WHO WE ARE
Often, to best understand who an organization is, it’s best to look at its foundation.
Bethesda began as the private ministry of Reverend Henry and Mariechen (Maria) Wiebe who emigrated from Ukraine, Russia, to Canada in 1927. Having worked in Bethanien Psychiatric Hospital in South Russia, the Wiebes had an understanding and compassion for the mentally ill.
In 1934, the Wiebes were approached by some leaders in the Mennonite Brethren Church from Kitchener asking if they might use their skills to help other immigrants struggling with the turmoil of mental illnesses. So the Wiebes took the first patient into their home in Stratford, Ontario.
The ministry grew. By 1937 there was a need to accommodate more people suffering with mental disorders, and so the Wiebes bought a 75 acre farm in Vineland (our current Fly Road site). From this formal beginning in 1937 until 1944, Bethesda was supported solely by voluntary contributions. Recognizing the necessity for more practical support, Reverend Wiebe approached the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches about purchasing the Fly Road property.
By 1949, Bethesda had 22 patients cared for by a staff of four practical nurses, one orderly, and one part-time registered nurse. Henry and Maria Wiebe remained as the supervisors. Once again recognizing the growing need around them, the Conference constructed a modern building with a 30 patient capacity and additional facilities for treating out-patients.
In 1966, Bethesda expanded its services to include individuals with a developmental disability. Over the next decade, there was a shift to providing a variety of supports to those with special needs. That trend of responding to needs has continued to this day.
Over time, we have steadily expanded our facilities, programs, and staff to optimally support people in need. Today, our staff of nearly 500 support over 2400 individuals from throughout the Niagara, Hamilton, Brant, and Haldimand and Norfolk regions.
Our desire to support people in the Spirit of Christ remains today.
To provide in the Spirit of Christ, a continuum of holistic services and supports that will enhance the quality of life for people who have a developmental disability.
We will continue to be a supporting, encouraging, and caring community to persons who have a developmental disability by providing quality services and supports in a responsible, accountable, and innovative manner.
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