Tiny House in Eden Village in Memory of Henry Simpson Jr.
Henry Simpson was born and raised in downtown Wilmington, served in Vietnam as a member of the US Army, was employed as a maintenance worker by the New Hanover County schools for many years, but his mental illness caused him to become homeless until he found our downtown campus to be his “home” for the last 20 years of his life. Henry loved First Baptist and kept the sidewalks of his church spotless. A man of few words, Henry’s life among us proved his dedication to our church. He passed away just inside the safety of our Education Building on Sunday, August 22, nine days shy of his 71st birthday.
We gave God thanks for the gift of Henry among us on September 9, and interred his cremains in a niche in our columbarium near the place he swept most days and slept most nights. We dearly miss Henry every day, but especially on Sunday mornings as we gather downtown.
We have decided to remember Henry by receiving memorial gifts needed for a “Tiny House” in the new Eden Village of Wilmington, a 32-unit tiny home gated community specially designed to provide permanent homes for chronically homeless individuals including persons with mental illness. Our house will be number 26 of the 32 houses. These homes will be wheelchair accessible, fully furnished and arranged in a courtyard setting and be accompanied by a community garden and clubhouse center. Each resident pays a portion of their monthly earnings from sources that include, but are not limited to, Disability, SSI, Pension, Veteran Benefits, Family Trust/Support, income from work, external means, etc. to pay for rent and amenities within the Eden Village community.
The financial goal our church must meet is $40,000 to provide the “Henry Simpson House.” An Anonymous Challenge Gift that will match all donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000 has been provided to get us started toward reaching our goal. In addition to providing a house, our church will also commit to having a few members develop friendships with the resident by visiting him/her often, having meals with them and encouraging them to take part in our church community. It is a away for us to be intentional about bringing the Kingdom of God to ILM.