History of Mt. Hope Nazarene Retirement Community
The Mt. Hope Nazarene Retirement Community has a long history and legacy of caring. In the late 1800’s several members of the Chiques Congregation of the Church of the Brethren needed a place to hold Sunday school. The need for a meeting house started to grow and land was purchased by local land owner John Wenger. It cost 6500.00 dollars to build the meeting house and horse shed. The congregation decided to name the site Mount Hope and the dedication was held in July 1910. The congregation met every other week at Mt. Hope, and it was known to have held many Love Feasts and revival services. There was no indoor plumbing at the time and there were very limited kitchen facilities. By 1954 the congregation was still growing in numbers and services at Mt. Hope were discontinued. Sometimes the building would be used for retreats and special events.
In 1966 the Dunkard Brethren purchased Mt. Hope and its property for the sum of 4000. Mr. Glen Ziegler from the White Oak Church of the Brethren was the Administrator to the home and made it a convalescent home. Many local people came to the home and it was known in the area as a place of wonderful care and a place of faith and spirituality. Mount Hope was also renowned for its home cooking and excellent cooks. As time went on the Dunkards felt it was appropriate to sell the building and the land.
One of the RN’s who worked at Mt. Hope heard that the property was for sale and brought it to the attention of her Pastor in another congregation. It had long been a dream of the Ephrata Church of the Nazarene to be able to supply its congregation and beyond places to be ministered to from birth to glory. The Ephrata Church already had a new church, a daycare center and a Christian school so it was only natural to complete the dream in purchasing a nursing home. Pastor B. W. Hambrick felt a strong leading by the Spirit to purchase Mt. Hope. He and a wonderful board of directors decided that Mount Hope should be a place that offered hope and ministry to Christ’s least of these, by providing affordable long term care in a Christian atmosphere as its predecessors the Dunkard Brethren had done.
In November 2007 the Dunkard Brethren sold Mt. Hope to the Nazarenes and a great Service was held with both churches and employees in attendance. It was a time of new beginnings and the mission to keep the legacy of caring strong from the past. Today Mt. Hope has a wonderful staff of over 80 employees whose main focus is to reach out to the needy not only in physical areas, but also in the spiritual, psychological and social areas as well. A part time Pastor, Ken Higginbotham is on call at all times and a campus church has been planted. The mission is headed up by Administrator Michele Tornabe who has over 25 years of experience with working with low income and need based populations. Many of the original staff have stayed on and the excellent patient care, clean environment and home cooking legacy lives on.