benefitted from the superb leadership of its President and CEO, Jim Childress.

Jim is retiring from this position, but his leadership in this organization, along with his strong advocacy on behalf of the needs of low-wealth families in our community, will be felt for generations to come. Under Jim’s leadership, Genesis Homes is responsible for building nearly 50 new, affordable homes, and currently owns an additional 30-40 lots that will be developed in the near future.

At a reception on July 13th, residents and leaders of neighborhoods where affordable homes have been built, City of Greenville officials, members of the Genesis Homes Board of Directors, FBG staff members, supporters and long-time friends of Jim, gathered to congratulate, honor, and express their profound appreciation to him for his 11 years of faithful and stellar leadership as President of Genesis Homes. Ginny Stroud, Community Development Administrator for the City of Greenville, read and presented an official proclamation from City Council declaring July 13, 2017, as Jim Childress Day in the City of Greenville.

In remarks about his tenure, Jim characteristically gave credit and thanks to the many people who have supported and assisted him along the way – his amazing wife, Ethel, was at the top of that list! And then Jim reflected on what has meant the most to him over his 11 years of service. Jim said, “The opportunity to meet and develop genuine friendships with many residents, the chance to learn and understand the struggles many of our fellow citizens face on a daily basis, and the blessing of being able to earn the trust of the residents we have assisted, this has been the highlight…this has meant the most to me. It’s been a true blessing.”

Congratulations, Jim, and many thanks for your outstanding leadership of Genesis Homes.

— Baxter Wynn