1980s through the 1990s

During this time period WAMS sponsored, supported and/or led several important initiatives related to housing and community development. These include:

Colony Retirement Homes (a pioneer in the field of congregate care)

The first Habitat for Humanity project in Massachusetts (55 King Street in Worcester)

The Neighborhood Forum (a gathering of diverse persons and organizations to strengthen Worcester neighborhoods undertaken in partnership with the Greater Worcester Community Foundation)

The Worcester Housing Summit (an effort that created working relationships among the political, banking, and non-profit sectors that are still used today to develop affordable housing)

The Worcester Community Loan Fund

The Housing Task Force for the Pathways to Progress initiative

The first housing program in the state for families with HIV/AIDS (over time this program expanded into today’s Aids Project Worcester)

2000 through Today

During this time, as Worcester and many cities like it have experienced steep manufacturing job loss followed by the development of a knowledge-based economy keyed to higher education, health care, the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and professional services, WAMS’ efforts have included and/or been enhanced by, the following:

The Greater Elm Park Project (the first comprehensive initiative in the country sponsored by a religious institution for which WAMS was recognized for “best practice ministry” by the National Council of Churches)

Hurricane Katrina recovery in collaboration with the Massachusetts Conference that included re-construction and the sponsorship of Teacher-to-Teacher teams

The extraordinary gift of “6 Institute” and significant financial endowment from long time partner, United Congregational Church, followed by renovation that allowed this location to become home to WAMS, United Congregational Church and Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance

The WAMS Sustainable Massachusetts conference series focused on lifting up for discussion and adoption, new strategies that are succeeding because they are multi-faceted, integrated and comprehensive

Summer CUBS (Comprehension and Understanding Bring Success) program, a collaboration with Clark University’s Adam Institute and Worcester Public Schools that offers interactive and individualized summer learning to elementary students who attend Woodland Academy

Some Additional Milestones


WAMS became the first religious or social welfare organization selected by the trustees of Mechanics Hall to receive the Master Mechanic Award (See Award Acceptance Speech Here) that honors individuals and organizations that are creating a culture of excellence and growth in Central Massachusetts


WAMS’ longtime (34 years) Minister and President The Rev. Robert S. Bachelder retired and WAMS hired The Rev. Sally E. Norris to lead WAMS into its next phase of making a difference in the lives of greater Worcester residents