Our history

Over 100 years of hope

The Harrisburg City Rescue Mission is founded

December 22, 1914

The Harrisburg City Rescue Mission is founded

On December 22, 1914, Harrisburg City Rescue Mission is founded by “uncle” Jim Barker. In 1914, Mr. Griffith Jones arrived in Harrisburg from Scranton, Pennsylvania for the purpose of starting a City Rescue Mission. He hired a room at No. 3 North Fifth Street, in the rear of a saloon,…

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The Mission is incorporated

January 19, 1917

January 19, 1917 – The Mission is incorporated officially taking the name “Bethesda Mission.” Early in 1915 the Mission moved to new quarters at No. 107 South Second Street, on the square in Harrisburg, and eventually occupied part of No. 101 to 105 and all of No. 107 South Second…

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Bethesda Mission moves

September 1, 1934

Bethesda Mission moves

September 1, 1934 – Bethesda Mission moves into the PA Railroad YMCA building at 611 Reily Street. The impressive building that housed the Railroad YMCA at 611 Reily Street stood for 3 decades in service to the railroad men and their families.  The purchase of the building by Bethesda Mission…

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Rev. Henry Reinhart retires

January 1, 1951

Rev. Henry Reinhart retires

1951 – Rev. Henry Reinhart retires after 26 years becoming Bethesda’s longest serving Superintendent. Reverend Henry Reinhart, a former “booze-soaked” salesman from Cleveland, Ohio, became Superintendent of Bethesda Mission in 1925. Reverend Reinhart had stopped to scoff at a gospel street service when he remained to pray and became converted. …

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The Bethesda Mission Radio Hour

January 2, 1952

The Bethesda Mission Radio Hour

1952 – The Bethesda Mission Radio Hour begins broadcasting live every Saturday night on WHGB. Continues through the 70’s. Talented Christians from a number of different churches came faithfully each week to participate in our radio broadcast. The hymn, `Since Jesus Came Into My Heart,’ introduced `The Bethesda Mission Hour’…

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Women’s and Child Family Center

May 6, 1983

Women’s and Child Family Center

May 6, 1983 – Bethesda Mission “Women’s and Child Family Center” opens. In the early 1980s, Bethesda Mission decided to invest in a shelter for women. Until this time, when women and children showed up at Bethesda’s door, they were fed and given shelter at a local motel. Formerly Pleasantville…

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Bethesda Mission Youth Center opens

September 25, 1990

Bethesda Mission Youth Center opens

September 25, 1990- Bethesda opens youth center. The 1990’s were a time of significant growth for the Mission as the desire to continue adapting with the shifting needs of the community took on different forms. 1990 marked the opening of Bethesda Mission’s Youth Center – a direct response to the…

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The Medical Clinic partners with the Hershey Medical Center

January 2, 1992

The Medical Clinic partners with the Hershey Medical Center

1992 – The Medical Clinic as we know it today has its beginnings and a formal partnership with the Hershey Medical Center is established. Additionally, Bethesda’s ability to offer limited medical care was reignited under the volunteer leadership of Dr. Scott Weitzel and his wife. By 1992, a formal partnership…

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Both the Helmsman long-term recovery program and Mobile Mission are started.

January 2, 1993

Both the Helmsman long-term recovery program and Mobile Mission are started.

The Helmsman program was started to address the need for continued care long term. This program helps restore lives that have been nearly destroyed by alcohol and drug addiction. Many Bethesda guests have a substance abuse problem and accompanying dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors. The Helmsman program offered a Christian framework…

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Outreach Ministry is established

January 2, 2001

Outreach Ministry is established

Recognizing that poverty and hunger are less visible, yet harder to cure in outlying areas, an outreach to rural communities began in 1996. By January 2001, Bethesda Mission Rural Outreach Ministries was in full operation, distributing thousands of pounds of food and household supplies throughout the region out of rented…

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Men’s Shelter major renovation

June 9, 2009

Men’s Shelter major renovation

A large financial decision loomed over the Mission in the mid 2000’s: what to do with the deteriorating landmark at 611 Reily Street. After attempts to relocate were denied by the city, a six-million dollar renovation project was undertaken on June 1, 2007.  Just two years later on June 9,…

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Medical and Dental Clinics are completed

May 2, 2014

Medical and Dental Clinics are completed

Bethesda was able to move forward in constructing a two-story Medical & Dental Clinic on the west side of the Men’s Shelter demonstrating Bethesda’s continued commitment to meeting the changing needs of the Harrisburg community. In May 2014, Bethesda’s state-of-the-art Medical and Dental Clinics were completed which has greatly improved Bethesda’s ability to provide…

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Bethesda Mission turns 100 years old!

December 22, 2014

Bethesda Mission turns 100 years old!

December 22, 2014 marks Bethesda Mission’s century of rescuing, redeeming and restoring hurting men, women, and youth who had lost hope. A penetrating light reaching into lives filled with darkness, Bethesda Mission looks into the next 100 years, continuing to offer opportunities to be changed for eternity. “Rescue is our…

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