History of the Mary Kendall
Campus in Owensboro, Kentucky
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, Òtheir
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.
Mary Kendall started the ministry to help women and children over 100
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 purchased in 1984 and became 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 combine the 100-year-old
history of the Mary Kendall with the 134-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-that is 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 with our Mary Kendall Campus!
A BRICK PAVER!
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of
The Mary Kendall Campus, a garden of engraved pavers has been created
around the pond in front of the Boys’ Emergency
Shelter on the main campus at 193 Phillips Court in Owensboro.