The Rev. Esther Hurlburt is the founder of Lexington Cooperative Ministry Inc. a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, and the parent organization of The Legacy Home. Esther lives by the words of Isaiah who taught, “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom shall be like noonday.” Thus, the creation of Lexington Cooperative Ministry manifests a universal theology taking shape in community: Everyone benefits when we share with, care for, and live in cooperation with each other.
While the Legacy Home is her ministry, Esther earns her living as a professional geriatric case manager. She understands the needs of old people. Esther had a vision to buy a house for women so that the last years of their lives would be comfortable and safe. She wasn’t sure how it could take shape, but her mentor told her a house would be available when she was ready for the challenge. Indeed, October 2009 a house presented itself, and so did the one next door. While standing on the lots of two dilapidated houses, Esther had a flashback to a Sunday School lesson taught nearly 50 years before. She heard her childhood minister say, “We have to share.” “We must share” became a familiar mantra in her family’s home. She learned sharing was not only a necessity but also a responsibility. It was then she knew deep down that her time had come to take a leap of faith and create the home she imagined possible.
Esther has been busy for the past 3 years! She provided the seed money for the houses with a portion of her inheritance and then hit the ground running. She developed a Board of Directors and together they called on the community to help remodel two old houses. They coordinated the work of 47 community partners and a battalion of volunteers, including themselves because the Ministry has no paid staff. They raised more than $90,000 in donations and came in below budget! At the same time the Board developed the framework for cooperative living.
The Home is designed for 5 women, 60 years and older so they may share rent and other expenses to minimize the cost of growing older. It is an opportunity to stay in community and it is an alternative to large apartment buildings or living alone. This newly remodeled 2500 sq. ft home has 5 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a sunroom with access to a deck, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, a library office, and a spacious backyard with room for relaxation and gardening.
The Ministry did not end with the completion of construction. The concept of cooperative living is new in Lexington, so Esther continues to preach and teach the benefits of cooperative living and is busy helping residents adjust. She is optimistic The Legacy Home will be a model for others like it. In fact, she believes, just like she was taught as a child, that sharing is not only a necessity but a responsibility. See the website: www.legacyhomeministry.org.