Brooklyn's Charitable Organizations

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Brooklyn City Mission Society
285 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.


William C. Redfield: President
James H. Post: First Vice-President
Charles H. Fuller: Second Vice-President
Edward H. Wilson: Third Vice-President
Frank H. Parsons: Treasurer
Rev. Edward I. Goodwin: Acting Executive Secretary

Board of Directors

Mrs. William G. Chapin
Thomas Christie
Charles H. Fuller
Frank H. Parsons
James H. Post
William T. Simpson
Mrs. Clark M. Bachman
Raymond H. Fiero
William S. Irish
William L. Love
Charles Wm. Roeder
Mrs. J. Clarence Smith
Charles A. Ditmas
Thomas P. Peters
William C. Redfield
Frank M. Townley
Edward H. Wilson
John J. Douglass
Mrs. Frank C. Moffat
William E. Truesdell

Organized 1829
Incorporated 1865

The Brooklyn City Mission began its life work when Brooklyn was a small town. The first meeting took place at the residence of Mr. Zachariah Lewis and five days later the Society was organized by the election of Rev. C.P. McIlvane, Rector of St. Ann's Church, as president. Associated with him were 25 of the leading citizens of Brooklyn as directors. Active work had begun by August 1st of that year_1829.

On April 1, 1927, the Brooklyn City Mission Society was coordinated with the Brooklyn Federation of Churches, and Rev. Dr. Frederick M. Gordon was elected its Executive Secretary. He served faithfully in that capacity until his death on January 18, 1932. The Society continues its separate identity and functions as a separate corporate organization. The programs of both the City Mission Society and the Federation of Churches are correlated for the sake of efficiency and economy.

Brooklyn has grown until it is one of the world's great cities. Every problem presented by human nature dwelling in vast urban masses is found here. The number of churches acting as centers of spiritual life has grown from ten to nearly or quite six hundred, yet problems remain outside of the separate parishes, and outside also the larger religious organizations, which tax the resources of the Brooklyn City Mission Society and call for the continuance and the expansion of its work. The staff of the Society touch problems of childhood, of young manhood, of young womanhood and those of mature age. The prisoner released from bondage, the homeless boy of the streets, the laborer willing to toil but unable to find work, the sailor alone in a strange city, the woman alone and friendless these in a thousand forms come under the Society's sheltering care.

The Seamen's Goodwill Mission
105 Hamilton Avenue
Rev. Chas. A. Cedarholm, Superintendent

In 1887 a Christian Workers' Society was organized among the young people of the Immanuel Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church of Brooklyn for the purpose of home missionary work with the Scandinavians. The present superintendent was the man selected to take up this work in the Erie Basin section of Brooklyn. While engaged in this work Reverend Charles Cedarholm became acquainted with Dr. Gustav LeLacheur, physician in charge of the clinic of the Life Line Mission later Executive Secretary of the Brooklyn City Mission and Tract Society and other leaders in the home mission field. Through these friendships and the contacts of mutual interests and work, the Reverend Cedarholm in April, 1890, became conn3cted with the City Mission Board as one of their mission leaders.

A comfortable building houses hundreds of homeless and friendless seamen every year and furnishes food and shelter to many thousands of men who would seek friendships in the speakeasies of that section. It has been a life-saving station for tens of thousands of men during the years of the past, and we must continue to keep the light burning through the years to come.

House of Goodwill
84 State Street
Rev. and Mrs. Edward I. Goodwin, Directors
A Christian Home for Homeless Men

This department of the City Mission activities was opened about sixteen years ago. Our first home was located on Clinton Avenue, near Atlantic Avenue. The increasing demands for carrying on a ministry among homeless men in our Borough made it necessary to find larger quarters and the home was moved to Bridge Street. After several years in this location the City Mission Board took over the work of the Brooklyn Business Women's Club, at 80 Willoughby Street, and moved the Home to that location. For several years we continued at that address and in 1924 again found it necessary to move on account of changed conditions and purchased the present "House of Goodwill" at 84 State Street, where the Home is now conducted under the able leadership of Rev. and Mrs. Edward I. Goodwin.

To this Home scores of homeless men are sent every month by the Pastors of our churches, the social agencies and the Federation of Churches. For the most part the men who come to us are "down but not out." They are broken in spirit and often in health. here at the House of Goodwill they find that their troubles are understood, and they are brought to themselves and to God to get a new lease on life. No finer work for men can be found in all our greater city than is done in this soul-and-body clinic.

Paroled Prisoners Department
Rev. Edward I. Goodwin, State Parole Consultant

What does the future hold for the man who has served a term behind bars? What is he to do? Where is he to go? How will he get a new start?

Left alone he will naturally drift back again to his old haunts and to his old companions. If he is given a chance after the prison days are over, he can be helped back to a life of usefulness. The state authorities have recognized this and have appointed six agencies in the state to meet the needs of the paroled prisoners. Our City Mission Society has been assigned this work for Long island, our particular responsibility being the Protestant paroled prisoners. Each person on coming out of prison is released in our custody, is provided shelter, clothing and food until employment can be found for him. This is not an easy task, but our parole officer has been successfully doing this for the past nine years and our greatest need is additional funds with which to care for these unfortunate people until they become self-supporting.

In many instances the families of these prisoners must be ministered to during the period of imprisonment and for weeks after the bread-winner has been released.

The Brooklyn Bridge Rescue Mission
121 Fulton Street
"Rev. Perry N. Cedarholm, Superintendent

On Thursday evening, march 29, 1928, The Brooklyn Bridge Rescue Mission was opened to the public. With a large electric cross on the exterior of the building to point and light the way, this Mission for over three years has held nightly meetings, has given food, clothing and night's lodgings, etc., to hundreds of individuals who were friendless, homeless and penniless, and through spiritual aid has helped many back to hope, belief and a revived faith in Christ and His teachings.

One of its big accomplishments has been the giving of personal service and aid. During the past winter thousands of free meals were served at the noon hour. This was made possible by contributions of foodstuffs and cash. This Mission is the right arm of the Church in the downtown section of Brooklyn and has the co-operation and aid of all the neighborhood churches and missions. It does not represent a church, but all churches. Everyone is urged to help make this one of the best outposts in the field of home evangelism in our Borough, the Church's defense against sin, crime and poverty. it is a veritable lighthouse in one of the darkest corners of our Borough. it is a soul-and-body clinic and a Salvage Station tot he man out of luck.

Italian Work
Rev. Francesco S. Di Giacomo, in Charge

After several years of pioneering, we have been able to organize a group among the Italian people located in the Bushwick section, and through the generosity of the Presbyterian Church of Peace, secure quarters for them in their church building on the corner of Bushwick Avenue and Menahan Street.

There is a very flourishing Sunday School which meets on Sunday afternoons, and the congregation meets for its regular weekly worship at 4:30 P.M. There are several clubs in connection with this work, all of which are under the direction of the pastor in charge, who is supported by the Brooklyn City mission Society.

Hudson Avenue Boys' Club
377 Hudson Avenue
Mr. L.C. Bruce, Director

This work was organized in 1927 and is the outgrowth of a work of long standing conducted in this building for the Colored People of this immediate neighborhood. it is one of the most needy fields in Brooklyn and the results of the program for colored boys is already being felt.

The Club activities are being directed by a Special Committee, of which Mr. Burt F. Nichols is the President and Mr. Lawrence M. Marks is Treasurer. So impressed was the Rockefeller Foundation with the need to serve the colored boys of Brooklyn that they gave us a gift of $2,200 with which to put the building in condition and purchase some necessary equipment for the Club. There are hundreds of colored youths here in the very heart of Brooklyn whose only training in the building of character is what they get in this Boys' Club Center. The work is entirely supported by voluntary contributions. We aim to furnish wholesome environment to help these lads lay a foundation for useful lives. There are approximately 80,000 colored people in Brooklyn, and this is an attempt to help better their conditions.

Community Center
Fulton Street and Carlton Avenue
Rev. V.H. Williams, in charge

This Center has been in operation for the past two years. it is located in the very heart of a colored community and is already reaching hundreds of colored boys and girls, and men and women who are seeking to better their position in life. There are classes in Music, Sewing and Millinery for girls and women, while Clubs for boys of the 'teen age are keeping these lads off the streets and away from temptation. Regular religious services are held each Sunday under the leadership of the Rev. V.H. Williams.

It is the outgrowth of the Hudson Avenue Mission which for many years was conducted for the colored people of that section. With the change in the Hudson Avenue neighborhood this Mission was closed and converted into a Boys' Club, but the leaders of the Mission followed their people to another neighborhood and opened this new work in the heart of a rapidly growing neighborhood. The work has been successful and the Pastor has been able to attract to the Cent4r a large group of the better class of colored people and conducts stated services of worship each Sunday.

The work is exceedingly promising and by virtue of the rapidly increasing population of the Borough it is likewise important.

The Women's Branch of the Brooklyn City Mission Society

The Women's Branch of The Brooklyn City Mission Society was organized in 1886. Its first purpose was to assist the work of the parent society by working among women and children. Gradually the work increased and with the changing times and the changing character of Brooklyn's population the work has periodically been readjusted. it now embraces three interests: Goodwill Center, Bannerman Goodwill Camp, and The King's Daughters' House.

Goodwill Center is a Mission Station established in 1913 in the old York Street Methodist Church, situated in the Navy Yard section at the corner of York and Gold Streets. Its activities include Sunday School, Bible and Religious Classes. Mothers' Meetings, English Classes, Boy Scouts, Sewing School, a Traveling Branch of the Public Library, Clean Movies, Children's Meetings, Clubs for boys, girls, men and women.

Bannerman Goodwill Camp was started in connection with Good-will Center, because the need was apparent for the children of that neighborhood, not only for physical benefit but because of the great opportunity for the development of character. Some of the best lessons of life are taught in God's great out-of-doors. Mr. Francis Bannerman generously provided for the starting of the camp. For many years tents were used on the shore of the Hudson, nearly opposite the famous Bannerman island. In 1927 Mrs. Francis Bannerman made the splendid gift of a permanent camp at Rosendale, new York, fully equipped with necessary buildings, a recreation field, good bathing facilities and beautiful natural surroundings.

The King's Daughters' House is a boarding home for respectable Protestant self-supporting working girls. In 1906 Mr. John English gave the property at 18 Sidney Place, and the house was remodeled to accommodate forty girls. Prices of board range according to salaries. Prayer meetings, entertainments and smaller social affairs are held. The girls may entertain their friends in the large parlors, and they have the use of a sewing room. A roof garden affords comfort during the hot season.

Officers of The Women's Branch

Mrs. Frank C. Moffat, 379 Grand Ave......................President
Mrs. Ernest H. Pillsbury, Hotel Margaret.........1st Vice-President
Mrs. William G. Chapin, 436 Putnam Ave..........2nd Vice-President
Mrs. Frank Strang, 180 Quincy St...........Corresponding Secretary
Mrs. Wallace H. Owen, 805 St. Mark's Ave.......Recording Secretary

Mrs. Teunis D. Huntting, 594 St.Mark's Ave...............Treasurer
Rev. Sanford C. Hearn, Director of Goodwill Center and Bannerman Goodwill Camp

Colored Activities
Rev. W.B.M. Scott, A.B., B.Th., Director

The thousands of Negroes coming to Brooklyn from all over the world have increased her Negro population to about 78,000. With this increase, her problems have increased, offering a challenge to the church and social agencies. men and women, trained and untrained, from other parts of our own country and from other countries are here to realize their ambitions in various ways. It took courage for them to leave home. It takes even more courage for them to stay here where customs and environment are naturally different. it takes willing, sympathetic understanding on the part of those who are native. These facts are recognized by the Brooklyn City Mission Society and Brooklyn Federation of Churches in making out a social service program to meet the increasing demands of Brooklyn's Negro population.

Community Centers are potent factors in serving people of all age groups, of all stations in life and of all religious beliefs. There have been added to the Hudson Avenue Boys' Club and Carlton Community Center three new centers one in Williamsburg where there are 5,000 of our group, one at the Unity Baptist Church in a crowded section of the city and one in Brownsville where 10,000 Negroes live.

Williamsburg and Unity Centers

The Williamsburg Community and Unity Community Centers are maintained in co-operation with the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, at 50 Moore Street, and the Unity Baptist Church, Gates Avenue and Irving Place, respectively. In both of these Centers, clubs and other activities are under the direction of Miss Carrie Morton.

Brownsville Community Center

Late in 1930 a community program in this section was begun. The first six months' activities were conducted in the First Baptist and St. Paul Baptist Churches, the clubs being held in the former and the Week-day and one department of the Daily Vacation Bible School, in the latter. But the work increased so rapidly that it was necessary to find quarters which would be open to the community every day, all day. In May the work was moved to 187 Osborn Street.

This Center is conducted by Rev. W.B.M. Scott. Associated with him is Mrs. Scott who supervises Kindergarten, Week Day School and clubs. Eight other workers are helpers in the field.

The Daily Vacation Bible School last summer reached 362 children. Nearly a hundred are being taught in the Week Day School. Boys' and Girls' Clubs are studying the four-fold life program. men and Women receive legal advice. Needy sick receive medical attention. While at work, mothers have a place to leave their small children. Case studies and investigations are made. Clothes are given out. No one leaves without receiving help. One of the Emergency Unemployment Bureau stations was opened here. The Center is meeting a great need in the Brownsville and East New York Section.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brooklyn's Charitable Organizations
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


 BIBLIOGRAPHY: The 1932 Brooklyn Church Year Book by J.H. Carpenter; Brooklyn, N.Y. The Federation, 1932
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