Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16Association History 7 Association History 7 If there was one man who could be considered the father of North America’s rescue missions, it would be Jerry McAuley, an Irish immigrant who came of age in abject poverty on New York City’s Lower East Side. A hated and feared ruffian, McAuley’s thievery, addictions, and rabble-rousing took him from regular stints in Manhattan jailhouses to a seven-year stretch in Sing Sing penitentiary. But it was there that he had a dramatic conversion, set in motion by a chapel service message from a former partner-in-crime turned preacher, Orville Gardner. After his release, McAuley strayed from his newfound faith, but during a Spirit-filled prayer meeting, he came rushing back to the Lord. He began earnestly seeking His ways and preaching His Word throughout old haunts, including the infamous Five Points neighborhood. He married his former-prostitute girlfriend, Maria Fahy, whose own faith took root after witnessing Jerry’s changed life. She soon joined him in ministry, seeking to convert women and girls in the local saloons and dance halls. After working short terms at odd jobs, McAuley had a vision of what God wanted him to do: Jerry would find a place to bring derelict men. He would then “clean them up on the outside while Jesus cleaned them up on the inside.” He raised money by soliciting friends in the city and giving his testimony at camp meetings in New York and New Jersey. With the encouragement of a benefactor, Fredrick Hatch, the McAuleys took possession of a former bar and brothel at 316 Water Street on the Lower East Side, and used the money to fix and refurbish the place. In October 1872, they opened Helping Hand for Men, later know as Water Street Mission and McAuley Mission. Today, it is the New York City Rescue Mission. For the next twelve years, the McAuleys’ words and actions were instrumental in countless thousands coming to faith in Christ. In all their endeavors, the tender love and acceptance they showed to the down-and-out won over many in the city. During those years, Jerry and Maria also opened the Cremorne Mission at 104 West 32nd Street, right next to the Cremorne Garden, a saloon and dance hall. In time, using the McAuleys’ models, other impassioned Christ- followers started similar missions to minister to destitute people in surrounding neighborhoods and eventually surrounding states. By the turn of the century, rescue mission ministry was spreading across the continent. On a September afternoon in 1884, Jerry went to be with his Lord. His death was the result of tuberculosis he had contracted while in Sing Sing’s deplorable conditions. It seemed that all of New York came to the open-casket funeral to see this unique man. To them, he was the Evangelist of the Slums; to us, he was the pioneer of rescue missions in North America. The Evangelist of the Slums Jerry McAuley on his wedding day in 1872 Helping Hands for Men at 316 Water Street