Learn more about our Homes with Heart capital campaign at HCSHeart.org

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Revisiting the First Heritage Christian-Supported Home

Community partnerships have been critical to the agency’s success, dating back to the formative years. Before there were 85 residential programs supported by Heritage Christian Services throughout the Finger Lakes and Buffalo-Niagara regions, the first home on Jennifer Lane in Webster opened on June 24, 1984. The support of the United Church of Christ in Webster was crucial in establishing the home.

“What impressed me was the way [the founding families of Heritage Christian] spoke of the love for their children,” said the late Reverend Harold Dobstaff. “We [the church council] quickly got on board with what they wanted to do.”

The home on Jennifer Lane serves as a model of the quality, compassionate care we offer in our homes and settings and represents the fruitfulness and grace of faith communities for the people we support. The home was built on land donated by the United Church of Christ, and the faith community welcomed their new parishioners with open arms. A paved trail was established to allow people to pass straight to the church from home.

“The walkway between the home and our church serves as a symbol of the living connection between the church and Heritage Christian [Services],” said Dobstaff. Faith communities have been invaluable partners in the agency ’s growth, and eight of the agency’s certified residential homes are on land donated by churches, with even more sites developed in partnership with faith groups.

Today, 40 years later, the home on Jennifer Lane has been right-sized to support six people, with updates that make it safe and accessible. During the summer, they walk the trail over to the church for summer concerts. Harold Dobstaff’s compassionate leadership and the church’s partnership encouraged the agency to expand on its mission of honoring the dignity and worth of all people, and we are forever grateful.

To see key moments in HCS history, visit HeritageChristianServices.org/about/history.