The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Bethphage turns 85

"For pity's sakes!" exclaimed Verna Swanson Ericson, 101, when she was shown a photograph of herself on the Bethphage Mission staff in 1915. "That's an old picture. Where did you find that?"

The picture and other memorabilia came from Verna's basement, found by her son, Nolan, and his wife, Harriet. The Ericson family shared its findings with Verna and Bethphage staff as workers prepared for the mission's 85th anniversary.

Verna was a secretary in the first years of Bethphage Mission, Axtell, Neb. She worked there four years until her marriage to farmer Ed Swanson. The centenarian remembers that both English and Swedish were used in correspondence in the early days of Bethphage, which provided a safe haven for "the poor unfortunates."

Bethphage, whose reunion celebration drew more than 350 people to Axtell last June, grew from a rented cottage to a multifaceted organization that today serves more than 1,700 children and adults with developmental disabilities. It has a 40-acre campus in Axtell and community homes in 16 states, Great Britain and Latvia. Services include residential settings, in-home family support, vocational training, employment, respite care and spiritual development.

Nebraska Synod Bishop Richard N. Jessen said in his reunion worship sermon, "Bethphage was given birth by the church and has been good for the church down through the decades because it has reminded the church of what faith lived out is all about."


Dawn Street, LCSW

Dawn Street, LCSW

Posted at 11:13 am (U.S. Eastern) 11/14/2008

I worked for Bethphage Homes in San Angelo, Texas in the 1980s in ICFMR.

I am looking for placement for Oklahoma residents who are mild - moderate MR with mental health issues.  They need placements with access to sheltered workshops.

Do you have ICFMR facilities accepting this population from OK?

Thank you

Dawn Street, LCSW

Web Mananger

Web Mananger

Posted at 11:35 am (U.S. Eastern) 11/14/2008

Ms. Street: I suggest you contact Mosaic (formerly Bethphage) directly: www.mosaicinfo.org

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