The Samaritan Counseling Center was established by a consortium of local churches in the Farmington, Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield communities. The idea for such a center originated with The Rev. Robert L. S. Brown, then pastor of Orchard United Methodist Church. After study, the congregation decided that such an endeavor was better developed ecumenically, and other churches were invited to join in the effort. Twelve churches responded to the call. A Board of Directors was gathered from all participating congregations, and the Center was incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization in March 1985.
The Rev. Wesley L. Brun, D.Min. served as the first Executive Director from 1986-2006. The Center’s first offices were in Knox House at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington, followed in 1988 by a branch office at Embury United Methodist Church in Birmingham. As the organization began to grow, Dr. Brun’s initiatives enabled the move to the current main offices at Nardin Park United Methodist Church in Farmington Hills. Before his retirement in 2006, his leadership had enabled the organization to achieve accreditation from the Samaritan Institute and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. SCC had a Board of 14 committed members from sponsoring congregations. The staff had grown to 14 and almost 5000 counseling hours were being delivered on an annual basis. Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral Care Specialist Training programs had been developed; Preparation for Marriage Programs, Clergy Seminars, Assessment and Testing, and other educational services initiated.
The Rev. Paul J. Melrose, D.Min. who had been on staff as Clinical Director assumed the role of Executive Director from July, 2006 – December, 2010. During these years, his initiatives and networking skills, assisted the organization to continue to grow as he worked to make the presence of SCC more visible in the community through his active participation in various community organizations and to increase the number of sponsoring congregations. The staff o increased to seventeen, the number of sponsoring parishes to thirty-nine, and more than 6000 counseling hours were delivered in 2010. Paul decided to dedicate himself to clinical work and continues at SCC as a staff therapist.
Patricia A. McCluskey, IHM, Ph.D., D.Min. was the Executive Director from 2010 until June 2013. Dr. McCluskey was an advocate of diversity initiatives and helped the center to transition to an interfaith model. She hired on several diverse staff members and began the transition to electronic health records. She was also a dedicated therapist and supervisor. Dr. McCluskey transitioned to a role as Mission Councilor for the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters.
Rev. Robert A. Martin, D. Min., LPC, CAAC, NCC, was the Executive Director from July 2013 until July 2016. Dr. Martin facilitated the shift into Electronic Health Records (EHR), a major shift for how our therapists document sessions and how we bill for services rendered. Staff was hired for our billing department to streamline insurance billing and we transitioned to a new office manager.
Mark Phelps, M.A., LMFT is the current Executive Director.