Since 1965, Christian City has been positively impacting the lives of children and families. The nonprofit was founded when a group of church members discovered a need for a home for eight boys. What began as one cottage and 50 acres of donated land is now a beautiful 500-acre campus with housing for children and senior adults from independent retirement living to assisted living and skilled nursing.
The community is located at the southern edge of Fulton County between Fairburn and Fayetteville.
Thanks to the faithful generosity of individuals, civic groups, businesses, grantors, and churches, Christian City’s ministries have continued to provide life-changing hope through faith, community and care. Children living at Christian City today will look back one day and point to the place and people who made a difference in their lives. Over the past five plus decades, many have given Christian City credit for redirecting their lives to a more hopeful path.
Cathy Ledford was ten years old when she came to live at Christian City along with her sister and brother.
“All my worldly possessions were in a small grocery bag,” Cathy said. Their single mother loved her children, but she was unable to provide for them.
“While I’m sure the decision was heartbreaking for our mom, she entrusted Christian City to raise us with strong Christian values in a healthy, happy home. That was one of the best decisions she ever made,” said Cathy.
Even though she was only in fourth grade, Cathy already knew she wanted to break the cycle of poverty that had existed for several generations in her family.
“I also believe God has a hand in everything through His will,” Cathy said.
Thankfully, God led Cathy and her siblings to the home of Mom and Dad Kimmons at Christian City, a ministering house parent couple with a special gift for loving each child in their care. They encouraged each child to do their best as individuals.
“My house parents became my “real” parents,” said Cathy, “and they still are to this day.” They talk on the phone regularly, meet for Sunday meals, and celebrate holidays and special occasions together as a family.
“Dad and Mom Kimmons also planted the seed that led me and my husband, Stuart, to start a small business that has provided for our family and allowed us to send our children to Christian school. When we married in 1993, my dad, John Kimmons, walked me down the aisle at the church we attended as a family,” Cathy said.
Stuart and Cathy were blessed with three children, now 23, 21 and 19, who “have thankfully made good decisions in their lives due to their personal relationships with Jesus Christ and ongoing involvement with our church family,” Cathy says.
Their son, Justin, is in the U.S. Coast Guard; daughter, Sarah, will graduate from nursing school in May 2019 with a BSN degree; and the youngest, Kaitlin, was the valedictorian of her high school class. She is a freshman at Kennesaw State majoring in civil engineering.
It was at Christian City that Cathy experienced the value of a strong Christian family and accepted Christ as her savior. When she developed breast cancer in 2013, her strong faith in God along with the love and faith of family and friends saw her through the difficult times. Today, as a cancer survivor, she looks forward to seeing God’s plan unfold in her children’s lives, so they can be a blessing to others. “God is faithful,” she says.
Cathy’s favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
“Thanks to God, Christian City was in my path, and I am here to share this blessing with you today,” said Cathy.
If you would like to help Christian City continue to make a difference in the lives of children, visit christiancity.org/give to donate or learn more about the four programs serving children and families:
- Children’s Village Residential Program
- Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program
- Safe Place Program for Runaway & Homeless Youth
- Thrive Graduate Transition Program