Tag Archives: brethren community ministries

Allison Hill MLK Day of Service Brings Out the Best In Us

Since it’s true that “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve,” bcmPEACE partnered with many wonderful local organizations to host a Day of Service in Allison Hill in cooperation with a nationwide day dedicated to community improvement. Houses of worship, organizations, teams, and individuals of all ages and ethnicities- in all 50 states – donated time on Monday, January 18, 2016 to provide services in their neighborhoods.

Dennis Saylor of Brethren Housing Association and Daryn Bullock of First Church of the Brethren

Approximately 160 willing servants attended the Allison Hill MLK Day of Service. The program opened at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, which was one of the partner organizations for the event. Other partner agencies include Hamilton Health Center, Latino Hispanic American Community Center, and Tri County Community Action.  Additionally, students from the Netherlands visiting Messiah College came as part of a cross-cultural experience, and volunteers through the YWCA’s YouthBuild program also joined in.

YWCA YouthBuild Volunteers

YWCA YouthBuild Volunteers

Each year, members of the Allison Hill community who teach and model Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophies and ethics are honored with the Drum Major Award from the Corporation for National Community Service. This year Ronald Johnson, Claude Phipps, and the executive director of bcmPEACE, Rev. Ron Tilley, were presented with Drum Major Awards. Pennsylvania Senator Rob Teplitz of the 15th Senatorial District and Harrisburg City Councilman Jeffrey Baltimore participated in the Day of Service.

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Senator Rob Teplitz presenting Ron Tilley with a MLK Drum Major for Service Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service

Why a “Drum Major” Award? In 1968, as Dr. King preached, he stated, “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness; and all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

In the words of Rev. Tilley, “My favorite quote of Dr. King is, ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a garment of single destiny.’ The reality of our existence is that we are interconnected in the most profound manner. That inter-connectedness means that what happens to one of us affects all of us.”

The Allison Hill Day of Service will occur again next year Monday, January 16, 2017. In the meantime, continue following this blog as we introduce our readers to a collection of significant works by or about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dedicate time in 2016 to study his teachings and how they relate to our current context, and look for other opportunities to serve the community.

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Students and Community Members who worked on their day off to improve the neighborhood

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The song with that title talks about kids jingle-belling and folks greeting each other with heartwarming phrases like, “Be of good cheer!” Here in Pennsylvania, winter is around the corner, and the night time temperatures are dropping lower and lower.

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Pastor Belita D. Mitchell preaching during Advent 2015, Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

bcmPEACE is grateful for the Harrisburg Food Ministry, Central PA Food Bank, and Christ Community Church’s warm clothing drive, and other agencies throughout the area who are giving away coats, hats, scarves, gloves/mittens to under-resourced neighbors in our community. We seek to practice that level of generosity all year long, not just at Christmas.

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Winter Coats, Scarves, Hats, and Gloves ready to be distributed on Friday, December 11, 2015.

Brethren Community Ministries, now known as bcmPEACE, partners with Samara to offer parenting classes, local food banks to distribute food weekly, Agape-Satyagraha and On Earth Peace to teach local youth how to effectively resolve conflict and eliminate violence, the PSU Extension and EFNEP to provide food and nutrition courses, Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren to offer opportunities for worship and Bible Study outside of a traditional Sunday morning format (in English and Spanish), and many other wonderful benevolent agencies in our community who assist with housing placement needs, utility discounts, and other financial aid.

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Sister Waverly Chadwick ending her weekly Friday morning Bible Study with a closing circle of prayer and praise.

The most wonderful time of the year? Any time our volunteers and staff are partnering with other churches and organizations to improve the quality of life for the good people of Allison Hill and the Greater Harrisburg Area. Be of good cheer! Thank you for your ongoing prayers, volunteer hours, and financial contributions. Be the Peace! @bcmpeace #BeThePeace

Many Reasons to Give to bcmPEACE #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, December 1, is #GivingTuesday. After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, and Cyber Monday, many people have spent their wad. The cash is gone. It’s all either been eaten or materialized.

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for generosity. For those with expansive hearts who want to see their money go to something worthwhile, Giving Tuesday is a reminder that some of the best gifts we give are intangible, and that giving money to a good cause has far-reaching implications, feels more satisfying, and for faith-based initiatives like ours, has eternal significance.

Visit www.bcmpeace.org, or call 717-234-0415, extension 20, to arrange for your year-end tax-deductible contribution. Be the peace. Support Brethren Community Ministries today. #likeandshare #GivingTuesday #DonateNow

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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.