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Jesus Is the Reason…

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You’ve probably heard it said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Jesus Christ is the heart of Christmas; His birth is central to our belief that He is Emmanuel, God with us. “God with us” means that we’re not alone on earth, that there is supernatural power, help and love available to us through faith.

Jesus is more than just the reason for Christmas, though. Here at bcmPEACE, Jesus is the reason we do everything we do. The Bible says that we love because He loved us first. When we distribute food to the hungry, or clothes to the cold; when we teach parents how to set good examples and make good choices for their children, or teach someone how to use a computer; when we provide affordable housing or helpful referrals, we are loving people with the same love God has shown us through Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 says, “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him will not decay and die, but live forever.” The next verse is so encouraging. John 3:17 assures us, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” 1 John 3:1 declares, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Not only at Christmas, but all year long, at bcmPEACE Jesus is THE REASON. He is the reason we love our community. He is the reason we serve all year long. You could say that He is the Reason for all Seasons! #bcmPEACE #BeThePeace @bcmPEACE

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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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 http://www.bcmpeace.org/services/agape-satyagraha-conflict-resolution-training/

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.