by Larry Zook, President/CEO
From our beginning Landis Homes has intentionally sought ways to engage the larger community. Board members, team members and residents have balanced an inward focus on keeping Landis Homes strong and vital, with an outward focus seeking to honor and enrich the lives of others who do not live at Landis Homes.
In 1963 a year before we welcomed our first residents in 1964, Eastern Mennonite Missions, our founding organization, envisioned Landis Homes to be “a Christian community in which residents will enjoy Christian fellowship with other residents. Some of these will be retired missionaries and other church workers with many years of experience. Participation in the life of the community will be encouraged. Christian service activities will be planned and it is expected that the ministries and influence of this community will be felt around the world.”
In 1989 we opened our first Adult Day Services center on the Landis Homes campus which offers a warm welcome and a caring, safe environment for persons who live throughout Lancaster County, reaching many who otherwise may not be able to afford or choose to move to a retirement community.
In 1994 A. Grace Wenger in the history of our first thirty years ended the book with a section “Reaching Outward,” where she referenced Adult Day Services: “This service to non-residents is one small step in a new direction, reaching beyond our own campus to give Christ-centered care to retirees in the larger community. As staff, board and residents discover new ways of sharing compassionate service, they may see, thirty years from now, the fulfillment of one man’s vision: ‘a Landis Homes Community without walls.”
Throughout the past 22 years, we have seen an unfolding of this vision with the addition of a Children’s Learning Center in 2004, the start of Landis at Home in 2007 and the founding of our parent organization, Landis Communities in 2011.
In 2013 Landis Communities launched Steeple View Lofts in downtown Lancaster and Welsh Mountain Home in Narvon affiliated with us. This latter connection led to the opening of Mountain View Terrace in 2015, a 36-apartment community serving seniors with fewer resources across the road from Welsh Mountain Home.
In 2014 the Landis Homes Board, which is charged with the responsibility to ensure Landis Homes remains strong and vital, approved plans to add a new Learning & Wellness Center that will both serve residents and the broader community through programs like Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning®. It is our desire to embrace persons in the continuum of aging with an array of seamless services that enhance the lives of those living on the retirement campus and in the larger community.
In late 2015 the Landis Communities Board affirmed a plan to focus effort on initiatives to serve both Landis Homes residents and others throughout the greater Lancaster area, including creating new affordable senior housing communities and new home and community based services. Evon Bergey joined the Landis Communities Leadership Team in May 2016 to help guide these efforts.
We are grateful for the vision of our founders and to all who over the years have helped strengthen the community that is at Landis Homes, and who have reached outward and beyond in serving others. We welcome your prayers and counsel as we journey together.