December 2006 Archive of News and Musings
Friday, December 22, 2006
As your schedule fills with holiday busyness,
As your checkbook balance dwindles,
As long lines greet you everywhere you go,
As you hear endless renditions of “O Holy Night,”
As Christmas fast approaches...
Enjoy special times with friends and family,
Cherish the occasion to bestow gifts on loved ones,
Bless those around with your cheerful presence,
Rejoice at the telling of the Gospel story in uncommon places,
Celebrate the Savior with all your heart.
A few years back I jotted the above poem for a family Christmas letter. During the Christmas season, I often hear complaints of how the commercialization of Christmas has ruined the true meaning of the season. When the busy-ness overwhelms, sometimes we throw our hands in the air and shout "this isn’t what the season should be about!"
There is much truth in these sentiments. But you know what? Most celebrations are a bit tiring, and the power of the Christmas story can overcome anything that seeks to diminish it.
So, in the midst of the holiday bustle, we must gain perspective. I wrote the above poem as a reminder to myself of the "good" often tucked away in holiday activities if I would only look for it.
We can’t always wish the busy-ness away, but we can find joy in the midst of it all.
So, how does this relate to our work at BHA?
As I reflected on this I realized these are the same principles we are trying to instill in families at BHA...how to gain perspective, maintain stability, and have a hopeful outlook as they work through stressful, often traumatic, experiences in their lives.
The single moms in our program face incredible stress every day in juggling school and work schedules, and financial and family demands. You can help these women maintain stability and achieve their goals in the face of such pressures.
It is because of generous people like you that we can continue to help so many families on their journey of healing. In fact, donations from individuals now make up about a third of our funding. With a budget of almost $300,000 this fiscal year, we must raise $92,000 from individuals for our 2006-2007 Funding Campaign. As I post this we’re a bit over half way ($54,477) toward our goal for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.
So this Christmas, if you haven’t already, will you take a moment to pause and reflect on the gifts you give the families at BHA: gifts of stability, hope and a second chance at life...and consider making a special year-end donation to help them succeed?
Christmas has always been about a birth, the birth of our Savior, and the hope that comes along with His gospel of peace. Thank you for helping our families give birth to new hope and new opportunities in their lives this Christmas.
And when you hear "O Holy Night" for the 82nd time, make sure to join in on this line: "Surely He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease. Christ is the Lord..."
A weary world rejoices indeed.
Grace and peace,
P.S. Remember to postmark your donation envelope by December 31 if you want your tax receipt dated in 2006, or please note that we now accept credit card and on-line check donations through this website. Just click on "Donate" over there to the right. The families at BHA appreciate your prayerful consideration this Christmas.
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/22/2006 4:57:11 PM | link)
Sunday, December 17, 2006
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
For the past several years, a group of local co-workers have been blessing the families in our transitional housing program with gifts at Christmas. They go all out, buying specific gifts for each mom and her children, and have helped to make Christmas extra special for the these families.
This year they added an exciting twist, having Santa and Mrs. Claus and two of their helpful elves deliver gifts to the kids on Hummel Street. So yesterday, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived on Hummel Street in a horse drawn carriage. Highlights of this special holiday treat are below.
Santa's carriage arrives on
Santa and his helpers spread
Some young members of our program make sure
Santa and Mrs. Claus know their Christmas wishes
Xiomie checks out her stocking
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/17/2006 1:40:08 PM | link)
Monday, December 04, 2006
"Rick's one of our heroes..."
BHA is featured on the front page of the Harrisburg Patriot-News today, in an article about Rick Woodard.
Woodard, of Camp Hill, is taking a year off from his job as a Century 21 salesman to ask people to extend a hand to their neighbors in Allison Hill.
His goal is to raise $400,000 to be divided among 11 faith-based organizations that run programs in the impoverished city neighborhood. The catch is that he wants groups or individuals to donate the money annually so that each charity can continue its work secure in the knowledge that about $35,000 will be coming its way.
BHA is one of the ministries benefiting from Rick's hard work and passion, and I'm quoted as follows:
"Rick's one of our heroes," said Steve Schwartz of the Brethren Housing Association, a group that takes blighted Allison Hill properties, fixes them and uses them as housing for homeless women and their children. It also provides counseling and helps women attend school, find jobs and locate permanent homes.
Woodard's plan, Schwartz said, "means we have more time working with families and less time scrambling for dollars."
Woodard considers what he is doing a calling.
"If you're a faith-based person, Jesus calls you to reach out to the poor," he said. "These groups reach the poorest of the poor."
Amen. Thanks Rick. We love you, man.
Read entire article
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/4/2006 11:03:59 AM | link)
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