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Incorporated in April 1951, Friendship House began as a cooperative effort by the American Baptist Church and the local Council of Churches.

Our first facility, a Quonset hut donated by Bradley University and dubbed “Operation Friendship House”, generated community excitement and served as both missionary residence and recreation center.

The Friendship House Board took a leap of faith in 1957, securing the former Grace Presbyterian Church building at 800 NE Madison Avenue, acquiring ten times the amount of program space. By 1963, Friendship House of Christian Service had grown to serve nearly 150 families and provide over 23,000 contacts.

Then, with the growth of services and need, in the mid-1970’s, Friendship House needed to create a new space that would allow for that growth for the years to come and the former church building was taken down and a new building was erected in its place, complete with a commercial kitchen, offices, meeting space, classrooms and a full-size gymnasium.  Today, that building is the home of all of the impactful services that Friendship House provides with our complete wrap-around services.