On Friday February 27, 2009 we had our final chapel service in the old Helping Up Mission building at 1029 East Baltimore Street, after almost 55 years of ministry there. We had all the current members of our Spiritual Recovery Program, staff and Board of Directors along with volunteers, donors and friends.
An Alumni singing group, One Step Up, and our current Helping Up Mission worship team provided music. We watched a PowerPoint presentation of historic photos of the Helping Up Mission campus (the 1000 block of East Baltimore Street) and Bob Gehman shared his personal memories of 15 years of ministry in that building. We also graduated 5 men from our Program – tying an all-time record for graduates in one week.
After the service, we began to take away from the building the things that we wanted to keep for the future. Pictures from the walls, the prayer rail, the front pews, and the cross at the front of the chapel were all removed. After demolition begins this week, we will take the chapel’s pillars and the maple hardwood floor to be incorporated into the new building. I am also planning on giving a small piece of the floor to each one of our graduates and alumni as a remembrance from where they have come. It is as one of the Board members reminded me, you don’t put new wine in old wineskins (Luke 5:37-38) — and it is time for the new wineskin at Helping Up Mission.
Helping Up Mission is a special place. But it is not a building – it is a ministry, a cause, a commitment to serve others. It represents all that is good about Baltimore and what can be done for anyone who is looking for answers in life. It is my privilege to work here.
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director