November 29: Epiphany Church Home (1857)

The Epiphany Church Home, the principal medium for the local social work of the church after 1857, had its genesis in a meeting of the male members of the congregation on November 22 of that year at which they agreed to establish an organization for “extending relief to the sick and the poor, the ignorant and the destitute” living within Epiphany Parish. The specific aims were to be: to seek out the sick and the needy and relieve them; to take charge of destitute orphans; to find employment for those who lacked the means to support themselves; to exert an influence over the youth of both sexes “who may be tempted to form idle or dissolute habits”; to instruct those so benefited through church services and lectures, and by establishing a Sunday School and such other schools as might be practicable; to secure the gratuitous services of one or more physicians to care for the poor of the parish; and “to obtain a house at which the beneficiaries of the parish may be provided, for a longer or shorter time, with a home,” and one that could serve also as a haven for the relief of destitute sick persons.

Before the end of November 1857, it was agreed to call the new enterprise “The Epiphany Church Home Association”; to establish a male Board of Managers (the rector, wardens, vestrymen, and four others) to run it, that would meet annually on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, to review its work; and to support the work by monthly pledges of $1.00 or more. Initially there were sixty-six subscribers including several ladies. Despite the breadth of its aims, the Home from its beginnings became principally a haven for indigent women, and some children, and a medium for providing poor women able to work in their homes with sewing as a means of livelihood. The Home remained in operation, in various locations (including 1221 Massachusetts Avenue NW depicted here) and with varied goals until January 1958 when it was consolidated with the Episcopal Church Home.

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