Cunningham Home celebrates 115 years of ministry


URBANA -- Cunningham Children’s Home alumni representing every decade from the 1930’s to the early 2000’s came home to reminisce and reconnect on July 25, 2010. In celebration of the Home’s 115th Anniversary, Cunningham opened its campus to more than 300 former residents, staff, and guests.

Visitors were invited to tour the schools, cottages, recreational facility, and most other buildings. The Heritage Room was filled with photo albums for alumni to sift through memories of the past. Generations of families crowded around photo albums laughing and sharing their loved ones’ stories of ‘old times.’
Donald Kimmel (1950’s resident) commented, “I have many fond memories of my time at ‘The Home’ as we called it. I have always felt that without the guidance and religious training I received that I would not have become the person that I am today.”
Alumni were greeted with love by volunteers, staff, and guests alike. Every former resident was invited to receive a Cunningham quilt lovingly made by the United Methodist Women; a gift that serves as a reminder of the love, compassion, and support that is forever theirs as a member of the Cunningham family. One former Cunningham resident expressed her thanks saying, “Thank you for the quilt. The ladies of the [United Methodist] church worked hard to make them. Please be sure to thank them.”
Bishop Gregory Palmer’s inspiring and dynamic message at the 115th Anniversary Celebration Service touched the hearts of all as he honored the faith and stewardship of the United Methodist Women and the courage of Cunningham youth. At the conclusion of the service, Chaplain Gay King Crede invited all current and former students and residents of Cunningham to come forward. Watching generations of the Cunningham family gather together became an awe-filled experienceas the audience stood and applauded the lives of individuals that have been directly impacted by Cunningham Children’s Home, a mission of the IGRC United Methodist Women.