On the last day of December 1953, the Articles of Incorporation were drawn up for a non-profit organization “For civic and charitable purposes and in connection therewith, to maintain and operate a perpetual refuge for those seeking comfort, rest, and a home.” This organization was named Homecrest Foundation. In the heart of those early organizers was the yearning to express to others the comfort, love, and care God is always expressing to each of His children.
The idea for establishing Homecrest came about in this way. Some individuals who had served in helping to establish Hill Top Center in Lake Bluff, Illinois, also observed that individuals who had come to Hill Top for healing, made wonderful demonstrations and then returned home to the cooking and cleaning, many without help. The idea to open a home for senior Christian Scientists where the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. was already done occurred to those who became the founders of Homecrest. They located a property in Evanston that was an apartment building and purchased and renovated it into separate rooms with private baths with financial help from the Christian Science field. Homecrest remained in this building until 1998.
Those early Trustees described the Homecrest beginnings as a “beautiful experience” and noted how many were blessed by this idea. Homecrest was the first residence home established in America. One other had begun in St. Louis, but did not continue. The Department of Care had recently been organized at The Mother Church in Boston, and Homecrest worked closely with them as they progressed. The Mother Church frequently recommended other groups to come to see what Homecrest had begun.
As the years progressed, residents who had been with Homecrest 20 or 25 years began to need some care. Homecrest provided that care so that the residents could stay in their apartments and took others who needed assistance with bathing and dressing. As more residents needed mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs, it became more challenging to transport the residents to the dining room for meals or up to the 8th floor for activities in the tiny elevator that had been part of the facility. The Trustees realized that the building was not conducive to providing the care that was now being given. When, in 1998, they were told that in order to be up to fire code, the building would need to have a sprinkler system installed, they began to look for other options.
A real estate agent put the Board in touch with the owner of Asbury Gardens, an independent living facility in North Aurora, Illinois. An agreement was worked out for Homecrest to move into Asbury Gardens while retaining its autonomy as a separate entity. The residents would be free to practice Christian Science as before, but would have services such as meals, housekeeping, and utilities provided by Asbury Gardens. With much help from volunteers and staff over a period of two days, Homecrest moved to North Aurora. A few years later, when Asbury Gardens became a Supportive Living Facility, Homecrest moved to its sister facility, Asbury Towers, and then later to Plum Landing when Asbury Towers closed its doors.
This arrangement worked well for Homecrest and the larger facilities. Homecrest provided a living room and office where residents and staff could meet, and it was free to provide care to its residents by bringing in Christian Science nurses and caregivers when necessary. Homecrest had its own full activity calendar, and its residents could participate in anything the larger facilities offered as well. Homecrest residents and staff found they also had a special opportunity to demonstrate and share Christian Science with those they met each day.
During this time, the Homecrest Foundation Board continued to examine Homecrest’s status and situation against the changing demands of the Christian Science community. More and more, individuals are striving to remain in their own home as long as possible, only looking to a facility when nursing or other short-term care is desired. In the summer of 2008, it became clear that a decision must be reached on the direction Homecrest should take to best bless the Christian Science field. Of the many qualities expressed over the years by Homecrest Foundation, generosity came most to the forefront in Board discussions. The recognition of this prominent characteristic opened the door to the next expression of Homecrest: a purely benevolent foundation.
In September 2008, Homecrest “shut its doors” at Plum Landing after seeing its last residents settled into new homes. Since then, the Board has embarked on a new adventure to frame Homecrest Foundation to meet its new purpose:
To provide benevolent assistance to senior Christian Scientists in need, by providing assistance for their residential living costs and/or care in individual residences, or senior residences or Christian Science nursing care facilities.
Please join the Homecrest Foundation Board in support of this new purpose and direction.