Covenant House Alaska (CHA) was created in early 1987 by the late Anchorage Archbishop Francis T. Hurley of Anchorage and Father Bruce Ritter, a Franciscan priest and President of Covenant House International (CHI).

Late Anchorage Archbishop Francis Hurley

Father Ritter founded Covenant House as a refuge for runaway and throw-away youth in New York City. He was in Anchorage at the invitation of Archbishop Hurley to give a public talk on youth on the streets. He agreed to open a Covenant House program in Anchorage if the archdiocese would provide a suitable building for the crisis center as it was then called. The crisis center was to be a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year shelter where any youth could come for safety, care and, most importantly, Christian love.

Archbishop Hurley asked me to take the lead in establishing a Covenant House in Anchorage. I was on the Catholic Social Services board at the time and had, along with others, worked with him to create two other shelters, Brother Francis and Clare House.

I escorted Father Ritter on a tour of downtown Anchorage during which I showed him the old Armed Forces YMCA, which had just closed. The building satisfied his criteria. I negotiated the building’s purchase, headed the fund-raising committee, lobbied the legislature for a grant, and became the first board member of the new CHA. All of Father Ritter’s requirements had been met, and Covenant House Alaska opened on October 31, 1988. I had almost 35 years of service when I resigned in January 2022.

Covenant House was a Roman Catholic charity from the beginning. The president was a Franciscan priest. The national corporate bylaws stated: “The Directors shall at all times have due regard for the Roman Catholic origins of Covenant House and the Roman Catholic traditions and philosophy that have guided the administration of Covenant House and its subsidiaries and affiliated organizations.” No site, including Anchorage, would be created without the invitation or consent of the local Catholic bishop.

Late Covenant House International President Sister Mary Rose McGeady

In 1994, then CHI President Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C., issued a directive titled “Religious Principles and Values,” which stated that while Covenant House respected the personal views of its employees, “where there is a conflict of views, particularly in the area of sexual ethics, the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church prevails.” This directive was binding on all sites and programs of CHI. Donors and supporters, Christians, and those of any faith or no faith, knew and relied on the Catholic identity and actual practice of Covenant House in Alaska and throughout the world.

At a CHA board meeting in December 2021, CHA formally severed its connection with the Catholic church and, in particular, its moral principles. This was done by amending the local bylaws to delete the phrase “. . .the Roman Catholic traditions and philosophy that have guided the administration of Covenant House.” This action was approved by the parent body CHI. CHA is now not a Catholic institution. In policy directions and actual practice it now acts directly contrary to fundamental Catholic moral teaching.

This testament is my effort to explain, to the best of my knowledge and ability, how this fundamental and disastrous conversion to a post-modern secular organization occurred and the part I played while the conversion was in process.

Beginning in early 2018, a few people began asking me whether Covenant House was still Catholic. They had heard or seen some things which troubled them, particularly in respect to issues related to homosexuality and similar issues. I assured them it was, and promised to inquire of Covenant House executives. In April of that year, I had lunch with a CHI executive in New York regarding the questions I had been asked. Over the next three and a half years the responses I received were contradictory, vague, and evasive.

The process was long drawn out and unresolved until the CHA board meeting of December 8, 2021. I learned in advance of that meeting that a subcommittee was recommending that language regarding the Catholic nature of CHA be deleted. After a contentious debate, where some board members demeaned and dismissed the Catholic faith, the board, as previously stated, voted to approve the deletion, thus confirming that CHA was a secular institution that was no longer bound to follow Catholic moral principles, particularly in the case of sexual ethics.

It means that CHA has embraced the sexual revolution that has hit our society like a huge tsunami. It inevitably harms the very people CHA exists to help

The “Religious Principles and Values” directive mentioned earlier was now stated by CHA management to no longer be in effect. The termination of this directive and other related policy changes have had catastrophic results. It means that CHA has embraced the sexual revolution that has hit our society like a huge tsunami. It inevitably harms the very people CHA exists to help and further damages the family and child rearing, the very foundation of society. As one scholar of the Hebrew scriptures put it: “To enable the people to live justly … they will need comprehensive legislation touching on those aspects of human life where, left to their own devices, unregulated human beings will usually get it wrong – injuring their neighbors, defiling themselves, and worshiping idols.” (The Beginning of Wisdom, Reading Genesis,” by Leon R. Kass)

The need for God’s legislation to bind us is true for our time just as it was in the time of the Patriarchs.

As a result of the statements and action of the CHA board, Father Scott Medlock – a priest of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau, CHA’s second Pastoral Minister, and a 25-year board member, joined me in resigning from the board on January 7, 2022.

We wrote a letter to the CHA board and the CHI president and board explaining our reasons for resigning. No answer to our letter has been forthcoming from any of the addressees. Copies of the resignation letter were also sent to the Archbishop of Anchorage-Juneau and the Bishop of Fairbanks to inform them of our conclusion that “CHI is no longer committed to being a Catholic institution.”

On January 26, 2022, Father Medlock and I jointly sent to the CHA board a second letter asking what principles and values would govern CHA “now that the Catholic value system has been rejected as normative by CHA.” The CHA board did not respond to the substantial questions posed by the letter. While the two letters to the board were a joint effort, this column consists of my reflections only.

Founding member of Covenant House AK details how youth shelter deliberately rejected its faith-based morals

Bob Flint
Bob Flint is a retired attorney who practiced family and adoption law in Anchorage, Alaska for more than 46 years before retiring in 2010. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in economics before then attending Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C. Flint is one of the founding board members of Covenant House Alaska which serves homeless youth in Anchorage. He is also a founding board member of the Alaska Family Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes life, traditional marriage, parental rights and religious liberty all across Alaska. He continues to live in Anchorage with his wife Letha.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thank you for this history Mr. Flint. Seems like, when all of the Sisters who were running the Catholic organizations passed away, there was less and less Christianity or intention to actually help the people, in the organizations. Providence Health Systems is a good example of this also.

    • Kathy L. says:

      Totally agree with your observation. I had wondered also as over the last 10-15 years, I began to witness things that didn’t line up with Catholic teaching or the principles that used to guide a Catholic-run organization. There was quite a de-emphasis on God, faith, and Christian practice. Indeed they have become anti-Christian!

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    So what will happen to Covent House? Will they change their name, I hope so. Will they be cl9sed down for good because they’re not good for the community anylonger? Anchorage should be renamed Sodom and Gomorrah. It is that close that GOD needs to strike it down. Is there not one just person left in Anchorage? Isn’t that the question God ask Lott?

    • Kathy L. says:

      Might God call one of His own to open a place for teens? They still need some place safe to go and an adult who cares. And someone to share the Gospel with them. Someone to help restore relationships parents, providing ‘home’ is an otherwise healthy environment. The field is still ripe for harvest.

  • Bob Bird says:

    And where is that “Local ordinary” — Abp. Andrew Bellisario in all this? Too busy with an artificially created gigantic archdiocese, giving him the perfect excuse of being “spread too thinly” with his duties? What could be more important than his role as a shepherd to his flock and the Church, for which he is a “Successor to the Apostles”? He leaves it to a layman! And hides underneath the beds of the sexual revolution.

  • jon says:

    There can be recovery without religion. Organized religion has ruined much of our country.

    • Matthew Myers says:

      Dead wrong. But thanks for playing.

    • Rich Troutman says:

      I would be interested in hearing an explanation of that theory. Highly doubt you can come up with anything that can’t be proven wrong many times over.

  • Kris Viens says:

    I first heard of Covenant HOuse when I was graduating from Boston College in 1982. Fr. Ritter was our commencement speaker. He was truly inspiring. Over the years we kept informed of covenant house and were very saddened to hear how Fr.Ritter was forced out of his role due to proven false allegations, but politically “safe” decision to have him step down. Honestly, over time I have seen the changes in Covenant house and now Beans Cafe . Their funding was pulled by one other local charity due to their changing policies related to sexual allowances. I do hope that the Archdiocese is going to move any funding they have from Covenant house to other charities in the State as well. May the courage of Fr. Ritter live on in the prelates who make these decisions here locally.

  • David Carey says:

    No God, No love. This is another example of the importance of “Keeping the Faith” regarding our community. Without Biblical foundation, the best efforts of humanity are inadequate to the task of promoting the Kingdom of God in the here and now. Covenant House was designed to be a sanctuary for those being preyed upon by the social evils of our times. This is another absurd example of the philosophic chaos which allows the killing of people supposedly in order to save them. Please pray for those promoting this immoral and Godless situation.

    • Lucinda says:

      David: I’ve always given more than I’ve taken. I founded two local conservation groups, a pet advocacy group; I serve on a state advisory board, volunteer at the museum, drive meals on wheels. All that without your god remotely involved.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Lucinda, if you are so involved and have founded groups and served on advisory board and on and on, please show us the proof of all of these things that you have done. Are there state records, business news or newspaper articles supporting what you claim?

  • Jen says:

    To kathy l: freedom house was started by its director when she only had 500 in her bank, and she saw a need tobuy
    a house for women recovery from addictions and
    jail. The hope house in muldoon is in the same
    mission work. A warning when these nonprofits get bigger they attract liberals who follow the money as i seen creeping and infiltrating the hope center and
    community pregnany center.
    Covenant house board’s lack of discernment hiring its first liberals led to its fall away from the faith


  • Lucinda says:

    Friend. There’s no way in hell I would reveal any more of me than I did. If I did, I would honestly fear being shot. The Christian Nationalists are a divisive violent danger to my community.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Yup Christian Nationalists behind every bush. I’ve even been accused of being one!!!!?
      What is a Christian nationalist , I need a reminder?

      • Lucinda says:

        Dave. Proud Boys, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers. The common thread is trigger jittery young men motivated by Christian dogma that justifies violence.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Lucinda, do not go down that road of making false claims against Christians. Once again, you are employing the tactics that the left and the globalists use to make others look horrible when infact it is YOU that are doing and saying horrible things. Please understand Lucinda that the world is waking up and we are on to your tactics and your tactics do not work anymore.
      As for proof, since you will not provide any and you make up a lie to cover your reasons why, then what you told David Carey is not true.

  • Lucinda says:

    You’ve revealed your weak critical thinking skills again.

    What I said to David Carey, including the absence of your god in my life, is true. But maybe no matter. The bigger concept is that your god is not necessary to do good things. Does that not set well with you Friend? Isn’t it possible to just do good, regardless the motive and belief?

  • Lucinda says:

    Thank you Joel for allowing me, a liberal atheist, to participate in this forum.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Oath keepers, proud boys, 3 %ers, etc, it’s becoming painfully obvious that a tactic of war that has a junior high school bully running it, is playing out here! Remember how people who were law abiding and peace loving used to operate? We needed witnesses and evidence to come to an accurate conclusion! Simply repeating something doesn’t make it true! So Lucinda declaring that “sally is a liar” or “Jonny is a dumb bell”, doesn’t make it true no matter how many times you say it!
      You and yours have resorted to lazy thinking and tactics! For that you have failed your exam and must retake your junior high school class again!!!

      • Lucinda says:

        I think there is plenty of evidence proving that the Proud Boys etc are violent intimidating bullies.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Lucinda, the only evidence that the lefties have about the proud boys or oath keepers is the evidence that the lefties planted to make these patriots look like thugs to cover up the violence and destruction that the lefties have been committing. Saying your lies over and over are not going to change the truth Lucinda. The stories you tell are lies and the truth is coming out. Tucker Carlson is doing a great job releasing videos of the truth and exposing the lies. God bless America and the Humanity-loving People. Truth wins in the end!

    • Berry says:

      I would hazard a guess that you are not only a member of the alphabet soup crowd, but appear to be totally ignorant. I’m sure whatever college degree you have, if any, you got at Walmart.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Maybe your mistake the phony hats they were waring! Look again perhaps it’s antipha?! Bribed antagonist!!!!!

  • Candy says:

    Thank you for your decades of service to Anchorage and Alaska Mr Flint. This update on the changes to CHA is a common story and has happened to many organizations in which changes are made to the founding principles, rather than the agents for change starting their own organization with their distinct purposeful design. There should be a way to prevent and thwart this kind of usurpation. We shouldn’t let anyone destroy what they haven’t created. It’s happening everywhere but we must not allow it.