Monroe County United Ministries is a nurturing organization serving working families and those in distress by assisting with emergency needs and subsidized childcare. We provide quality education and a safe place for children, basic needs assistance for the poor and community service opportunities.
In 1939, the President of the Bloomington Council of Church Women, Mrs. George Purcell, appointed a committee to investigate potential community projects. Under the guidance of Alice Moore, this committee developed a plan to bring together religious organizations to provide a service for the low-income families living on the northwest side of Bloomington, then called "The Hill" or "Pigeon Hill." Mary Lou Miller, who had studied the new idea of preschool education, brought her expertise and enthusiasm to the group and a plan to open the Bloomington Day Nursery was developed. The nursery opened in the fall of 1940.
Services eventually expanded to include afterschool care for older children, which included programs ranging from knitting clubs to reading groups. The Bloomington Day Nursery changed its name to the Christian Center to better reflect its growing scope of services. In 1951, a new building was built on West 14th Street. Today, this building houses MCUM's Emergency Services Program, administrative offices, and the summer camp. Over time services expanded to include the Christian Center Federal Credit Union, tutoring programs, an adult literacy program, a rummage room, music lessons, a mentoring program, and many more offerings. Due to changing priorities, preschool services were phased out in 1957 but were re-established in 1968. Also in 1968, the Reverend W. Douglas Rae Garden was established to honor one of its strongest advocates after his death. At one time, the center was providing services in at least three locations: the Southside Neighborhood House on East Hillside Drive, The Dugout at 1316 South Stull, and the center on 14th Street.
In 1968, the center's rummage project was expanded to create Opportunity House at 907 W. 11th Street. Church Women United (the current name for Bloomington Council of Church Women) provided the volunteers and initiative to start this resale shop, which proved to be an incredible success from the day the doors opened.
The late 1960's and 1970's brought many changes to this organization. The Christian Center changed its name to Monroe County United Ministries to better reflect its relationship with the faith community. Community worship services would no longer be offered and the mission shifted to providing outreach opportunities and service involvement to local congregations. In 1975, after two years of planning, fundraising and building, a new preschool building opened with the capacity to serve 60 children. United Ministries also added a summer day camp program for school children and services for seniors. In 1999, after years of more planning, fundraising and building, a renovated and expanded preschool building was re-opened.
MCUM provided the first preschool facility, the first emergency shelter for the homeless, and one of the first social service organization in Monroe County. Many services and programs began at MCUM and then spun off on their own. The Community Kitchen of Bloomington and Monroe County began serving food out of MCUM's kitchen, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana grew from the Christian Center's mentoring program, senior services were eventually adopted by various other community organizations such as the City of Bloomington and Area 10 Agency on Aging. The local faith community started this organization and many of the founding congregations are still operating and supporting MCUM today. The Bloomington Council of Church Women is now called Church Women United of Monroe County.
We believe in children
In striving for positive development, well being and safety of children
That by providing our services to children, we benefit the community in the future
In providing services to meet developmental needs
In the commitment to licensing standards
We believe in families
In families in their own diversity
In helping families to meet their goals
That families receiving services 'belong'
In translating human values to the children and parents
In parents striving to improve the life of children
We believe in people
In the intrinsic worth of every person
That people in need deserve help
In targeting our services to those in need
In helping those who are willing to help themselves
In acknowledging our role as collaborator with the person in need
In a holistic approach
We believe in faith
That faith serves as the foundation for action
In acting on our faith
That supreme guidance leads our work
We believe in ourselves
In our own knowledge and skills - that we merit support in community
In good stewardship
In lifelong learning