Inside Downtown: Wayside Cross Ministries

“Inside Downtown” takes you on a pictorial journey of downtown Aurora. Peek inside buildings, events, organizations, stores, and more. Learn about who and what makes downtown tick. Join us as we discover and learn about places and people in downtown.

Wayside Cross Ministries

215 E. New York St.

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Wayside Cross offers a bible-based, Christ-centered program to men who formerly battled substance abuse. Residents used to be in their 50s, but with drug addiction, residents are often much younger. Residents are frequently tested for drugs. New intakes are required to be sober.

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Wayside Cross Ministries is located at 215 E. New York St. in downtown Aurora. The ministry started after Billy Sunday conducted a six-week revival in 1927. In 1994, the name changed from Wayside Cross Rescue Mission to Wayside Cross Ministries. Construction started in 2013 on the newly opened 47,000-square-foot building.

 

 

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A plaque is displayed in the foyer of the new building.

 

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The chapel in the old building remains, but was renovated.

 

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A sheet of plastic hangs where an opening will be made for the new breezeway that will connect the two buildings.

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Photos of board members through the years hang on the board room wall at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Wayside Cross displays photos of the organization’s six executive directors that have served over the years since 1927.

 

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One of the classrooms at Wayside Cross, Aurora. The organization provides a seven-month program for residents.

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Tools for Temptation are written on a white board in one of the classrooms at Wayside Cross, Aurora. Classes are part of the seven-month rehabilitation program.

 

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Student books left on a table in one of the classrooms at Wayside Cross, Aurora from an 8 a.m. class.

 

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A commercial kitchen on the second floor serves staff and residents.

 

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Birnie Harper, annual campaign and business development coordinator at Wayside Cross, shows off the food storage area adjacent to the commercial kitchen on the second floor of the new building.

 

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The dining room at Wayside Cross, Aurora serves residents and staff, which totals more than 100.

 

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The dining room salad bar is prepped for lunch. An acronym for EGO is posted for residents.

 

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Tables are set in the dining room for the lunch crowd.

 

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Stairwell sign at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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A chess game is set up in the common area for residents at Wayside Cross.

 

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Signs are taped to the bottom of a large, flat screen TV in the common room at Wayside Cross.

 

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Train tracks neighbor Wayside Cross to the west. The new building is soundproof.

 

 

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Industrial washer and driers at Wayside Cross, Aurora. There are currently 95 residents in the building.

 

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Each resident gets a labeled bag for laundry.

 

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Hot water heaters in the basement at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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An exercise room in the basement is utilized when residents are not kept busy in classes or working. All of the equipment was donated.

 

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Donated equipment in the basement exercise room at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Wayside Cross, Aurora is made up of three buildings on New York Street between Lincoln Avenue and Broadway.

 

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Residents work in the warehouse where donated items are stored and organized at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Wayside Cross operates two thrift stores: The Hope Chest and Sweet Charity in Montgomery.

 

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Clothes not sold in the thrift stores are boxed to ship overseas. Wayside Cross is paid for the clothes by the weight.

 

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A sorting room in the warehouse at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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A sign posted on the warehouse door at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Bags of shoes and purses for overseas. Wayside Cross is paid by the weight for such items.

 

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Stenciled letters on a door at Wayside Cross. There is a commercial kitchen for program residents and staff and a smaller, private kitchen for long-term residents. Donated and purchased food is stored in the basement on shelves and walk-in coolers.

 

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Carlos, a two-time resident, manages a private store for residents of Wayside Cross and Lifespring Ministries.

 

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A sign posted for resident shoppers. Residents are allowed a certain number of clothing and personal items.

 

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Carlos explains the resident shopper program during the Aurora Downtown tour of Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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A bible is left open in a wall display.

 

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A sign posted for residents on a warehouse door.

 

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A back room inside the warehouse houses electrical items that are all tested before going to the thrift stores.

 

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Electrical items fill a room in the large warehouse at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Ponchos, safety jackets, hard hats, and boots stored in the warehouse at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Donated frames and pictures sit in storage in the warehouse at Wayside Cross, Aurora.

 

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Wayside Cross Ministries offers a seven-month Master’s Touch program serving men at the downtown location. New residents are not allowed to leave the campus during the first month.

 

 

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The Wayside Cross campus includes a full-service maintenance shop.

 

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Hope Chest, 36 N. Lincoln Ave., is run by Wayside Cross.

 

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An open sign in the window at Hope Chest, a resale shop in downtown Aurora.

 

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The Hope Chest Resale Shop is also getting a face lift. The store is currently being remodeled and rearranged.

 

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Resident bicycles are lined up against a back fence at Wayside Cross. Bicycle is a primary mode of transportation for residents.