Oh, What a Year!

60th-HiResIt’s always amazing how quickly one year can go by. It seems like just yesterday we were finishing plans for our first 60th Anniversary event in the spring.

And now, here we are at the end of 2015 looking back at what a fantastic year of celebration it has been.

In 1955, God called Jim & Ellen Resh to take a leap of faith and move their young family from Cascade, Maryland to downtown Hagerstown to help reach people in need for Christ.

They packed up their family and belongings and started an adventure backed by faith and never looked back.

Now, 60 years later, thousands of lives have been changed thanks to the faith, dedication and hard work of those who have helped keep the vision of hope alive.

We are so thankful for being able to celebrate 60 years of hope in Hagerstown. We are able to do everything that we do without any financial help from the government. Because God has been so faithful by providing for us through the generosity of our community, we’ve been able to help reunite families, mend broken relationships, restore a life destroyed by substance abuse, provide housing for the homeless, give food to the hungry and reach the young generation with the hope of Jesus.

To everyone who has supported us, helped us, prayed with us and worked with us, we want to say a very sincere and genuine, “Thank You”. God has used you to reach people and change lives in a way that none of us will know until we get to Heaven.

These past 60 years are a testament to the people of this community who put others before themselves and share the gifts that God has provided with those in need.

We thank God for the opportunity to be the oldest, continually operational homeless facility in Hagerstown. We’re here to help the least, the last and the lost. We’ve been doing this for 60 years and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

Now as the clocks signify the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, we look forward to partnering with you in the future to continue the battle against homelessness, hunger and hopelessness.

Thank you for making 2015, and the past 60 years, so memorable!

Happy New Year! May God bless you and your family in great ways during 2016!

If you’re interested in stepping back in time once more or want to see some of the exciting things that happened during our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration then go to http://www.hopecenter60.com. Our anniversary website has plenty of pictures, stories and information about The Hope Center and everything that we’ve done in the past 60 years.

Germantown Church of God Hosts a Delicious Picnic!

Since 2005, one special Sunday evening in June the residents and staff at The Hope Center are invited to an evening of food, fellowship & worship from our good friends at Germantown Bethel Church of God in Cascade, MD.

The annual event is a chance for the members of the church to meet and mingle with the residents and staff at The Hope Center and to learn more about how the church’s continued support is helping change lives and reach people for Christ in Hagerstown.

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The evening begins with a delicious picnic full of wonderful foods prepared and provided by the church families in attendance. This year, though, was a wee bit different.

Usually there are hamburgers and hot dogs served at the picnic but this year the church did something a little unexpected and had a delicious pig roast! The pig was prepared by Ed and Margaret Baker of Sabillasville, MD.

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Following the food, everyone gathers together for the evening service hosted by The Hope Center. The service included songs and testimonies from the men. The service is also a time for the church members to hear about all the work that God is doing at The Hope Center and receive an inspiring message to challenge everyone in attendance.

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Germantown Church of God has been partnering, supporting and helping in various ways at The Hope Center for many, many years. In fact, Germantown has been involved with The Hope Center since at least the spring of 1956!

We are so thankful for the lifelong commitment the people of Germantown Church of God have made to this ministry! They understand the importance of the work done at The Hope Center and they take an active part following God’s command to reach all people for Christ.

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And we really appreciate the yearly invitation for our residents and staff to get to know and see the faces of the people who help to make this ministry possible. We want to give a big “thank you” to Pastor Mark Hosler and his wife, Sue, for always being such wonderful hosts, faithful supporters, and for promoting God’s work here at The Hope Center to their church family.

Thank you, Germantown Church of God, for your support and friendship through the years!

If you would like to know more about Germantown Church of God, please visit http://www.germantowncog.org or call 301.241.3050.

Happy Birthday, Jim!!

Today, March 20th, would have been the 98th birthday of James Resh, the founder of The Hope Center.

Many of you reading this might not have any idea of the man behind this ministry. The story of how the Hagerstown Rescue Mission, which later became the Hope Center, cannot be told without telling about the incredible man, and his incredible wife, who tirelessly worked following God’s call to reach the least, the last and the lost.

Jim & Ellen on the set of "Echoes of Hope"

Jim and his wife, Ellen, opened the Hagerstown Union Rescue Mission on Jail Alley in 1955. Feeling the call of God to reach out to the homeless and drunk men of the region, Jim & Ellen packed up their belongings and moved from a quiet, peaceful life in Cascade, Maryland into the heart of Hagerstown’s inner city.

When Jim received the call to minister he was working at Fairchild Industries in Hagerstown. Deciding to leave that job and move his family was not a popular decision to others in Jim’s family but he knew that God would provide. As soon as Jim and Ellen took that initial leap of faith, Jim had officially found his calling. He knew that starting a rescue mission and reaching Hagerstown’s inner city was exactly what God had planned for his life!

To say that Jim was passionate about helping others is an understatement. After Jim’s passing, his wife Ellen wrote this about Jim, “It seemed Jim had energy to spare, for he was never satisfied with just one mission. From our local mission came six other missions, all because Jim said ‘Here I am Lord, use me’. And He did!”

Jim was definitely a visionary. He was constantly looking for new projects and better ways of helping those in need. He wanted to live the Great Commission. Ellen recalls, “I remember when we would go on a little vacation in whatever town we would pass through, if Jim saw an empty building he would say, ‘That would make a good rescue mission.’ If it were possible, he would have started a mission in every town in America”.

In addition to starting the Hagerstown Rescue Mission and other area missions, he also created the Good Samaritan Lodge, a facility outside of Hagerstown which is now home to the graduates of the Foundations men’s program. He also had a hand in the creation of many other projects including Cedar Ridge Children’s Home, Four States Crusade for Christ, Four States Prophesy Conference, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, WJAL TV 68, a radio program and Echoes of Hope weekly TV broadcast.

Jim truly loved the Lord and took his calling into ministry very seriously. Through the years there were always challenges and trials but Jim knew that keeping focus on winning souls for Christ was the whole point of the Rescue Mission. As Jerry Falwell said of Jim, “Jim Resh was a simple man, a humble man. He sought no glory for himself. Souls were his motivation.”

On March 29, 1996, the Lord took Jim home to be with Him. And while he may no longer be with us on earth, his legacy is still making an impact today. His devotion to the Lord and his heart for people in need  is still changing lives today.

Jim would always say, “keep on, keeping on!” And thanks to his love for Christ and dedication to reaching others, the Hope Center is still fighting the good fight and reaching those who are often overlooked in our society.

Happy Birthday, Jim! You are greatly missed!