The organizations that eventually formed the foundation of what is now American Baptist Homes and Caring Ministries began their good work nearly a century and a half ago.
Some of the earliest groups that still claim membership in ABHCM started with the idea of helping society’s most vulnerable — older adults and children.
In 1869, as the United States was still struggling with the aftereffects of the Civil War while facing the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the Baptist Home of Philadelphia was formed to serve the needs of aging adults during a time when few had the resources to care for themselves into their later years.
In the words of one of the founding deacons, those involved in the home’s establishment went to work that year “with zeal and energy, without delay to begin the noble task of establishing a home for the aged and infirmed.”
Now known as Deer Meadows, the former Baptist Home of Philadelphia continues the organization’s long tradition of serving the needs of aging adults through continuing care that respects their dignity, creativity and experience.
In 1895, Central Baptist Orphanage opened in Lake Villa, Ill. The establishment of the safe haven for abandoned and homeless children was one of many efforts toward social justice put forth by early American Baptists.
The organization that began as Central Baptist Orphanage continues to serve children and young people as One Hope United and still operates the original orphanage site as a home for neglected youth. It has expanded to serve the needs of thousands of children and adults through group homes, foster family placement, counseling and child abuse prevention.
Though the names of these organizations have changed over the years, their commitment to serve those most in need has not. And as ABHCM’s work continues, so does its commitment to link our member agencies so they may provide each other with the support, information and leadership they need to better accomplish their missions.
Peace and blessings,
The Rev. Garth Brokaw
ABHCM President of the Board