Community Home Services: Caring in the name of Jesus

by Mary J. Tidey, Souderton, mtidey@communityhomeservices.orgMary Tidey

Community Home Services is now beginning its 17th year of providing home care to those in need in this community. Founded on Anabaptist principles, CHS provides well-trained and supervised staff to meet the needs of the elderly and disabled in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia in their homes.

CHS was founded in 1995 with Ruth Mumbauer as Administrator. Ruth did the initial hard work of hiring workers, establishing policies and procedures and marketing the services offered in local churches and throughout the community. In 1997, Diane Tihansky began to serve as Executive Director. Building on the foundation laid by Ruth, the company saw much growth under Diane’s direction. The scope of services was refined and expanded to meet the changes and challenges of the 21st century.

I joined CHS in 1998 as Operations Director. I was attracted by the Christ-centered mission of the organization which describes CHS as a ministry charged with giving care to elderly and disabled persons in the Mennonite/ Brethren tradition of caring. This felt like a good fit for me from the beginning. When Diane resigned last year, I was happy to take up the reigns as Executive Director.

It has been a busy and challenging first year. CHS employs 100 workers and has provided care to approximately 4000 clients in this area. I am humbled by the task of leading this organization and grateful for a Board of Directors which provides direction and guidance to me and the CHS Management Team.

I am extremely proud of our employees who work so hard to bring the care our clients need to their doors. Our staff can be a bright spot in the day of someone who spends too much time alone or respite for overwhelmed caregivers. Sometimes they are eyes and ears of children who live a distance away. More times than I can count, they have intervened to prevent a true crisis for someone living alone.

I came to faith in a Christian home, raised by parents who were active members of Souderton Mennonite Church and then BranchCreek Community Church. My personal faith was deeply influenced by watching my parents. They were a wonderful example of faith in action. The example they set taught me that doctrine and theology pale in importance when compared to living Christ-like. Allowing others to see Christ in you is being light in a world that can be very dark.

My work experience prior to coming to CHS was with Grand View Hospital as a Registered Nurse for 24 years. Working in various capacities including Emergency Department, nursing management and Hospice gave me many learning opportunities. I have learned that life is very precious and sometimes we do not get to choose our own path. Sometimes, the only control we have is our response to the hand we are dealt.

I have also learned that most people are hurting, even if it’s beneath the surface, most of the time. This is what each of us has in common with every other human being: we are all vulnerable. Knowing this helps us understand those around us and makes us a little more patient. This is why caring in the name of Jesus is the most effective way to reach out to someone.