1896         Big Swatara German Baptist Brethren Church (Church of the Brethren) votes to form a fellowship in Harrisburg

1959          First Church decided to remain in Harrisburg and gave land to District to start a new congregation in Susquehanna Twp.

1960         First Brethren Volunteer Service worker comes, Marilyn Dickerson

1961         Construction started on Christian Education Building

1963         Fellowship House was established

1966    Murry L. Wagner comes as first Community Minister

1967    Day Care Center started in First Church building

1967    John Nantz comes as Community Minister

1969    Coffee House opens for Senior High Youth

1972       Church purchases 244 Hummel St. as BVSers’ House and named it the Dan West House.

1976     Community Ministries include: Free Children’s Books distributed in cooperation with RIF, day camps and field trips, volley ball, story time, youth drop in center (Lighthouse), MagicCocoon TV program, Citizen’s Alliance to Save Harrisburg, Allison Hill Civic Association, After School Program, dart baseball, touche football, etc.

1979         Wayne Eberly helps start La Casa de Amistad (House of Friendship)

1980    Community Ministries include: After school recreation crafts groups, cooking classes, weightlifting class, coffee house, stamp project, basketball in back lot, volley ball in frontlot, summer recreation field trips, hikes, etc.

1982         Atlantic Northeast District Witness Commission conducts evaluation of First Church Community Ministry

1982        Deborah Lolling serves as Community Minister

1982        Community Ministries include: Drop-In Center for Teens, Volley Ball Fridays in Parking Lot, game room, crafts, cooking class, Bible study, field trips, basketball,handball, Multi-Parish, Big Brother/Sister Day at Elizabethtown College, La Casa de Amistad, etc.

1983    Gerald W. Rhoades comes as Community Minister

1983    Crime Watch/Block Club ministry began

1984    Food Distribution in cooperation with Food and Shelter Ministries

1985    Cambodians work with Bill Hawkins to begin Khmer Church, TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets at church.

1985    Community Ministries include: Cooking Classes with Joyce Albin, Self Defense Classes, Hiking Club, Archery Classes, English as a Second Language classes, food distribution, HispanicMennonites share building, Head Start program, La Casa de Amistad, Multi-Parish, Block Clubs and Crime Watch, South Allison Hill Civic Association, game room, dart ball, drama, day trips, etc.

1986        Street Fair started

1987         Donna and Alan Benson begin Tutoring Program

1988         Brethren Housing Association begins with the sale of the Fellowship House to it by First Church for a dollar.

1989         Community Ministries include: Craft Classes with Kim Joseph, 4-H Club: Pets Club, Geology Club, Cooking Club, English as a Second Language Classes, Weekly Outingsduring summer

1994         Saturday Evening Praise and Prayer Worship starts

1995          First Church adopts vision statement: We are called to build a Christ-centered multi- cultural community in the inner city, sharing the love, healing, peace and justice of Christ.

1995         Prison Worship Services began being led by group from First Church.

1996         Friday Bible Studies begun

1997         Nutrition Classes begin with Marie Miller from Penn State Extension

1997        KIDS’ Church starts

1997     Computer Classes with Gov. Leader’s Program starts

1998     Narcotics Anonymous Group began meeting here

1999         4-H Cooking Classes started with Penn State Extension

1999         Brethren Community Thrift Shop starts. Open 20 hours a week. Lois L. Strickland hired as Assistant Manager for Thrift Shop part time.

2001     Launch of Agape-Satyagraha, a youth leadership training program in peaceful conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation and social change targeted at reducing violence in our community.

2002         Brethren Community Thrift Shop opens in storefront at 1319 Derry St.

2005        Thrift Shop closed and storefront rented to Safe-Haven Quality Care, L.L.C., which provides assistance to the elderly, the disabled and other homebound individuals.They provide direct, non-medical, in-home services in the areas of companionship, errands, chores, house-keeping, personal care, meal preparation, and socialization

2008      On Earth Peace partners with Brethren Community Ministries to offer the Agape- Satyagraha program across the country 2008

2011     LHACC ( Latino Hispanic American Cultural Center) establishes a presence at 1317-1319 Derry St. to hold community meetings and provide services.

2012     Gerald W. Rhoades retires as Executive Director of Brethren Community Ministries after faithfully serving the community for thirty years. He served since 1983 as Directorof Community Ministries at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren and since 2000 as the Executive Director for Brethren Community Ministries. In this role, he established programs for children, youth, and adults–these include developing Agape-SatyagrahaConflict Resolution Training for youth, KIDS’ Church, computer classes, coordinating a weekly food distribution and Bible study, and serving as the first executive director of Brethren Housing Association. Pastor Rhoades has beenrecognized by the Governor and Mayor for his ministry

2012       On Earth Peace assumes ownership of and responsibility for the program now called Agape-Satyagraha with Brethren Community Ministries, being the originator of the program, retaining certain privileges, especially in the Tri-Countyregion

2012    Brethren Community Ministries becomes a Partner Faith Community of the  Harrisburg Chapter of Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence and agrees to serve as its fiscal agent. Pastor Belita Mitchell agrees to serve as Chair of the Chapter’s Coordinating Committee and Rev. Ron Tilleyagrees to serve as the Chapter’s Organizer.

2014  Ronald B. Tilley II begins serving as Executive Director of Brethren Community Ministries.

2014   Brethren Community Ministries starts to use the motto “Be the Peace” and establishes a social media presence using the name bcmPEACE as a shortened version of ourname, Brethren Community Ministries.

2014    In response to incidents of young black men being killed by police, graduates of bcmPEACE’s Agape-Satyagraha program were asked by the Community Responders Network (CRN) to lead listening sessions to strengthen police/community relations. Using skills learned in Agape-Satyagraha, youth led their peers in circle-process discussions. CRN incorporatedthe reflections from these listening sessions into Police Training sessions developed by CRN in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice and local law enforcement.

2016     bcmPEACE changes its mission to: “bcmPEACE serves Allison Hill in becoming a safer, healthier community, empowered by God’s peace.” The board implements a committee structureto more effectively achieve its mission.

2020      bcmPEACE is honored to be the spotlight ministry at Atlantic Northeast District Conference

Brethren Community Ministries (also known as bcmPEACE)
219 Hummel St.Harrisburg, PA 17104 
717-234-0415 x20

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