Sonya Rivers Turns Grief into Hope and Healing

Sonya Rivers is now mentoring youth to learn healthy ways to resolve conflicts and de-escalate violence. Her brother was killed last year by gun violence. She worships at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, and is finding ways through her personal grief to create a positive future for herself and her community.

Thanks to Patriot News/Penn Live’s support, the Agape-Satyagraha peacemaking initiative is gaining notoriety in the greater Harrisburg area.

In Fall 2015, they sent a crew to meet the youth participants and adult mentors of the program. Follow the link above to hear what these peacemakers desire to see in their community, and in what ways they are making peace happen at home, at school, and on the streets.2015 Grad Shot

Community Youth Level Up for PEACE

We are celebrating the successful elevation of three of the participants in the Agape-Satyagraha program. As they move through the program, acquiring knowledge and mastering skills, they achieve higher and higher levels until they graduate.

Recently, these three outstanding young people have shown that they are working hard, taking the program seriously, and putting into practice all they are learning about being peacemakers in the real world.

KC Tilley (right) successfully completed the first level, WHITE level. In WHITE level, participants learn to understand the meaning of conflict, conflict resolution, and how conflicts escalate. Why is Supreme (left) smiling so broadly in this photo?  Since Supreme Funn “sponsored” KC, he receives $5 every time KC passes a level. A-S KC Mii’Angel Cotton (left) has also successfully completed the WHITE level, like KC. She is pictured here with her mentor, Ms. Alice Smith (right), a dedicated volunteer for bcmPEACE and Agape-Satyagraha.A-S MiiAngel
Finally, congratulations are in order for Terrian Simmons (left), who is pictured below with mentor Sonya Rivers (right). Terrian completed the GREEN level, which is the second level of Agape-Satyagraha. In GREEN level, participants learn how emotions are involved in conflict. They learn the value of simply calming down as a way to begin de-escalating a conflict, and then other steps such as: Distract yourself, Relax your body, and Talk through affirmations that allow you to take control of the situation in a calm, peaceful way.A-S Terrian

To learn more about Agape-Satyagraha, visit our page at

bcmPEACE Honors Local Peacemakers at Annual Event

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Agape-Satyagraha Graduates with Board Chair Don V. Mitchell and Executive Director Rev. Ron Tilley

What a fantastic way to launch October!

An enthusiastic crowd of supporters gathered at Best Western Premier on Thursday, October 1, to attend the 10th Annual bcmPEACE Banquet and Silent Auction.

Activities for the evening included a wonderful catered feast, a silent auction filled with a wide assortment of goods and services, a caricature  artist, live music by Leah J, and the main event: Honoring men and women who work hard to bring peace to the community.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Dr. Debra Heath-Thornton, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Central Penn College. With her extensive background, education and experience in restorative justice and leadership development; she encouraged the audience, particularly the youth participating in the Agape-Satyagraha peace studies program, to continue living lives of integrity, shining like lights in the community.

Graduates of Agape-Satyagraha (shown above from left to right) are: Andrew Rodriguez, Mylea Evans, Jiovannie Cruz, Laishon Coles, and Ashly Lopez (not shown). They have excelled in learning to recognize conflict, developing interpersonal peacemaking skills, mediating and negotiating conflict, and understanding justice and systems of power.

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Keynote Speaker Dr. Debra Heath-Thornton and fellow Peacemaker Award recipients Gerald W. Rhoades and Charla J. Plaines

In addition to Dr. Debra Heath-Thorton, two others were honored with 2015 Peacemaker Awards: Gerald W. Rhoades, the founder of the Agape-Satyagraha youth peace studies program, and Charla J. Plaines, the Reentry Coordinator for the Office of Criminal Justice System Improvements of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Thanks to Executive Director Ron Tilley, bcmPEACE Board Chair Don V. Mitchell, the members of the Board of Directors, and a special welcome to the newly appointed members of the Board.

BE the PEACE Invite LOGO BLACK no date

“Be the Peace” and Join Brethren Community Ministries (bcmPEACE) for its 10th Annual Banquet & Silent Auction

Thursday, October 1, 2015

6:30PM – 8:30PM

Best Western Premier

800 East Park Drive
Harrisburg, PA   17111

Tickets are $50/person.  Be a table captain, purchase a table of eight (8) for $400.  Support bcmPEACE programs through sponsorship. Sponsorship levels available from $5000 down to the $100 level. 

RSVP by September 24 (Sponsors & Individuals)

 Click here for more information about Sponsorship Opportunities

This Special Evening features:

Sumptuous Buffet

(including Vegetarian & Vegan Dishes)

Dessert Bar

Kosher Meal (Upon Advance Request)

Silent Auction

Special Speaker Dr. Debra Heath-Thornton


Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost at Central Penn College

Special music by Leah J. Hileman


Professional writer, minister and independent recording artist and author of over 300 originals songs

Honoring of our Agape-Satyagraha 2015 Graduates

Honoring of our 2015 Peacemaker Awardees

Click here to purchase tickets, make a donation or pay for a sponsorship online

Tickets, donations and sponsorships can be paid online at Eventbrite or via check made payable to “bcmPEACE” or “BCM” and mailed to:

219 Hummel St.
Harrisburg, PA 17104

For more information email:

Call: 717-525-7565

You can donate a quality silent auction item through September 18.  Items we are seeking:

  • Handcrafted Items (quilts, woodcraft, etc.)
  • Gift Baskets (themed items, gift certificates, etc.)
  • Sports, Recreation, Entertainment Items (vacations, hotel stays, sports tickets, etc.)

RSVP by September 24 (Sponsors & Individuals)

NOTE:  If you purchase your tickets online you can print your receipt but there is no need to bring any actual “tickets” to the event.  There are no paper tickets for the event.  After you have paid for you ticket your name will be on our list of attendees and when you arrive we will let you know where your assigned seat is.  Let us know if you have a seating preference.  If you pay via check we’ll send you a receipt in the mail or via email if we have your email on file.  Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walk-ins at this event.

GroupieHighmarkWalk_2014_FINAL_HORIZONSaturday May 16, 2015

Tamir,” a participant in our Agape-Satyagraha program which develops youth to be leaders by mentoring them in peaceful conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation and social change; says “I’ve learned how to live a more peaceful life and how not to be mad right away…I use this stuff in my everyday life. I use Agape-Satyagraha because it’s very helpful.”

Michael,” another Agape-Satyagraha youth,says “It feels different from before. I use to do things that [weren’t] necessary. But now I’m here, I got taught, I got out of things, I realize that I have to change.”

Please help “Tamir” , “Michael”, and other youth from the South Allison Hill neighborhood of Harrisburg become leaders in the transformation of our community to a place where everyone feels safe from violence; and peace and justice abound.

Our goal is to raise $18,000

Just go to our walk page, register & start talking to people about our cause

Search for one of our teams to Join or Donate

  • PEACE BABIES (Joy Reardon’s small group)
  • BE THE PEACE (other bcmPEACE attendees)
  • PEW PACKERS (other HFCOBattendees)
  • TEAM INSOMNIA (Tiffany Carter’s Team)

Where:  HACC (Main Campus)
When:  Saturday, May 16, 2015
Registration starts 7:45 am
5k Walk Start: 9:00 am
One-Mile Fun Walk Start:  9:15 am

Contact us if you need any help or have any questions!051714_1332051714_1374

 2014 Peacemaker Awardees



Rabbi Ron Muroff

After a devastating fire in 2009 that completely destroyed their synagogue; Rabbi Ron led the Chisuk Emuna congregation through the process of purposefully rebuilding within Harrisburg to follow their mission to Harrisburg and inspire, in Rabbi Ron’s words, “a vision of a future that’s more peaceful, more respectful, and better than the world we live in now.”  He is involved nationally with Jewish Women International in raising awareness about sexual and domestic violence and clergy abuse in the Jewish community; and locally with the Harrisburg Chapter of Heeding G-d’s Call, an interfaith effort to saves lives through gun violence prevention.

Hector R. Ortiz, Ph.D.

Hector has been working for many years on human and civil rights, equity, equality, socioeconomic disparities, diversity, and inclusion.  Hector has founded/co-founded Estamos Unidos de Pennsylvania; the Latino/Hispanic Professional Association of Central PA; and the Latino Hispanic American Community Center.

Kay Pickering

Kay has made her mark on our community with her extreme dedication to volunteer service, most notably through her service as a Housing Counselor at the Harrisburg Center for Peace and Justice and with her conflict medication work with Neighborhood Dispute Settlement.  She’s been a member of the Religious Society of Friends since she was 10 years old.

Starla J. Williams

Starla has served as Executive Vice President for Child and Family Services in a statewide private non-profit agency servicing over 1300 children and youth in foster care. She often addresses community groups and professional organizations on important topics, including leadership development, diversity in the legal academy and racial equity in child welfare.


bcmPEACE Hooray For Youth Accomplishments

Completing the White Level

Agape-Satyagraha –This program uses peer mentoring to teach non-violent conflict resolution and social change leadership skills to over fifty community youth in grades 6-12.


Hip Hip Hooray for our @bcmPEACE youth involved in Agape-Satyagraha who have completed one of the 5 levels of conflict resolution. These levels are White, Green, Blue, Brown and Black. Thirty-seven times bcmPEACE recognized teens completing a level this year, this is just a few of them.

Another White Level photo 1 photo 2

Hanging Out

At the 2014 BE the PEACE banquet we are recognizing the four teens who have completed the Black level (so far this year) and who now serve as peer mentors.

Teens have learned how to choose a different path than violence and use their conflict resolution skills to be community leaders. After “graduating” by finishing the Black level, teens serve as peer mentors passing on what they’ve learned and experienced…keeping it real!

Teens have earned trips to Hershey Park and West Shore’s Hamden Pool.

bcmPEACE Kids Engage in Community Service at Central Penn Nursing Home

In December of 2013, bcmPEACE KIDS visited Central Penn Nursing Home to sing carols and present gift baskets. This commitment to community service is a common thread in all of bcmPEACE’s youth development initiatives. There is peace, power and happiness when generations come together.

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Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community Update:

You helped us raise $15,162 for the people of the South Allison Hill neighborhood and surrounding area.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

Here are some pictures from the event…

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