Fostering Hope for 50 years

Fostering Hope for 50 years

Mar 21, 2014

Fostering Hope for 50 years

by Donna S. Bond


“So, y’think they saved the best for last?” I asked my brother-in-law-turned-chauffeur. With an opinion as unbiased as mine, Ron agreed. We had arrived for the last 90 minutes of a 50-event extravaganza hymn sing celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ranch Hope, a ministry for troubled youths and their families in Alloway, New Jersey.

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The 50 events included something for everyone—traditional hymns and modern choruses by a congregation of 600 voices, as well as selections by 15 church choirs, praise bands and soloists. The participants hailed from at least four states and had gathered to praise the Lord for His benevolence in the vision and life work of Rev. David Bailey and his wife Eileen.

Rev. Bailey shared from the early entries in his diary concerning the challenges in starting the ministry with a $20 donation from a local insurance agent, a 100-acre farm and an old farmhouse which housed the Bailey family and their first clients, affectionately dubbed, “The Dirty Dozen.”

The Ranch now serves 90-some clients through family counseling, residential facilities and a special education school with training in mechanics, woodcraft and animal husbandry—all with a Christian component.

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Back to Shiloh’s participation… Finally the Shiloh (NJ) SDB Sanctuary Choir was called to the forefront. Pastor Don Chroniger, accompanied by wife Charlotte on the keyboard, led us in singing “I Must Tell Jesus” and “We Shall See the King.” Rev. Bailey then surprised us with the announcement that the Shiloh Choir had indeed been saved for last, for the church is to be honored later this spring with the annual Ranch Hope Christian Partners Award in recognition of consistent Christian service to young people. He then invited “all of the Shiloh choir except GP” (the insurance agent) to come to the annual Founder’s Banquet to receive the award.

The evening closed with a 600-voice rendition of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” It was chosen, Rev. Bailey said, “because my wife’s name is Eileen and I lean,” which he then demonstrated with his posture.

Upon reading the letter from Ranch Hope to the Shiloh congregation the following Sabbath, Pastor Chroniger challenged us to continue the legacy of our forebears in ministry to youth and families.

May God bless the ministries of Ranch Hope and the Shiloh Church for another 50 years into Eternity.


Photo credit: David E. Marx. Used with permission.

Front row: Pastor Donald Chroniger, Eleanor Nichols, Jessica Chroniger, Jan Moncrief, Cynthia Scharon-Knight, Donna Bond, Barbara Lee, Catherine Dixon, Cecil McPherson, Charlotte Chroniger. Middle row: Steven Moncrief, Fred Davis, Lee Brooks, George Pettit, Philip Bond, Bill Nieukirk, Ronald Bond, Allen Davis. Back row: Richard Marlette, Sandy Layton.

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