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The inspiration that became Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc. (VUMH) came from our Wesleyan heritage. John Wesley understood that to do God’s will, one must respond to human need. He had great concern for health and wellness of individuals and communities. In his own journal reflections, Wesley wrote about many factors he attributed to his own successful aging into his eighties. He recorded insights Wesley wrote about many factors he attributed to his successful aging into his eighties. He recorded insights on a variety of topics including the importance of a good diet, feeling useful and remaining active.
There is no wonder that as the Methodist movement grew in the United States, there was a growing concern for our oldest citizens. On November 19, 1850, twenty-three older women moved into the first Methodist-related home for persons who were aging. Over time, connections developed between Virginia Conference churches and older adult services in neighboring states. Serious discussion began in the 1930s about the needs of our own older adults. At the Annual Conference in Lynchburg in 1944, a report was submitted asking that Bishop William Walter Peele appoint a committee with authority to incorporate a board for the Home for the Aged and what would become VUMH was born.
VUMH is currently one of five health and welfare organizations historically connected to the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Each year, VUMH reports on its activities and requests continuation of the faith-based connection through a relationship agreement between the VUMH Board of Directors and the Virginia Conference. One understanding within the relationship statement is that opportunities for hands-on service and financial support of our benevolent care mission will be presented to churches across the conference. Each year, the Annual Conference encourages support for the special offering for the Samaritan Program between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day each year.
In keeping with the Wesleyan tradition of social concern and holistic health, VUMH recognizes its commitment to community engagement and partnerships to improve the quality of life for persons who are aging in the broader community. The connection of VUMH with the Older Adult Council of the Virginia Conference UMC is an important part of this outreach. VUMH assists local churches in developing intentional Older Adult Ministries by providing:
Our dedication to enhancing the lives of seniors is built upon our rich legacy, stretching back more than 70 years. This tradition of experience and our Wesleyan heritage provide a firm foundation for our focus on the future, our commitment to continued leadership in building better tomorrows for every individual.