Our History

Origins of our ministry

Historical Background

For nearly two thousand years abortion was considered to be murder in the Judeo-Christian culture of the Western world. However, at the height of the sexual revolution in the early 1970’s Western nations began legalizing abortion, and since then over 50,000,000 preborn infants have been killed in the United States alone, leaving a trail of blood and traumatized women that cries out for relief.

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Early Days

After the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, the abortion rate rose rapidly. In response, pro-life groups began to spring up around the country. In Rochester, a group with the unlikely name of “Citizens for Public Morality, Inc.” formed and came to us at His Branches with the concept for a crisis pregnancy center. Dr. Morehouse and his Board of Directors were completely supportive and offered space in a storefront at 344 Arnett Blvd. Over the years this ministry grew, moved to Chili Avenue, then to Alexander Street and on to East Avenue, changing its name from Crisis Pregnancy Center to Crisis Pregnancy Services and finally to CompassCare in the process.

Later Developments

In 2002 CompassCare decided to “go medical” with the addition of ultrasound services and came full circle by opening an office upstairs at 342 Arnett Blvd. in conjunction with His Branches and Grace Family Medicine. A year later CompassCare developed a particular focus on reaching abortion vulnerable college students and moved its office to White Spruce Blvd. where they are faithfully serving the community.

Formation of Embracing Options

In December 2004 it was revealed to us through NYS statistics that our Zip Code (14619) has a whopping 1 in 2.5 abortion rate among women reporting pregnancy. That number is staggering and represents 155 aborted babies in our neighborhood! With Grace Family Medicine having offered pro-life medical care and other intervention and programming to our community for 30 years, we determined that this statistic was one that we could not sit idly by and allow to go unaddressed. His Branches, Inc. is ideally suited to offer crisis pregnancy services to our neighborhood since we host an established family practice in our building and our staff has all been trained to offer crisis pregnancy counseling to women considering abortion. We have the ability to offer limited informational ultrasounds and are seeking to obtain a more modern portable ultrasound unit through a collaboration with the Knights of Columbus and the Rochester Diocese. More than 90% of woman who see their baby through an ultrasound are likely to keep their child versus abort them.

Our goal is to eliminate the incidence of and need for abortion in our neighborhood and to impact the lives of vulnerable women and men with the Gospel. Obviously, we cannot do that without good structure, strong financial support, and committed staff and volunteers. We’re affiliated with Care Net, a national organization that has resources to add to our effort and offers great incentives for centers that want to focus on urban areas. One of the amazingly sound strengths of Care Net is their commitment to standardization, and one area of that is their requirement to adopt a statement of faith. Care Net centers across the country are known for their faithful witness as well as their success. Clients are presented the Gospel as part of their visit, and life-changing moments occur during each and every encounter.

While our primary goal is lofty, there are secondary goals that include offering direct peer counseling, pregnancy testing, STD screening, support via material aide, and offering other services such as post abortion counseling for women who have already made the difficult decision and proceeded with the procedure. Education will take place that ultimately will include abstinence education in schools and other community settings. Public awareness campaigns will highlight the sanctity of human life and raise awareness for our community about the dangers inherent with abortion and the alternatives that are available for anyone willing to give birth. We will place an emphasis on the male partner involved in the pregnancy to be sure that men receive the intervention and education they need to be supportive and caring partners/fathers. Many other opportunities will be created for this ministry to make an impact and transform lives.

Our Main Center at His Branches

We sensed a strong call to develop this ministry in late 2004 and began renovating our new office suite upstairs at 342 Arnett Blvd. shortly afterwards with the help of a lot of wonderful volunteers. We held our first counselor training session in January 2005, opened the very next month, and have been seeing a steady stream of clients since then. We’d love to have your help. Just call our Network Director, Dee Skelton, at (585) 235-0690 and set up a time to come by.

Our Second Center

With careful planning and the steadfast support of the Webster United Methodist Church and surrounding Christian community, we opened our Webster satellite office in March 2010 upstairs in the Webster Outreach House on Curtice Park. Our current hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday from noon – 4 pm. There are many ways you can help. We’re looking for both men and women volunteers to peer counsel (requires 24 hours of Care Net training, provided by us). We’re also looking for volunteers to join our electronic prayer team (we need prayers for our volunteers, director, committee, and our clients). If you feel God is calling you to any of these, please contact our Satellite Director, Diane Braun at (585) 545-4690.

Helping Open a New Center

After a lot of prayer and work, with an amazing amount of community support (click here for details), we joined with many others to help Joy Community Church open the “Place of Hope” Pregnancy Resource Center” in March 2008 an upstairs suite in the Gerhardt Neighborhood Outreach Center on the corner of Bay and Goodman Streets. Want to help? Just call Kirsten Smith at (585) 697-0003.