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Franklin Park’s Tradition of Service Spiritual Care In the Community

The History of ABHM

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Downtown Denver, CO, circa 1885.

Residences at Franklin Park, today.

Franklin Park’s Tradition of Service

Located in the heart of downtown Denver, The Community at Franklin Park has a long and interesting history. The building where the health center now stands was originally built in 1895, and for the next 40 years served as a homeopathic institution. In 1935, as the city grew, Howard E. Lamb and Associates took over the business, which included some renovations, and in March of 1940 opened the Lamb Memorial Hospital, a non-profit corporation. The hospital was in operation for many years before ownership transferred to Baptist Home Association of the Rocky Mountains. In June of 1976 the Association held a ground breaking ceremony for the new addition to Park Avenue Baptist Home, which offered skilled nursing services for 95 and 7 assisted living apartments. Several years earlier, in 1972, The Residences at Franklin Park opened next door to the Health Center which allowed the community to share amenities and services. The Residences at Franklin Park was developed as government HUD Subsi-

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dized Housing to provide safe rental housing for eligible elderly and persons with disabilities. In 2008, the ten story, 92 unit complex was entirely remodeled by American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM). The apartments now feature energy efficient appliances with balconies and some of the best views in Denver. In addition to the apartment upgrades The Residences provide residents a comforting sense of security with an intercom entry system, video surveillance, night time security.

Together the campus offers a number of amenities, but one we are particularly proud of is the recent addition of our new fulltime chaplain, Dave Stuht. As the chaplain Dave provides spiritual guidance to residents and staff in both our apartments and the health center. Residents and family members can take advantage of Sunday worship services, devotions and bible study time, or turn to Dave for individual spiritual guidance. We are blessed to have Dave as a part of our family.


Today, 122 years after the original homeopathic institution opened to serve the people of Denver, the Franklin Park Health Center building may look different, but the tradition of service continues by providing 65 skilled nursing beds and recently remodeled 21 bed secured memory care center, both of which take Medicaid for those who qualify. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful campus and I encourage you to come visit us or call for a personal tour, 303-832-9323. ~Jane Runge, The Community at Franklin Park Administrator


Do You Want to Change the World?

he next question you might ask is, “How does one do that?” The first part of my first answer is, one life at a time. During my training a Bishop once said to me, “Dave, if you want to have a happy day go visit someone in need; a person in the hospital, someone who is homebound or drop in and see residents living in a nursing home.” At first this may sound a bit selfish, however, after completing this act of kindness, you soon discover you have just changed the world for that person.

residents, stopped, turned around and came back to embrace this resident. They told her, “You know that you are precious in the eyes of the Lord, and you are precious to us!” I was very moved by this expression of love that they bestowed on her. This is just one

The second part of my answer is; use love. On a daily basis I see and experience the wonders of love. For example, a resident who was struggling and overwhelmed with her life recently came to talk with me. I had just finished sharing God’s Word and promises about how Jesus loves us and gave his life for us. While residents were leaving the chapel, this particular resident said that no one loves her. At just that moment two other


example of the power we have to change the world. At Franklin Park, to ensure residents have the spiritual support they need. We offer a devotion or a bible study every day of the week, along with worship service each Sunday. Most of these activities take place in our Chapel, which has become a place of spirituality and reflection, and we are very thankful the friends and families of residents who have generously donated handmade banners that now decorate our Chapel. Another recent change we made to our worship schedule includes a church field trip on the first Sunday of each month. These visits give residents a chance to experience various church services and connect with greater community in which they live. It is a blessing for me to be a part of the Franklin Park family and help change the world one life at a time!

~Dave Stuht,

The Community at Franklin Park Chaplain


merican Baptist Homes of the Midwest, parent company of The Community at Franklin Park, was founded in a Baptist tradition. Today, our mission has broadened to, “Creating healthy Christian communities that empower older adults by providing choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind, and spirit” for seniors of all faiths and backgrounds. ABHM’s spiritual care programs are inspired by a philosophy of care shared across all our communities. Our spiritual leaders seek to uplift, encourage, and offer compassion to everyone involved with the community. Spiritual services at ABHM are interfaith and open to all residents, families, and staff members.

Each community employs a full-time chaplain who serves as the spiritual leader, including Dave Stuht at Franklin Park. The chaplains work with residents, families, and staff to meet the unique spiritual needs of the community through worship services, bible studies, devotionals, hymn singing, personal visitation, and prayer support.

Spiritual Care Pro A Mission of E Meet Dave Stuht, the New Chaplain In the past several months while visiting Franklin Park you might have wondered, “Who is the new guy walking around in a tie?” My name is Dave Stuht, I am the new Chaplain for The Community at Franklin Park.

Franklin Park Chaplain Dave Stuht

Originally, I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which explains my love for motorcycles. Early on in my education I studied scripture at Martin Luther College located in New Ulm, Minnesota, where I received a Bachelor’s degree and certification for chaplaincy. During my career I served in the U.S. Navy as a machinist mate where I ran a steam plant. I have also spent more than 20 years as an x-ray tech in various hospitals throughout U.S. Eventually I returned to my spiritual and educational roots, and for the past nine years served a church in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, as a youth and family minister, in addition to a Law Enforcement chaplain for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the Mounties). As for my family, I have been married to my lovely wife, Sharon, for 27 years and we have 4 sons.

ograms at ABHM: Empowerment I am pleased to be a part of the Community at Franklin Park and look forward to getting to know the residents, families and serving as your chaplain.

The Importance of a Spiritual Community As the new Chaplain at The Community at Franklin Park, Chaplain Stuht says spirituality plays a vital role in the more than 160 lives of the Health Center at Franklin Park residents and those who live just next door in the independent living apartment building, The Residences. The spiritual services offered at Franklin Park are designed to meet the needs of residents and families through a variety of a programs and services. On a regularly basis Chaplain Stuht leads residents in devotions, Bible study and open communion, along with Sunday services. Residents also have the opportunity to visit local area churches for services. The outings to local churches is complemented by visits to the community from local pastors. “The different services and programs give residents a way to nurture their faith and continue expressing themselves spiritually, which is very important, especially for those who are no longer able to attend their own church, ” states Chaplain Stuht. These programs together with personal care and support help create a community that encourages and sustains residents, families and staff.

Spiritual Approach Supports Memory Care Residents “At least once a day I visit residents who are living in the Franklin Park memory care center. The newly remodeled area of the community provides the best setting for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.” said Chaplain Stuht.

Friends and families of residents are always welcome in the Community. We encourage people to visit loved ones and participate in activities taking place at the community. The family visits and the interaction with staff members, help residents remain engaged in daily activities, connect with memories and personal identity which can offer them a sense of reassurance. In spite of memory issues, families and friends can take comfort knowing, even though their loved ones seem to be separated from certain aspects of life, there is one thing from which they can never be separated, and that is the love of God. God spoke through Isaiah a long time ago saying, “I will not forget you – See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.” (Isaiah 49: 15, 16) To learn more about spiritual care at Franklin Park, call Chaplain Dave Stuht at 303-832-9323.

ABHM The Early Origins of


hen the Great Depression hit the Midwest in 1929, it had a drastic impact on not only working and economic conditions, but family life as well. The origins of The Community at Franklin Park’s parent company, American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, emerged from the hardships of this period.

Seniors in Crisis During the Depression The elderly population was hit particularly hard by the challenges of the Great Depression. Those who were close to retirement or had already retired watched a lifetime of savings disappear before their eyes. Many weren’t capable of returning to work, or were unable to find jobs that would allow them to rebuild their lost savings. As a result, many elderly people became dependent on their families for shelter and care. Unfortunately, young families were facing their own struggles. There were seldom enough resources

for them to adequately provide for their own children, let alone their parents.

Finding Hope in a New Beginning

In 1930, a small group of Baptist gentlemen living in Minnesota and Iowa recognized the serious need to provide shelter and care for the elderly population of the Midwest. These five gentlemen decided to take action and formed a not-for-profit organization they called the Northwest Baptist Home Society. The original mission of the Northwest Baptist Home Society was “to provide Christian homes for aged and dependent men and women, and to provide for their physical and spiritual comfort.” The five founders did not wait long to involve others in their efforts to relieve the suffering they saw in their communities. To expand their initiative, they joined with the Northern Baptist Convention of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Baptist congregations in these states helped to support the Society’s early efforts.

From the Founders to Today The first ABHM community opened its doors on




ABHM’s first location in Winnebago, MN, the Winnebago Old People’s Home, was originally a dormitory at now-defunct Parker College. The community was later renamed Parker Oaks Retirement Community.

August 29, 1931. It was housed in a former men’s dormitory belonging to Parker College (a nowdefunct Baptist school) in Winnebago, MN, that had sat vacant for many years before being given to the Society and converted into a residence for seniors. The community was originally named the “Winnebago Old People’s Home” and later renamed Parker Oaks Retirement Community.

The ABHM mission has evolved over time, but remains true to the original values of our founders. Dave Zwickey, ABHM President and CEO states, “Our mission today is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults, families, and people with disabilities. We provide choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind, and spirit.”

In the following 18 years, the Society’s mission and footprint grew as they opened seven additional “Old People’s Homes” in Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Meanwhile, another Baptist association for the elderly was growing in Colorado, called the Baptist Home Association of the Rocky Mountains, (BHA).

In the past several years, ABHM has expanded the services offered at a number of locations across the Midwest. Our communities provide a full continuum of senior living and healthcare services that include skilled nursing, rehab care, assisted living, independent living, and memory care, along with housing and programs for the developmentally disabled and subsidized housing for seniors and families. Our communities are located in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

BHA was chartered in Denver in 1949 with the mission to provide “facilities for care, comfort, health, recreation, and general welfare of aged people.” In 1994, the two organizations joined forces to continue a joint mission to serve those in need under the ABHM banner.

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Owned and operated by AMERICAN BAPTIST HOMES OF THE MIDWEST, a not-for-profit provider of senior health care since 1930. 14850 SCENIC HEIGHTS RD, STE 125, EDEN PRAIRIE MN 55344

The Community At Franklin Park 1535 Park Avenue Denver, CO 80218


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The Community at Franklin Park is a faith-based, not-for-profit senior living community. Our mission is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults. We provide choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind and spirit.

There’s still time to support the Kleinpaste Nursing Scholarship Program at Franklin Park. Ask for details at the front desk or visit

Take a PHOTO TOUR inside Franklin Park at www.CommunityAt

Community At Franklin Park - Fall Newsletter