Thank You, Dorcas, For Your Lifetime of Service!

As we bid farewell to 2017 and joyfully welcomed a new year, at The Hope Center we said goodbye to a long-time employee. Dorcas Black, known to many simply as Aunt DSC_0463 (2)Dorcas, retired from 48 years of full-time ministry at The Hope Center. Dorcas, daughter of founders, Jim & Ellen Resh, has been actively involved in many different areas of ministry at The Hope Center in her 48 years of service. From singing with The Missionaires, to directing The Lighthouse Puppeteers who entertained and ministered to hundreds of people throughout the area, to directing Echoes of Hope TV broadcast, to creating Conoco Camp, Just Kids TV show, helping in our Ladies’ Auxiliary, cohosting Koffee Klatch, and supervising the Sorting Room just to name a few. Her impact and influence has been a major part of the formation of many ministries and programs at The Hope Center, most notably the long-running children’s ministry that she started, now known as Wildside Youth & Camp Wild, which to this day is still reaching kids in Hagerstown’s downtown neighborhoods.

Dorcas has been a faithful servant of the Lord in her time here at The Hope Center. So inDSC_0447 (2) December we threw her a retirement luncheon in our former “studio” building where she spent so much of her time creating Just Kids and Echoes of Hope TV shows. Our staff joined the pride of Dorcas’ life, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in celebrating her career and all of the things she’s done while serving God here.

With all she’s experienced and accomplished at The Hope Center, we asked Dorcas to give us her thoughts about the 48 years of her ministry to reaching so many for Christ. Here are her thoughts:

“48 years… sounds like a really long time, but when you think about it, it’s almost like yesterday. And after 48 years of employment here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, I have retired. I never thought that I would retire but it was the right time and the right thing for me to do. I really never considered my years here at the Mission as “employment” but rather as service and I am so thankful for the opportunities that the Lord gave me to serve. Actually I was here from the very beginning which was 62 years ago. My siblings and I watched as our dad and mom followed God’s call to start a rescue mission in Hagerstown. When we moved to the apartment above the Mission on Jail Alley, we soon realized that our neighbor was the county jail. We had no yard. We could not go out on the street under any circumstances so it was quite an adjustment for all of us five kids. But there was an excitement about this as we watched miracle after miracle take place as the Lord used our parents to minister to “the least, the last, and the lost” – as Dad used to say.

At the age of eighteen, I married Carl Black. That was July 9th, 1960. In May of 1962, with our two baby boys, Carl Jr. and Curtis, we moved to York, PA where Carl directed the York Rescue Mission for seven years. Moving back to Hagerstown, Carl became assistant to my dad and I started my employment as a clerk in the Thrift Store. That was August, 1969.  It has been quite a journey as I reflect on the past 48 years. For 34 years, I directed the Conoco Day Camp for children, the Lighthouse Puppeteers, Just Kids TV, Just Kids Bible Club, as well as helping in other areas of the ministry. Then in 2004 I took over supervising the Warehouse (Sorting Room) in place of my mother who was having some serious health issues – she was 87 years old and a faithful worker.

On November 3, 2015, while working, I tripped on a box and fell, breaking my hip. Following surgery and many, many weeks of therapy, it was determined that the bone was not healing properly, so a second surgery was performed in May of 2016. Again, after months of therapy and very little progress in healing, on November 2, 2016, I was sent to Baltimore where I had total hip replacement. Then seven weeks after this surgery, a knock came to my door. It was Sonny, Becky & Laurel (my sisters). Sonny informed me that my son, Curtis, age 54, had dropped over with a massive heart attack. I was totally devastated. It was difficult. The Lord had called my husband home to Glory in December, 2007. I was blessed to have two wonderful sons who had been there  to help me with anything I needed (even though they were grieving the loss of their father). And now my youngest, sweet Curtis, is gone. I can’t express the pain as I go through this grieving process, but I can express the wonderful sweet presence and peace of my Heavenly Father.

I never cease to be amazed at the sovereignty of God, knowing that He is in control and that He makes no mistakes and that He is faithful. I draw upon the precious promises of His Word which assures me that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5. Jesus is the healer of broken hearts. He is mending my heart as I depend on Him. I have wonderful memories as a wife and mother and I am slowly learning that even death cannot rob me of the joy of all those many sweet memories.

And now that time has come to retire. It was such a hard decision to make but through much prayer and soul searching I knew it was what I needed to do. I will still be involved in many ways. But as I adjust to this new schedule I know that the Lord will direct my path as I trust in Him, lean on Him, and acknowledge Him. And, I will always look back on those many, many memories of serving here at the Mission – some heart-wrenching, some hilarious, some miraculous. I am truly blessed.”

Aunt Dorcas, thank you for your creativity and passion and being willing to do so much to reach all people, young and old, churched and unchurched, for Christ! You will never know your true impact while on earth but Heaven is most certainly keeping track of all you did – and will continue to do even in your retirement.

Please join us in thanking Dorcas for all that she’s done to further the Kingdom of God in her 48 years of service! To God be the glory!

 

 

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Rock the Run 5K: Run For a Cause

As you know our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is approaching. On Saturday, April 28th, Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown will play host to a bunch of scallywags, buccaneers, princesses, princes, mermaids, knights and all sorts of interesting folk.

RTR Pirate Princess

We’re so excited for the upcoming race and the fun changes that we’ve made to the 5K this year. But all of the changes that have been made are to give us a fun event that draws people together to run/walk for a good cause. The point of Rock the Run 5K is not just to run around Hagerstown – it’s to raise support and awareness for the community programs that we do at The Hope Center.

We’ve been using the 5K as a way to get people participating who may not actually know much about what we do for the community. And our sponsors help to underwrite the cost of the 5K so the money raised by the participants goes towards the very programs we’re promoting.

As in the past years of Rock the Run, we’ve focused on the programs and services to the hungry and homeless in Hagerstown. And we’re focusing on those same programs again this year, but now we’re taking it up a notch.

We are currently moving forward with a refurbishment and expansion project of our current dining room and kitchen/pantry. The kitchen/pantry is basically the heart of our entire ministry as so many people visit us each day of the year for fresh meals or groceries for their homes. We serve thousands of people a year from a kitchen that has seen better days. We are so thankful for the kitchen that we have because God has allowed us to feed so many. But now we see the need growing and we want to keep up with that need and be able to provide even more. By redesigning the layout and adding an expansion of the current building we will open up so much more space to accommodate more people in our dining room while also creating a kitchen workspace that allows our staff and volunteers to cook and serve more efficiently. And our pantry is going to get expanded too as it serves not only the hot meals served daily but also houses all the food that will go into food bags and boxes for needy families in the community.

So each person who registers to run/walk in our upcoming 5K is helping to create a new experience to feed and help so many more needy people in our community. The money raised here stays here. And since we take no money from the government, all of the programs and services at The Hope Center are truly a community partnership from the hearts of our generous and kind neighbors.

So why not register now to be a part of something huge! And invite your family, friends, neighbors, Sunday School class, coworkers, and anyone else to join you at Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess. And did you know you can even get your kids involved? That’s right! We have a Kids Fun Run at 8:30am just before the 5K itself. For only $5 your kid can be a part of the experience to help those in need. And we’ll have activities for them to participate in while you hit the pavement for the 5K. Just go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register and learn more. And be sure to spread the word!

Wildside Makes January Fun Again!

January can be a bit of a downer month as all the holiday festivities come to a quick and abrupt end and all that’s left is short days and freezing nights. But Wildside Youth is provided a fun remedy for the winter blues for the kids in Hagerstown this past January:

The Meltdown

Wildside kicked off 2018 with a fun, winter-themed evening at Sunday Night Wild called ‘The Meltdown’. Thirty-three kids attended the night full of games, Jesus, food, and fun!

The frozen fun started with a ‘snowball fight’ played with balloons. After the snowball fight the kids got to go ‘ice fishing’ which involved finding Swedish Fish buried in a pan of whipped cream. Following the wintry games the kids enjoyed some singing and then dove right into the lesson.

The lesson, inspiring the events title, was teaching the kids to avoid meltdowns, temper tantrums, and throwing fits. They were taught that using self-control they could resist the attacks by Satan and avoid destructive behavior like tantrums and meltdowns.

The verse of the evening was, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28. An object lesson and a game called, ‘Don’t Have a Meltdown’ were used to help illustrate the verse and the lesson for all the kids.

After the lesson time, the kids had snacks and hung out before ending the first Sunday Night Wild of 2018.

Football and Cheerleading Party

On January 23rd the Trinity Center hosted a super bowl sized party to celebrate America’s favorite sport! 56 kids showed up to celebrate Wildside’s 3rd annual Football & Cheerleading Party. They participated in football themed carnival games, a flag football game,  and a football scavenger hunt, along with arts & crafts activities, enjoying delicious food, and hearing a message about being God’s champion.

Building off the lesson of self-control taught at The Meltdown, the kids at the party learned how becoming a champion for God requires self-control – a lot like becoming a championship quality football team. Just like a winning football team needs to practice, problem solve, and work as a team in order to win, we too, need to practice self-control by not throwing fits or getting angry and hurting others, we need to solve problems God’s way and we need to work peacefully together as a team for God.

The kids who attend Wildside events love every minute of it and continue to come back for more fun. Wildside still has some more fun coming with the next big party on February 13th to celebrate Valentines Day. This event is free for kids ages 5-12 so call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register your kids.

Wildside Youth is our kids ministry at The Hope Center. With various events taking place year round, Wildside is providing a safe, fun, and educational experience free for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. During the school year Wildside hosts large party events each month along with special Sunday evening services geared just for kids. In the summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp running for four weeks in July and August. Wildside is also cultivating student leaders through their after school program, The Crew, where young people learn valuable skills and are given some leadership responsibilities during various events and activities at Wildside. For more information about Wildside Youth check out http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

 

 

 

2017: A Year to Remember

I don’t know about you but it just seems that each year gets a little shorter and goes by a little faster. 2017 is quickly coming to an end but it literally feels like it just started. It’s definitely been one interesting year.

2017 had it’s ups & downs, good times  & bad, high points & low points but with everything going on in our nation and in the world in general, we’ve seen God working and doing things at The Hope Center more than ever. God has been blessing this ministry and He has given us so many wonderful people in the community who have helped us make 2017 one of the best years ever!

From hosting another successful Rock the Run 5K in April, to Camp Wild in the summer, The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast, and all the other activities in between, it truly has been a great year and we’re thankful to each one of you who volunteered, donated, supported, and prayed for us in 2017.

But we’re excited and looking forward to all the incredible and amazing things God will do in the upcoming year. And once again we will be hosting our Rock the Run 5K in April except we’ve got a pretty big (and fun) twist on it this year! You and your friends & family will definitely want to be a part of that. And along with our 5K we have so many other activities, events, and opportunities for you to get involved in bringing hope to Hagerstown.

And as we’re on the cusp of a brand new year we want to give one final salute to 2017. And there’s no better way to do that than posting pics from all the various things that happened at The Hope Center this year. And if these pics aren’t enough and you just need to see a few more then jump over to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on the ‘More’ tab in the upper tool bar. There you can click on the Year In Pictures gallery. Enjoy the look back at 2017! And Happy New Year!

It Was a Very Merry Christmas at The Hope Center!

December was a huge month at The Hope Center with so many activities and parties for so many different people.

From a cantata concert, to a party for kids, a Soup Line celebration, and more, we made sure that there was plenty of fun things to do to celebrate the birth of Christ at The Hope Center.

Auxiliary Christmas Celebration

Each year our Auxiliary hosts a Christmas dinner for our residents where they bring in local talent to perform while providing delicious food and great company. And on December 2nd, the Auxiliary kicked off the Christmas celebrations at The Hope Center with a wonderfully festive Christmas evening. Our Auxiliary does a lot of work behind the scenes helping to provide different things to The Hope Center while also helping to make sure our residents feel at home at The Hope Center while they’re enrolled in Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month program. This Christmas celebration is just another way for our Auxiliary to show love and support to the guys who are a part of our family. The Auxiliary sponsored the roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy from Leiters’ Fine Catering and cooked and baked the rest of the food and treats including the festive Christmas punch. If the good food wasn’t enough our residents were treated to a great concert by Second Chances, a local group comprised of members from various churches. We’re so thankful to our Auxiliary and all the hard work that they put into all they do to keep The Hope Center programs and ministries moving forward. If you’d like to join our volunteer Auxiliary then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Wildside Christmas Party

On December 5th, Wildside hosted their annual Christmas party for kids in Hagerstown who were ready to start celebrating the season! Local kids had a blast playing Christmas themed games, winning prizes and eating some pretty festive food! All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. Wildside has so many different activities and events year round for kids to be a part of. Learn more about Wildside Youth and take a look at all the fun things coming in 2018 at http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Maranatha Christmas Dinner & Concert

On December 8th the great folks from Maranatha Brethren Church hosted their annual Christmas cantata and community dinner at the Trinity Center. Each year Maranatha Brethren sets a festive mood with their cantata and this year did not disappoint. This year our guests enjoyed the choir performing The Story of Christmas: Worship the King. Following the concert, Maranatha provided all guests with a great meal and festive desserts! Maranatha’s cantata and dinner have now become a holiday tradition at The Hope Center and an evening that is enjoyed by all who attend. Like all our community events, this dinner concert is free and open for anyone and everyone to attend. Maranatha Brethren Church is a great friend of The Hope Center and works year round in various ways helping us bring hope to Hagerstown. We’re so thankful for their commitment to this ministry and their heart to serve others! If you’d like to learn more about Maranatha please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net.

 

Bikers Christmas Party

The local chapter of Christian Motorcycle Association hosted a Christmas luncheon for our residents at the Trinity Center. They provided the men with great food, Christmas music, great conversation and even gave each man a Christmas gift. Our residents enjoy this event where they are being celebrated and have the opportunity to talk to people in the community who are supporting them in their journey of recovery. Our residents are part of Foundations Life Recovery which is a 13-month rehabilitation type of program to help them break the destructive addictions and habits that have cost them almost everything in their lives. This event is such an inspirational moment for the men as they are able to just talk to people who genuinely care for them and their success. We are so thankful for the CMA for hosting this party for our residents year-after-year. Christmas is such a busy time of year for all of us and to see people go out of their way to love and support others during this time is exactly what the season is all about. For more information about the Christian Motorcycle Association please email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or call us at 301.739.1165.

Soup Line Christmas Celebration

On Tuesday, December 19th, we hosted a Christmas celebration with our community guests at our daily Soup Line. They were treated to a delicious holiday lunch with some great Christmas desserts and treats as well as opportunities to win prizes. And to top it all off our community guests got a chance to meet our very own Santa! Howard, one of our graduates, gladly donned the Santa outfit and interacted with our guests as the big man from the North Pole. Everyone, including Howard, had a great day eating, laughing and celebrating. Our Soup Line is free for all people, young and old, and is open every single day of the year, including all holidays and during inclement weather. For more information about our Soup Line and other food programs please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

The Hope Center Christmas Service 

On Thursday, December 21 we hosted our Hope Center Christmas celebration. Each year we host a service where staff and residents come together to worship God and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Between singing Christmas carols and hearing a Christmas message, everyone is in the Christmas spirit! Then the men’s staff hand out the Christmas gifts for our residents. Each of our residents got new sweaters and sweatshirts, pillows, bath towels, socks, gloves, underwear, personal care items, and most importantly, candy. Following the Christmas service & party, everyone was treated to a special holiday dinner where residents and staff mixed, interacted and celebrated together as one big Hope Center family! This celebration is a way for us to make each of our residents feel at home and help deal with the pressures of the holidays without family and friends. And this celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of all of our supporters and friends in the community. From donating financially to providing the pillows, treats and other items, each of you in the community were a part of this, and all the other celebrations year-round, at The Hope Center.

As the oldest continually operating shelter in Hagerstown, we have been combating homelessness, hunger, addiction, tragedy, and hopelessness every single day of the year since 1955. And we’ve done it all without ever asking the government for one cent. The Hope Center operates as a Christ-centered relief agency to help our local community in their darkest days and we do it through the love and support of individuals, churches, businesses and civic clubs in the area. God has always provided for The Hope Center and He uses amazing people like you to help change so many lives. From providing multiple hot meals a day, to free summer camp for at-risk kids, to our food bag program, overnight shelter for the homeless, and so much more, you’ve helped be a part of something that’s bigger than we ever imagined it would be. 2017 was another banner year for people giving of time and resources to help others. We are so thankful for each of you and your continued support of The Hope Center and each precious life who walks through our doors seeking help and love. Christmas is all about that love. Because of God’s deep love for all humanity He sent His Son just for us. And because of that Son we have the hope to provide for every person who needs it. God’s love is free for all and we are so happy to partner with you to show every man, woman, and child who comes to The Hope Center the power behind God’s love and the power of genuine hope. Thank you for allowing us to help people day-in-and-day-out. Our doors are open every single day of the year and they’ve been that way since the very beginning. And we don’t plan on changing that in the years to come. We look forward to all God is going to do in Hagerstown in 2018 and we are hopeful that you’ll continue to partner with us to provide HOPE for Hagerstown in the coming year.

For more information about all the various programs and services at The Hope Center and to also learn about how you can join us in the fight against homelessness, hunger, and hopelessness then please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Thank you for helping provide a wonderful Christmas season for our residents and guests this year! We hope each of you had a very Merry Christmas and we hope that you also have a wonderful 2018!

Youth for Christ Club Serves Christmas Cheer!

On Saturday, December 9th some students from the Youth for Christ Club at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts provided a dinner and service for our evening guests!

The students brought chicken, provided by Brownsville Church of the Brethren and Bonnie’s at the Red Byrd. In addition to the chicken, the students had mac & cheese and delicious desserts for all of our community guests. The incredible folks at Brownsville Church of the Brethren also made goodie bags for the students to hand out to all the evening guests.

During the evening service the students led music for our guests and Bethany Norris gave a message. Following the service the students served the food they prepared and spent the evening interacting with the dinner guests.

The student volunteers had such a good time serving that several of them even commented that they couldn’t think of a better way to spend their Saturday evening. They’re hoping, and we are too, that they will be able to return in February to serve again.

If you remember, the Youth for Christ Club at BISFA hosted a benefit concert for The Hope Center back in the fall. They raised financial support for our ministry and then they followed that up with an evening of service to others. What an incredible group of young people who are showing God’s love in so many ways and using their talents and gifts to help better our community! We are just so thankful for these young people and all they’re doing to make a positive difference in our community!

Thank you Youth for Christ Club at BISFA, Brownsville Church of the Brethren, and everyone else who helped to make this a great evening for our guests!

To learn more about Brownsville Church of the Brethren visit http://www.brownsvillecob.org.

The Twelve Gifts of Christmas

12 Days of ChristmasEvery year we hear one of the most widely known and, depending on the day or the version, possibly most annoying song of the Christmas season. At first, it’s fun. But by the time we hit the eight maids-a-milking we’ve generally had enough of the song and it’s constant reminder that our memory isn’t what it used to be.

No matter how bad our memory gets, the first time it comes on for the season it’s a fun challenge to try to remember each of the gifts throughout the twelve days.

But those gifts… what an interesting, yet thoughtful, series of presents they were. Nine ladies dancing. Seven swans swimming. And how about those five golden rings??

As we were singing through the song a thought came to our festive mind… how about a 12 days of Christmas list of our own? Now, the six geese-a-laying is a fine gift but not necessarily something that we can use on the regular. So we drafted a list of twelve various things that we could definitely use at The Hope Center. And these are things that we can use year round, not just the twelve days before or after Christmas.

So as you’re checking off items from your Christmas list, maybe grab one or two off of ours. This list is small and simple but incredibly necessary and a huge relief for us to get in donations due to the large amount that we use throughout the year.

So, without any further adieu, we give to you our Twelve Gifts of Christmas (the holiday tune is optional):

  • On the first day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us bottles of pain relievers (Advil or Tylenol type)
  • On the second day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us non-drowsy cold meds
  • On the third day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us coffee and creamer
  • On the fourth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us travel-size men’s shampoo
  • On the fifth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us jars of peanut butter*
  • On the sixth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us brand new pillows
  • On the seventh day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us spaghetti and sauce
  • On the eighth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us fast food gift cards**
  • On the ninth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us candy bars
  • On the tenth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us liquid laundry detergent (and/or dryer sheets)
  • On the eleventh day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us travel-size men’s deodorant 
  • On the twelfth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us spray disinfectant (Lysol or similar brands)

*14 – 16 ounce jars of any brand peanut butter for our food bags

**The fast food gift cards from places like McDonald’s & Roy Rogers are used in the monthly birthday gifts given to the men who are residents and enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery (13 month rehabilitation) program

Ok so our lyrics might not be as catchy or easy to sing to but these twelve items are a vital part of the programs and services we offer and by donating them you help us keep our costs down so that we can continue to provide shelter and all of our services free for anyone in the community who needs help. From food used for community meals and food bags, to birthday gifts for our residents like the fast food cards and candy bars, to toiletries for our homeless/transient guests, and detergent to wash all the bedding, towels and other fabrics, these everyday items can quickly put a dent in our budget for the entire operating year. But year after year God has provided and allowed us to increase services to helping hundreds of men, women, and children in our area because of faithful and generous people like yourself. And we’ve done it all since 1955 without burdening the taxpayer. Everything we do is without the assistance of tax dollars so each life that has been helped was done so out of pure love and generosity. And we thank you for providing, even if it’s just a jar of peanut butter, to help us continue to fight hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness in Hagerstown.

If you would like to donate items or funds to The Hope Center then please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Thank you so much for giving, caring, and sharing this Christmas season. We hope God blesses you and your family this Christmas and in the new year to come!