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 names it the Dan West House

1976   Community Ministries include Free Children’s Books distributed in cooperation with RIF, day camps and field trips, volleyball, 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, touch 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, volleyball in front lot, 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, Volleyball 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 begins

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, Hispanic Mennonites 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 starts

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 outings during 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 begin to be led by group from First Church

1996   Friday Bible Studies begin

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 30 years. He served since 1983 as Director of 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-Satyagraha Conflict 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 been recognized 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-County region

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 Tilley agrees 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 our name, Brethren Community Ministries

2014    In response to incidents of young black men being killed by police, graduates of bcmPEACE’s Agape-Satyagraha program are 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 incorporated the 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 structure to more effectively achieve its mission.

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

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

Use bcmPEACE to find us on all social media