Our History of Impact
Else Johnson and Esther Sawyer began the Lighthouse Mission on Heron and “F” Street in Aberdeen, in the early 1930’s. It was not long before the needs grew, and local area churches stepped in to help. The work was then named the Union Gospel Mission. Their intent was to feed and shelter the less fortunate and also share a better way of life.
The Union Gospel Mission then officially opened on January 24, 1938, at 500 East Heron in Aberdeen (now Zelasko Park). The Mission then moved to 405 East Heron in April, 1942, where the Mission remains today.
On opening day, two meals were served, and one man stayed overnight. Each day, local churches led Gospel services, coffee and stationery were given away, and ironing could be done. The first donation was five dollars.
During the last 77 years, we have seen many changes in the population we serve. Many years ago, the average client was a 50+ year old male. Now in the year 2021, we are seeing a younger male population (in their 30’s), as well as many more homeless women and children, homeless families, the mentally ill, and teens living on their own. Each story is different as to how their homelessness happened, but we are thankful that we live in communities that help us continue to meet these needs.
From the Mission’s beginning as a soup kitchen, we have now transitioned into numerous services to meet the growing needs of the homeless and hurting. A men’s mission, women and children’s shelter, clothing banks, furniture giveaway, showers – it all helps give each person a chance to get going again.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER . . .
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
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VISION . . .
The vision of the Union Gospel Mission of Grays Harbor (UGM) is to see Graduates that are self-supporting members of the community; the community viewing UGM as part of the solution to the problem, and greater understanding that Christ is the source of life transformation.
MISSION . . .
The mission of the Union Gospel Mission of Grays Harbor (UGM) is to provide effective programs that deal with the cause and aid in the prevention of homelessness, to tell the story of UGM clearly so that the community is engaged; and to offer life transformation through Christ to all.