Christian Home, Agnesian HealthCare finalize affiliation agreement

Shelly Haberman
Christian Home signing

It’s been a partnership five years in the making, and thanks to its many successes, mutual respect, and shared mission and values, the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is now officially part of Agnesian HealthCare.

Leaders from the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center, Inc., and Agnesian HealthCare signed official affiliation papers today that will bring the Christian Home under the Agnesian HealthCare umbrella. The affiliation is effective June 1, 2017.

The signing follows a March 16 vote by members from 16 local churches to turn over ownership to Agnesian HealthCare to ensure that a nursing home would continue to operate in Waupun. The Christian Home’s origin dates back to the 1940s when a group from the Reformed and Christian Reformed churches identified a need for a long-term care facility.

“Agnesian HealthCare has helped us as the Christian Home the last five years,” says Sue Buwalda, Christian Home Board of Directors president and at-large member. “This is a step in the right direction to ensure that healthcare for the elderly, but also those who need short-term rehabilitation care, may continue for many generations to come. We’re also excited that the churches will continue to take part in the spiritual well-being of our residents and families, and that’s very much a blessing.”

Buwalda signed affiliation papers with several Board of Directors members, along with Bev Mollien, Christian Home Board of Directors secretary and Trinity Reformed Church - Waupun member, and Steve Little, Agnesian HealthCare president and chief executive officer.

“We will ensure that the community of Waupun has excellent assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing for the next 50-plus years,” Little shared at the signing. “It’s a great day for the community to have stability and excellence in senior care.”

Mollien concurred. “I’m very grateful that Agnesian stood with us side by side and helped us through this period. We’re so grateful for them that they are going to continue carry on the tradition of the Christian Home and that our elderly will be cared for in their own hometown.”

Other Board of Directors members shared their excitement and hopefulness as well.

  • Steve Grams, Immanuel Lutheran Church: This is an important day for the whole city of Waupun and it’s a great relief for us board members that we are going to see our home continue and thrive even more than it has been.
  • Ross Henken, First Reformed Church - Friesland: I had two grandmothers and both of my parents have been in healthcare facilities, and it’s great to see that this tradition is going be secured and carried on in the Waupun community.
  • Rick VantHoff, Emmanuel Reformed Church - Waupun: It’s a very exciting day. Agnesian has been a tremendous partner with us and this carries us into the future keeping the Christian Home in Waupun and having Agnesian HealthCare lend their expertise to us. It’s a great day.
  • Phil Loomans, vice president, Alto Reformed Church - Alto: This is a great day. It’s been a work in progress and it’s a culmination of a number of years of hard work and tears but this is the right thing to do. We’re happy.

Other board members include: Steve Soodsma, treasurer, Bethel Christian Reformed Church - Waupun; Darlene Coehoorn, Bethel Reformed Church - Brandon; Claudia Towne, First Reformed Church - Waupun; Wally Purdun, Living Hope Community Church, Christian Reformed, Fox Lake; Duane VandeZande, Pella Lutheran Church- Waupun; John Staehling, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church - Waupun; Al Martens, Union Congregational Church - Waupun; Norm Buwalda, First Christian Reformed - Waupun; and Gordon Port, at large.

Agnesian HealthCare and the Christian Home first came together in March 2012 after establishing a management and services agreement to help further develop the center’s programs and services available in the Waupun community.

Doug Trost, St. Francis Home president and chief executive officer, has been a part of the ministry since then, and will continue working with the Christian Home team and Barb Wirkus, executive director.

“I’m really excited about what this means for the future of the Christian Home and for the Waupun community,” Trost says. “I’ve been very impressed with the Board of Directors this last five years and their level of commitment to the residents, the staff and the community. The Christian Home is comprised of a group of very dedicated staff, and we look forward to continue working with them to provide the very best care for the residents.”

The Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center, 331 Bly Street in Waupun, offers a comprehensive continuum of care services that includes: The Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center, licensed skilled nursing facility; The Christian Living Center, registered assisted living apartments; and The Christian Homestead, licensed community-based residential facility specializing in memory care services.

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