About Us

Our Mission

Merci's Refuge is a 4-5 month (plus possible 6 months transitional period) Christian residential counseling program for adult women seeking freedom from various life-controlling issues that keep them from experiencing joy and accomplishing their goals.  These issues often stem from past trauma and include things like depression, anxiety, addictions, unhealthy relationships, unplanned pregnancies, unstable income and housing, and involvement with the child welfare system.  Our aim is to provide the time, space and support for women to step outside of survival and crisis mode and begin the hard work of healing from past trauma.

Our program includes individual counseling, group work, life-goal coaching, and various life-skills classes for pregnancy, parenting, finances, and healthy living.  We are a Christian ministry and our program encourages residents to explore and grow in their faith through bible study, prayer and worship, and being a part of Christian community.


Our Roots

Merci's Refuge is a program of Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center. Since 1985 Living Alternatives has served women in Illinois and Indiana experiencing unplanned pregnancies through material assistance, mentoring, pregnancy testing, and free ultrasounds. It is out of this mission and history of supporting women that the vision for Merci's Refuge was born.

The need for residential care was evident early on in the organization's history. Families became "Shepherding Homes" to house and support women during their pregnancies. However, without formal structure and programming, this method was not sufficient to help women move beyond the various issues keeping them from reaching their goals and potential.

Some years later, Greta Henry, then the Director of the Champaign Pregnancy Resource Center, visited a residential program in Tennessee and experienced a working model for truly supporting women through their pregnancies and other challenging situations. In 2008, a team of volunteers from the Champaign community began meeting and praying about how a life-transforming residential program could be started in Champaign for women in Illinois and across the United States.

In September of 2016 Merci's Refuge officially opened to residents!

Our Team

Nate Himes, MSW, Director of Counseling Ministries  - nhimes@hopeforafuture.com
Greta Henry, Spiritual Life Coordinator - greta@hopeforafuture.com

Terri Lipscomb, Chief Development Officertlipscomb@hopeforafuture.com
Jessica Elliott, MSW, Program Coordinator - jessica@hopeforafuture.com
Sarah Kroeze, Resident Life Coordinator - sarah@hopeforafuture.com
Dominique Delgado, Resident Life Assistant - dom@hopeforafuture.com


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