Wednesday, March 25, 2009

McAuley Water Street Mission

from correction history
Jerry McAuley Mission Brings a New Day for Rescue to New York City
"I had a sort of trance or vision.... I had a house and people were coming in. There was a bath and they came in and I washed and cleansed them outside and the Lord cleansed them inside. They came at first by small numbers, then by hundreds, and afterwards by thousands. Something said to me, "Would you do that for the Lord if He should call you?" I felt that I could go down there where I had always lived. I was used to the filth and felt sure I should be called to work for Jesus there. Approximately 133 years ago a former inmate of NYC's Tombs and NY state's Sing Sing founded (along with his wife, an ex-prostitute) a rescue mission whose evangelical and rehabilitative work with the homeless and destitute continues to this day although the original wooden building in Lower Manhattan has been long gone. The year was 1872; the month, October, and the couple, Jerry and Maria McAuley. They named their mission house, at 316 Water Street, the Helping Hand for Men. It is reputed the first such rescue mission in New York -- a model for an uncountable number of such urban missions that followed across the country and around the world. Years later McAuley wrote about how he and his wife began the mission house: One day I had a sort of vision. I thought we had a house in the Fourth Ward, and a stream of people were coming in. I washed them outside, and the Lord washed them inside; and I cried as I thought, "O, if I could only do that for Jesus' sake." "Do it for one, if you can't do it for more," said Maria, and that's the way we begun, in an old rookery of a house in one room, and a little sign hung out: "THE HELPING HAND FOR MEN."

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