(James) Blaisdell saw that having a large number of missionaries, with a wide variety of experiences around the world, would benefit Pomona College, said Bill Cunitz, todays president and CEO of Pilgrim Place.
By then, more missionaries were looking for places to retire so it was a natural progression for the home to become a retirement community, said Cunitz
But even that liberalization of its entry restrictions wasnt enough, as Cunitz
found out not long ago when Pilgrim Place
applied to issue $26 million in state tax-exempt bonds to make significant and badly needed upgrades to the campus.
On the brink of approval after two years of preparation, Cunitz
was told Pilgrim Place
couldnt participate in such a public-supported bond issue if it continued to restrict its applicants only to Christians.
had to return home and discuss with the residents elimination of this almost century-long requirement.
It was very encouraging that a sizeable number of our community felt positive about opening up Pilgrim Place
to non-Christians, he
It was decided to open it to all people following the core idea of Pilgrim Place
that it was a place for people who had in their lives served others.
Consequently, it has opened to long-time community workers, such from the Heifer Project or Habitat for Humanity, as well as religion professors.
There are Buddhists now living at Pilgrim Place
, and applications have been received from future residents who are Jews and Sikhs, he
We will believe in serving all peoples of our community and beyond, Cunitz