Drawing from Bethesda’s expansion in the 1880s, by A. Page Brown, architect. The building, original plan from 1841 by noted American architect Richard Upjohn, is a contributing structure to the Saratoga Springs downtown historic district, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
History: Nearly two centuries helping those in need
Since its founding in 1830, Bethesda Episcopal Church has followed Jesus’s teachings through direct action to meet the human needs in Saratoga Springs. Mercy House is the most recent such effort.
By 1870, Bethesda had established the Home of the Good Shepherd to provide shelter and housing to elderly women. Bethesda faithfully sustained the Home on Greenfield Avenue for more than a century before selling the building in 2001. The proceeds from the sale were the catalyst for a vast increase in mission and operations. Today, the Home(s) of the Good Shepherd, whose Board is appointed by Bethesda’s Vestry, manages housing for more than 300 elderly men and women throughout Saratoga County in its four adult homes and one memory care facility.
During the Great Depression, Bethesda played a leadership role in bringing comfort and aid to individuals and families in desperate need. Additionally, three rooms in Bethesda parish house were furnished with beds to accommodate transients, and Bethesda’s kitchen facilities were used to prepare and serve hot lunches to needy children.
In more recent times, Bethesda’s focus on the needs of those in recovery programs continues and extends to more than 75 years of providing support to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) at our former Parish House at 41 Washington Street. Each week over those decades, dozens of meetings were held where peer support provided people with a pathway to recovery. AA meetings now held elsewhere would return to Bethesda once the parish house is completed and Mercy House is in operation.