Mission, Philosophy & History
At United Methodist Communities our commitment to mission and pastoral care is unique. We are driven by principles of faith and charitable mission to serve seniors of all faiths, backgrounds and needs.
Throughout our 112-year history, UMC has continued to grow and innovate to meet the needs of older adults. The nonprofit, faith-based organization began in response to the post-Civil War need for retirement housing for Methodist missionaries, deaconesses, pastors, and laity.
Each of our full-service campuses has been designed as a continuum to allow residents to access multiple services under one roof. UMC customizes and scales services to accommodate residents’ needs. Our household models and resident-centered care promote greater autonomy and satisfaction.
Bridges Hospice and Palliative Care, offered in private assisted living neighborhoods, focuses on people who prefer not to or cannot do so at home. Aides, nurses and specialists and other associates, deliver care with a compassionate human touch.
Innovative clinical interventions are utilized to support care, maximize resident well-being, and promote physical activity and conditioning. Community life brings multidisciplinary programs to keep older adults engaged on every level.
In 2016, UMC broadened its ministry by implementing home and community-based services. HomeWorks, our homecare division, supports older adults at home, as well as those transitioning from or to hospitals, assisted living or nursing homes. With three locations HomeWorks offers personal care, , companions, and live-in services, as well as pastoral care in the comfort of home.
Senior Space serves as a platform for additional senior services and support. Open to older adults in the greater community, Senior Space has distinct programs such as dance, exercise, classes, groups and clubs, accessible resources, technology, discussions, mingling, and fun.
United Methodist Communities officially began in 1907, when a committee of women appointed by the New Brunswick District Preachers corresponded with pastors and members of the Methodist Episcopal churches of Monmouth County about the importance of establishing a home for the aged. The movement grew from a challenge posed by Rev. and Mrs. Henry Wheeler of Ocean Grove, New Jersey and championed by the New Brunswick District of the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church by The Rev. Dr. James W. Marshall, its superintendent.
In response to the challenge, they purchased a single home at 63 Clark Avenue in Ocean Grove. United Methodist Communities became incorporated on April 21, 1907 as the “Monmouth Methodist Episcopal Home for the Aged.” Unfortunately, fire destroyed the home on Sunday, February 6, 1916.
Although the residents safely evacuated, the building was a total loss. Many of the displaced residents temporarily relocated to a building adjacent to their previous home. Two Ocean Grove residents and the Bancroft Rest Home generously took in our residents who needed temporary shelter. In the meantime, construction began on a new, larger, semi-fire proof home to replace the Clark Avenue home.
In 1907, there were two conferences within the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Jersey: the Newark Conference and the New Jersey Conference These two conferences became one Episcopal Area and in 2000, both conferences merged to form the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church. We have been affiliated with both conferences since 1916 and retain strong ties with the Greater New Jersey Conference.
Since 1907, we have changed our name several times to reflect the changing identity within the church, our ministry, the evolving nature of elder care, and attitudes toward seniors in society. As the reach of our ministry increased, we changed our name to “The Methodist Episcopal Home for the Aged of the New Brunswick District” in 1911 and the “Methodist Episcopal Home for the Aged of New Jersey” in 1916. In 1939, when three Methodist bodies merged to form the Methodist Church, we dropped the term Episcopal from our name.
In 1965, when we had expanded to serving seniors in three locations, we took the name “The Methodist Homes of New Jersey.” When the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form the United Methodist Church in 1968, we added the word United to our title. In 2016, as we expanded into home and community-based services, rebranded our ministry and assumed our present title as “United Methodist Communities.”