When J. Cleveland Bledsoe and his wife built a residence at 201 McNulty St. in Blythewood, in 1948, they had no idea their house would eventually become a house for healing and health for the entire community. They built “The Stone House,” one of the few houses in Blythewood constructed with Winnsboro Blue Granite, and it became known as “The Bledsoe House.”
The home was purchased by the Peggy Blume Norton Jeffcoat family in 1961, then owned by Irene Andes V. Shepherd in 1969 and finally purchased by Trinity United Methodist Church in 2010.
Under the direction of Ed Farnell and the Board of Trustees of Trinity, church members have been undertaking extensive renovation of the property for the past year. The church has recently written a vision and five-year ministry plan and has the goal of broadening the ministry of the Blythewood Counseling Center under Initiative Four (community ministry).
Housed at Trinity for the past eight years, the Blythewood Counseling Center will now be moved to The Stone House so the ministry can be expanded, belong and reach out to the entire Blythewood community.
Dr. Donald H. Hillyard has served the center for eight years and will continue to guide the ministry, adding new staff including a licensed female counselor. The center will continue to offer individual, couples and family counseling for the entire community. Trinity seeks to offer help and healing beyond the four walls of the church on a non-sectarian basis with financial help for those who cannot afford counseling. The church envisions The Stone House eventually becoming a community mental health center with aggregate services of many kinds in ministry.
Anticipated first -year expenses for the center will be approximately $25,000, and interested members of the Blythewood community will be invited to financially support this service. The center opened in mid-August, and Hillyard is seeing clients there presently as a ministry of the church.
The public is invited to a Dedication Service for the Stone House Ministry Friday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. in front of the building. The church’s Food Truck Friday will be held in conjunction with the dedication from 5-7 p.m.
Blythewood Mayor Mike Ross and other community and church leaders will participate in the dedication.