Founded in 1907, United Methodist Neighborhood Centers (UMNC) was originally established to provide day care and outreach programs to the citizens of Memphis. A century later, that vision has expanded
For over a century, United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis, Inc. has been feeding, caring for and empowering the “overlooked” or “ignored” of Shelby County UMNC is supported through private donations, grants and United Methodist Churches throughout the Memphis Conference, UMNC also benefits from the time and talents of hundreds of volunteers throughout Shelby County.
1903 – The idea was born when the Board of City Missions, composed of women representing each local Methodist church, was organized for the purpose of starting Wesley House
1906 – The first meeting took place a Lenox Methodist Church (now Union Ave UMC). Organizing churches were Lenox, Madison Heights, and Harris Memorial
1907 – September – Wesley House opened a kindergarten and sewing school in Vernon Memorial Methodist Church (formerly Pennsylvania Street Methodist Church )
1920 – Spring – the Tully Home was purchased and served as agency headquarters
1935 – Bethlehem Center opened at 749 Walker in response to the needs of the African American community
1957 – New Wesley House facility was built at the corner of Sixth and Greenlaw. Administrative offices were located at the new facility.
1968 – Bethlehem Center was closed and all operations were move to Wesley House. This merger created United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis, Inc. The staff of 13 workers was headed by Ms. Ethel R. Decker, head resident; Ms. Edna C. Poole, group worker; and Ms. Naomi McIntosh, assistant.
1971 – Administrative offices moved to Harris Memorial UMC, and the North Memphis Community Health Clinic located in a portion of the Wesley House Building.
1976 – The worshiping congregation of Harris Memorial disbanded and UMNC assumed responsibility for the facility on Looney. The agency had 27 ministries at this time including 3 day care centers, a soup kitchen, a youth employment program, and senior citizen’s lunch program.
1982 – Miriam Infant and Toddler Center opened in the spring in two rooms at Madison Heights UMC. By October the program had expanded across the street to 17 S. Claybrook.
1984 – June – Harris Memorial property was destroyed by arsonists. “Operation Rebirth” was launched by the UMNC Board of Directors with the intent of building a new facility on the site. The administrative offices were moved to Madison Heights UMC.
1986 – October – the Susanna Preschool for Exceptional Children opened. It combined two programs for exceptional children: Forget-Me-Not and the Easter Seal Society. The administrative offices were moved to the Susanna Center. “Operation Rebirth” opened on November 1, 1986, as the Dr. Earnest A. Smith Social Service Center at 602 Looney.
1987 – July – the administrative offices were moved to the Threlkeld Building (175 N Tillman) owned by Porter – Leath. The Threlkeld Social Service began to work in the same building with the purpose of serving the Binghampton area.
1989 – October – the Legget Exchange Shop, named in memory of Rev. Joseph L. Leggett, opened in Frayser in a building owned by Schoolfield UMC (1647 Dellwood)
1990 – The Leggett Social Service Center opened in the same building as the Exchange Shop. December – purchased two office buildings at 3000 and 300A Walnut Grove Rd. for $325,000
1991 – August – the administrative offices moved to the second floor of 3000 Walnut Grove Rd. and the Jane Hyde Scott Social Service Center (formerly Threlkeld Center) opened on the ground floor.
1992 – June – Christ’s Closet Exchange was opened at the Jane Hyde Scott Center. July – Susanna Preschool for Exceptional Children re-located to Golden UMC (4028 Neely Rd)
1993 – February – Tipton Cares Exchange Shop and Food Pantry opened in Atoka, TN. March – saw the kick off for the Prodigal’s Closet project for assisting recovering substance abusers.
2000 – July – Wesley House and Susanna Preschool for Exceptional Children merged and became Susanna Wesley Child Development Center
2002 – June – Jackson Ave. Methodist Church opened a Help Center targeting Hispanic population of their area.
2004 – November – Susanna Wesley center revises curriculum to provide care for typical children
2005 – Munford First UMC assumes management of Tipton Cares
2006 – UMNC merged two child development centers creating one large day care at Miriam Child Development Center (3000 Walnut Grove)
2007 – UMNC celebrates 100 years of service Asbury Food Pantry opened in Asbury UMC (2969 S Mendenhall)
2008 – Grace Food Pantry is opened in Grace UMC
2011 – Partnered with LifeLine2Sucess in the Leggett Center. Partnered with West TN Coalition on Reentry (West CoRE) became fiscal agency and partnered with Memphis Area Provention Coalition.
2012 – Opened a food pantry at Waren UMC; Partnered with Society of St. Andrew’s gleaners to provide farmer’s market vegetables to the UMNC food pantries.
2013 – Opened a new food pantry at Heartsng UMC; Maranatha UMC takes over Jackson Ave. Help Center and closes.