Helping Up Mission moved into 1029 East Baltimore Street in 1955 with a focus on overnight services to homeless men in our city. In the early 1990’s, that focus began to change, with an emphasis on long-term spiritual recovery for homeless men struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. For 55 years, that building served as been the hub of these activities. Then, on Friday 2/27/09 we had our last chapel service in that building, walked out the front door and locked it behind us.
For the next 14 months the old building was torn down and then rebuilt from the ground up. We used every other available space on our campus to continue to house and serve the men residing here as part of both our Overnight Guest Services and long-term Spiritual Recovery Program. Then, on Friday 4/30/10 we had our first chapel service in the newly-renovated building at 1029 East Baltimore Street. Since that date we have completely moved in and made it home, greatly enjoying our new chapel, program staff offices, classrooms, conference rooms, library, art room, Overnight Guest Services dorm and a beautiful rooftop observation deck.
Last Saturday (10/9/10) we officially dedicated the new 1029 with Helping Up Mission family and friends. There were tours of the new building throughout the day and a very special service in the chapel. Our choir sang (the best I ever heard them!), Director of Development and HUM graduate Kris Sharrar shared some moving reflections of sleeping on the old chapel floor and Executive Director Bob Gehman spoke about the changes here over the years. While he did not say so, the fact is that all the changes on this block during the past 15 years have all come under his leadership.
Dr. Harold A. Carter, Pastor of New Shiloh Baptist Church here in Baltimore, gave a stirring keynote address. Board of Directors President Ted Wiese offered a dedicatory prayer and did the ribbon cutting, assisted by the entire Board of Directors, mission staff and graduate interns, the architect and construction company staff and a number of government officials. Afterwards, we had a nice reception in our cafeteria in the adjacent (and connected) 1023 East Baltimore Street building.
The whole day was a wonderful success for a number of reasons. There was the moving participation of those on the stage that day, as well as all the prior staff efforts to plan and organize the event. But the men in the Helping Up Mission Spiritual Recovery Program did everything necessary to make the event work. Guys in environmental services and maintenance had the building and grounds beautiful, food service provided a wonderful reception, security and front desk personnel facilitated guest access to the building, the laundry had all the guys dressed well and table cloths clean and pressed, and development, program and library assistants led tours and explained the different functioning areas of the building.
Glory to God! And thanks to everyone whose gifts made this building possible, as well as all those who made this day a very special one.
Thrilled to be part of it all,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director