About Mary Kendall Adoption
A bit of history...
Since 1904, the Mary Kendall Campus has helped thousands of children and families throughout Kentucky. Mary Kendall's original mission, to rescue women and children from abuse, serve unwed mothers, and provide housing for homeless and orphaned children, is historically similar to that of today's Kentucky United Methodist Children's Homes. Kentucky United Methodist Homes serves children with histories of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and family trauma.
Early in the 20th Century, Mary Kendall, wife of Settle Memorial UMC's pastor Rev. T. H. Kendall, led a women's non-denominational Bible study group. This group, called the Women's Union Bible Club, not only delved into studying God's word, but also reached out into their surrounding community to perform benevolent acts to aid the less fortunate. The ladies tried to reach out to an unwed teen mother who had worked as a prostitute and wanted to give up her child. Despite the ladies' attempts to persuade the young girl to seek a better life, she instead committed suicide and the group took upon themselves the responsibility of caring for the child. The infant had cholera and, even though he received around the clock nursing from the ladies, succumbed to the disease. The ladies were deeply saddened by this experience. The deaths of this young mother and infant so moved the ladies that, in the words of Mrs. Mary Kendall, “Other hearts were diffused with the mind of Christ so that a revival in our church quickly followed and later resulted in a city-wide revival in which all denominations participated. “After the citywide revival, the ladies of Owensboro Bible Club formed the Women's Christian Association (WCA), which was led by Mrs. Mary Kendall. In a letter dated 1929, written by Mary Kendall, she said, "Through the activities of this body, with the Bible Club, a rescue home for unfortunates among women and children came into life; the women, to show their love and appreciation of my labors in their midst, called this home The Mary Kendall Home." She added, "It would have been more pleasing to me had others given these facts, for I feel unworthy of the honor bestowed."
The Mary Kendall Home was saved from financial ruin in 1984 by becoming a part of the Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children, under the direction of Dr. Donald Durham. Since the Mary Kendall Home came into existence because of an effort spearheaded by United Methodist Women, it is fitting that the Kentucky United Methodist Children's Homes would step in to save Mary Kendall. The rich heritage of both campuses combines the 100-year-old history of the Mary Kendall Home with the 133-year-old history of the Kentucky United Methodist Children's Homes to make us one of the finest agencies in the state.
The Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children serves a similar purpose as it did when it was established: to help those children and families who are suffering to receive help and hope. We are serving more children and providing more services than ever before. All of this is possible because years ago compassionate Christians united to help women and children who were thrown into desperate situations. We have much to celebrate on this 100th birthday of our Mary Kendall Campus!