After 130 years in the community, the Rescue Mission of Utica held a concert to celebrate Friday night.
The concert, A Night of Praise & Worship, took place at Mohawk Valley Church in Marcy, featuring local musician Mark Bolos and Vincent of Vincent Music Ministry.
Rescue Mission Executive Director Wendy Goetz said the nonprofit’s 130th anniversary was indicative of the community support that has helped the nonprofit endure for generations.
“I think it shows an outstanding heritage of service to the community and the community’s commitment to the Rescue Mission,” Goetz said.
Faith and community support were key ingredients to the founding and longevity of the Rescue Mission. It got its start at a meeting of the First Prebysterian Church in Utica in 1890 after evangelist Sam Hedley stressed the need for a rescue mission to care for transient and alcoholic men.
Later the same year, the Rescue Mission of Utica opened at 24 Liberty St., providing at-need men with overnight lodging and soup, according to the Rescue Mission’s website. The charitable organization purchased its first building in Bagg’s Square in 1928 and often overflowed its 36-bed capacity.
The Rescue Mission relocated to 203 Rutger St. in 1971 and opened the county’s only sobering-up station in 1976.
Now, the Rescue Mission is open around-the-clock, providing myriad services from addiction stabilization and emergency shelter to meal and clothing programs. Faith, which is the past and present of the nonprofit, is key, Goetz said.
“We say the community sustains us, we give hope, but God undergirds us,” she said. “So what better way to open a 130th year than with a praise and worship concert that’s free.”
Now the goal for the Rescue Mission is to remain open for the next 130 years, Goetz said.
“We want to build those foundations and keep it building,” she said.
Article by Steven Howe