"Promoting Health With A Heart"


Community of Christ Health Ministries Association Historical Timeline

Wholeness and Well-Being WCR 1305 referred to a long history of addressing basic needs in people, health-related associations, and the Restoration movement concepts of wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. While we seek new ways to encourage healthier lifestyles, we remember ways the "worth of persons" has been lifted us through innovative ministries during different periods in history.

1898:  A home for the aged was established in Lamoni, Iowa. Within several years, additional

nursing homes were added in Independence and Holden, Missouri and in Kirtland, Ohio. The church maintained a home for the elderly and senior appointees in Independence named Resthaven established in 1956 (more recently called The Groves).

1906:  Planning began for a church hospital, the Independence

Sanitarium and Hospital. The hospital opened in 1909 providing care especially for church members but was also open to the public.

1910:  A School of Nursing was added at the "San". It functioned

as a 3-year diploma school of nursing until 1968 when it transitioned to a four -year BSN program offered through Graceland (College) University.

1911: The Saints' Children's Home for orphaned and homeless children was established in Lamoni, Iowa.

1957:  Dr. John Blumenschein left his practice in Independence, Missouri, and opened the La Buena Fe clinic in

Honduras. Health teams of doctors, dentists, practitioners and nurses continue to provide healthcare at the clinic.

1957-1960's:  Although unusual for a denomination to have church-related associations, our church

supported creating professional associations instrumental in promoting health and wholeness in domestic and international activities.


   RLDS Medical-Dental Association (1957),
   RLDS Professional Nurses' Association (1960),
   Saints Home Economics Association (dieticians and home economics educators),
   Chiropractors Association and other groups.

1969:   Missions Health Foundation was created to support health and wholeness in the church mission field.

MHF officially merged with Outreach International in 1989.

1972:  World Conference action formed a Health Ministries Commission.

The resolution recognized the importance of health in the ministry of Jesus and the increasing need for health professionals to be involved in the work of the church. The first Commissioner was Roy Schaefer, DDS.


Roy led many health and wholeness initiatives in the church over the years and was instrumental with Charles Neff and Bill Higdon in creating Outreach Inc, forerunner to Outreach International.

 Early 1970's:  Health teams began to work hand-in-hand with church missionaries. Health professionals and

medical teams began going to areas where church missionaries were working including: Haiti, Philippines, Korea, India, and Latin America.

 1978-1996:  Wallace B. Smith, MD served as the President of the church. He was a practicing

 ophthalmologist in Independence, Missouri prior to becoming Church President.

1979:  Outreach International was created to support sustainable health and wholeness with people living in

poverty. Today, Outreach works with people in 9 countries.

1979:  The World Hunger Committee was formed by World Church action in 1979. Its purpose is to provide

funds to alleviate hunger, to educate persons about hunger issues, and advocate on behalf of the hungry.

1984:  Inspired counsel (D&C 156), calling to build the Temple, reminded the church that "wholeness is to be

fostered through body, mind, and spirit as part of the peacemaking process" and should be upheld as part of Temple Ministries.

2002:  Health professional associations merged into the Community of Christ Health Ministries Association

(HMA) along with others interested in promoting health. HMA supports both domestic and international health initiatives.

2013:  HMA is charged with forming and leading the Community of Christ Health and Wholeness Team

They are charged with identifying health needs and developing resources for health promotion within the Church.

Health Ministries Association  Community of Christ International Headquarters 1001 West Walnut  Independence
Community of Christ
Health Ministries Association
Community of Christ Affiliate
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1001 West Walnut, Independence, Missouri 64050-3562  U.S.A.

800.825.2806 Ext. 1262

816.833.1000 Ext. 1262

FAX:  816.521.3084

Community of Christ Health Ministries Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit health organization supported solely by donations and gifts made
directly to HMA. For written permission to use the HMA logo on your publication or website, please contact the office 816.833.1000 ext.1418.

Updated 1/15/15