Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center partners with our local communities and neighbors to find solutions to poverty and to promote personal growth.
Our history from being a ministry of Christ Episcopal Church to a 501 c 3 Non-Profit.
Christ Episcopal Church in Biddeford was established in 1869 to meet the spiritual needs of the workers that migrated from England to work in the mills. From that time forward, Christ Church was a working-class faith community committed to feeding all aspects of the lives of Biddeford residents.
Since the mills moved south in the 40’s, Christ Church fluctuated in membership but the spirit of the place refused to allow it to close. The parish was convinced that it had a special purpose in Biddeford, to give witness to God’s love and to serve those in need in the community.
In 2008 Christ Church committed to furthering its mission in a collaborative outreach initiative with other churches and community organizations. The collaborative opened a drop-in center in September 2008, naming it the Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center. With our combined resources and experience, we formed a fierce vision of justice and compassion.
In 2011 the church realized that it could no longer sustain itself as a parish, but believed so much in the important work being done for our neighbors. Worship ended in December 2012, and in 2013 the ministry transformed into a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, non-sectarian and open to all people regardless of faith, although still providing spiritual support when requested.
Seeds of Hope has become an integral part of the local communities, serving individuals and families from many of our surrounding towns. We have broad local support and are increasingly called upon to provide assistance to our struggling neighbors.
SEEDS OF HOPE Timeline
Take a moment to scroll through the timeline of a mission transformed, from a small community parish to a vibrant secular non-profit serving northern York County.
It’s all started
Christ Episcopal Church was established on Bacon St. in Biddeford to meet the spiritual needs of the mill workers from England.
To accommodate the growing congregation, building on Bacon St. was sold to the Biddeford Hebrew Synagogue Association and a new building was constructed on Crescent St.
Mills were beginning to close, and the size of the congregation began to decline, which continued through early 2000’s.
Rev. Shirley Bowen was called as part-time rector. Pulled together all organizations using the building to envision how to best serve the local community.
In the midst of the financial crash in the United States, Christ Church, with support from other churches and organizations, created Seeds of Hope Neighborhood as a Jubilee Center focused on mercy and justice. Opened 4 hrs./ day 2 days/week and serving peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and coffee.
Opened 4 hrs./day, 4 days/week. Expanded food offerings to continental breakfast. Opened the Career Resource Center to assist those losing jobs during the financial crash.
It became evident that Christ Church could not sustain itself as a parish but wanted to work to continue. A Board was formed, and Seeds of Hope applied for 501 (c) 3 non-profit status, a secular, non-sectarian organization serving all people, and also maintaining the commitment to support people’s spiritual journeys when requested.
Hired a Development Associate to help expand our friend-raising & fundraising, with particular focus on local businesses. Continuing to add services as needs were identified.
Increased daily operations to 5 days/week.
10th Anniversary of serving the local communities.
Partnered with the City of Biddeford to open an Overnight Warming Center during extreme winter weather conditions. Hired an Assistant Director to manage the daily operations of the Center.
During the pandemic!
During the pandemic, Seeds of Hope never missed a day of service to our neighbors; and offered expanded services while other organizations had to close. Hired a Support Specialist to assist those seeking employment and access to government services.