Our Organization

Dr. Costello administers David's ear exam with nurses Erica and Rhonda

About Hope Christian Services

Hope Christian Services provides care, programs, and resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ensuring that each resident reaches their full potential. Our organization addresses every aspect of life—medical, residential, social, educational, vocational, recreational, and spiritual.  

Hope Christian Services opened as Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat on December 4, 1972 as the only facility of its kind in the state of New Jersey. ECCR expanded into the community in 1986 with the development of community-based group homes, where residents enjoy supervised,  supported living. In 1992 ECCR advanced its philosophy of providing a home-like setting for residents with the construction of on-site lodges.


Today, we operate 15 group homes in Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, where residents enjoy supervised, supported living.

We currently have three more group homes under construction which will enable us to serve more people as we strive to recognize and address the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Hope Christian Services addresses the need for vocational training and life skills through our day program, RAVE, which was established in 1986. The program is open to residents of Hope Christian Services and people in our surrounding community ages 21 and up.  

Our respite care services provide a home away from home for people with disabilities while their family is taking a well-needed vacation or cannot care for them due to temporary, extenuating circumstances. 

The organization retains a professional staff of over 300 dedicated people providing 24/7 care for residents. A volunteer Board of Directors, elected from the community, governs Hope Christian Services.

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Guided by our Christian calling, we serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing a life filled with hope and love.


A world of inclusion for all people by showing the hope and love of Jesus.


Hope Christian Services continues to carry on its tradition of trusting in God and honoring the Christian commitment of its founders. The organization will continue to support persons with developmental disabilities throughout all stages of life, assuring that each person shall realize his/her full potential as a child of God.

From its origin in 1965, one simple principle has guided Hope Christian Services (Formerly known as Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat): to serve individuals with disabilities so that they can reach their greatest potential. Our rich history in the community is a cherished story of how we began. It’s an essential part of who we are as an organization.

Founder Theresa "Tret" Bushman and her nephew,Board member, Bill Bushman

Miss Theresa Bushman

Miss Theresa Bushman of Wyckoff was the driving force behind the founding of the Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat, the first private residential facility for people with developmental disabilities in the state of New Jersey. She and a fellow nurse, Ann (Minnema) Morgan, founded the Retreat in the early 1960s. 

Realizing the Need for a Residential Facility

As a maternity nurse at Paterson General Hospital in the 1950s, Miss Bushman saw firsthand the need for a residential facility for disabled children. At the time, there were no local facilities that provided a home-like setting for the care and treatment of children with mental and physical disabilities. Compelled by their Christian belief of caring for those less fortunate, they organized hundreds of volunteers from the community to finance and construct a residential facility–an idea that seemed formidable at the time. Ultimately, they approached the Christian Sanatorium in Wyckoff. The Sanatorium, now known as Christian Health, agreed to sell ECCR 10 acres of land on which to construct the facility for $1.

With support from the community, the appeal began in 1962 with $40 in the bank, Vigorous fundraising activities slowly propelled the project along. In 1971 ground was broken, and in 1972 the Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat became a reality. The residential facility welcomed its first residents on December 4, 1972.

Christopher is getting a physical therapy treatment from Andy and Marcia

When we built the Retreat building, I pinched myself–and I still do each time I come up the road.

The Retreat currently serves over 120 people with a broad range of disabilities in homes on our Wyckoff campus and in community-based homes. Miss Bushman served as president of the Retreat’s Ladies Auxiliary for many years.

Miss Bushman passed away on November 16, 2016.  She was a woman who gave so much of herself to help others. She is an example of compassion and an inspiration to many. She will be missed but her legacy will live on.


The Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Fundraising began with a $40 bank deposit.
December 4, 1972
The Retreat officially opened its residence to serve 85 children and young adults with developmental disabilities.
June 1984
Major renovations to main residence with an addition of East dormitory, which included classrooms and living areas to accommodate growing needs.
August 1985
ECCR Special Needs Adult Day program started.
September 1987
The first community based group home is opened in Midland Park to accommodate 5 men.
May 1990
A second community group home in North Haledon is opened to accommodate 5 adolescents.
January 1992
A third community based group home is opened in North Haledon to 5 women.
January 1993
Two new on-site group homes adjacent to the main building are opened.
March 1994
The Retreat receives state approval to provide respite (short-term) care to families of individuals with disabilities.
January 1998
A third on-site group home is opened.
June 1999
A fourth group home is opened in Hawthorne in partnership with the Christian Health Care Center.
May 2000
A fifth community-based residence is opened in Midland Park for two women.
June 2001
The Retreat names the main residence in Wyckoff, The Bushman Building, in honor of co-founder and long-term supporter, Theresa Bushman.
January 2002
ECCR opened its first community-based adult day program in Prospect Park.
August 2009
A community-based group home opened in Midland Park for four women.
October 2012
Grand Re-Opening of Hilltop Group Home in North Haledon.
May 2014
Groundbreaking for the ECCR Mountain Ave Group Home in Wyckoff.
September 2014
Groundbreaking for the ECCR Waldwick Group Home.
December 2014
Groundbreaking for the ECCR Crescent Ave Group Home in Allendale.
April 2015
Ribbon Cutting for new Mountain Ave Group Home in Wyckoff.
May 2015
5 residents moved into newly constructed Mountain Ave Group Home in Wyckoff.
September 2015
Ribbon Cutting for the new Waldwick Group Home, home for 6 women.
November 2015
Renovations to Willow Lodge complete.
May 2016
Ribbon cutting for new Crescent Ave Group Home, home for 5 women.
September 2016
Groundbreaking for new Rockledge Group Home in Hawthorne, NJ.
November 2017
Ribbon Cutting for new Rockledge Group Home, home for 5 men.
September 2018
Groundbreaking for new Hamilton House Group Home in Allendale, NJ.
December 2018
Renovations to Oak Lodge complete.
October 2019
Ribbon Cutting for the new Hamilton Group Home, home to 5 men.
October 2020
Reopening of Oak Lodge.
January 2021
Groundbreaking for the Sweetman Group Home in Wyckoff, NJ.

Verse of the Day

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.