How two 19th-century women turned faith, hope, and love into a Life. Embraced.

Over One Hundred Years of Ministry

Messiah Lifeways traces its origins to 1895, when two women from the Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ congregation met with friends and expressed deep concern
for widows and orphans.

Through the diligence of a small, but determined group, the first Messiah Rescue and Benevolent Home finally opened on March 1, 1896 in one-half of an existing building at 1175 Bailey Street in Harrisburg. Meager donations, and gifts of goods and furniture, supported the new ministry. In late 1897, the building was razed to allow construction of a new, three-story frame structure that included a chapel seating 300. In May 1899, the Brethren in Christ Church formally accepted ownership of the home.

The Orphanage

In 1901, through specially donated funds, a separate brick building was constructed on the Bailey Street property to serve as an orphanage. By 1914, the orphanage moved to a 16-acre property near Grantham, PA, and ultimately to a site in Lancaster County (the current location of Mount Joy Country Homes).

The Home

During the early years of the century, the population of the home grew steadily. To accommodate the home’s growth, a new, larger, brick facility was built at the intersection of Paxton and 20th Streets in Harrisburg. On July 13, 1935, the home’s oldest resident, 99-year-old Elizabeth King, broke ground for the new home. With some help, she turned three shovels of dirt, looked up, smiled, and said “das ist genug” (that is enough). The event marked the beginning of the home’s Paxton Street history, where it remained for the next 42 years.

By the 1960s, the Paxton Street facility, which could accommodate approximately 120 residents, had become crowded. The fact that the building was unsuited for nursing care, and considering the high cost of renovations required for new fire and building codes, made remodeling the site out of the question. Also, new concepts in care were emerging that led to plans for independent living cottages and expanded recreational programs and activities. After a long and tedious consideration process, the Board chose to build the new facility on a farm south of Mechanicsburg along U.S. Route 15. Ground for the new facility was broken in October 1976. It opened in 1978 under the new name of Messiah Village, and now, Messiah Village has grown into Messiah Lifeways, a community celebrating men and women age 62 and better who seek to live active lives, full of purpose and zest.

Messiah Lifeways Today 

Messiah Lifeways offers a wide variety of services – life coaching, enrichment opportunities, community support services, and resident communities. Across the region, we offer the opportunity for everyone 55 and better to walk with us and explore the possibilities of living Life. Embraced.

For more information about Messiah Lifeways, contact us:
717.697.4666  |


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