Follow Me and I’ll Make You Fishers of Men

Scripture Reference: Matthew Chapter 4: Verses 18-20
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of galilee, he saw two brothers-Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew-throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come follow me, and I will show you how to be fishers of men.” And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Simon and Andrew probably thought this was where they were supposed to be in life. They probably thought this was what they were meant to do for a living. That maybe they reached their potential and this was all they would do and be in life. However, Jesus comes along with an offer they couldn’t refuse. He tells them to “follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” In other words, you think what you’re doing now is good, but if you follow me I can show you greatness. They were content catching fish. Jesus called them to change lives.

There are levels in our lives that God wants to take us too. Levels that include amazing opportunities and blessings. Levels that include helping others and having a positive impact in a negative world. Simon and Andrew would not have tapped into the greatness of God if they weren’t willing to follow Jesus. Jesus is telling us today that He can do great things in our lives and takes us to heights that we never imagined, if we’re willing to follow Him. If we’re willing to leave “our nets” and follow Him, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we should ever ask or think, according to the power that lies in us!

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BCC Receives Official EAGLE Accreditation Notice

Board of Child Care is proud to announce that we received word today that our 2017-2021 EAGLE accreditation was officially renewed!  

We had undergone our site visit from the EAGLE review team in March of this year and are thrilled to have received our confirmation letter today.  The site visit involves interviews with program participants, families of our clients, staff members, and our Board of Directors.  The review team also reviews client charts, policy and procedure manuals, and a host of other documentation to ensure that BCC’s operations meet or exceed the EAGLE standards.

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A message from Reverend Stacey, BCC Chaplain and Director of Church and Community Engagement.

Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself. – Mohsin Hamid

“Empathy will guide our programming and culture at all levels. We recognize that without empathy we cannot understand what type of care and encouragement to provide. A supportive work and program environment means possessing a desire to know and understand others.” (BCC Core Value Statement)

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It refers to the ability to relate to another person’s pain vicariously as if one has experienced that pain themselves. Empathy is different from sympathy because you put yourself in another person’s “shoes.”

Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.
-Daniel H. Pink

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself. -John Steinbeck

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? -Henry David Thoreau

While we are striving to respond with empathy to others around us, we must also be kind to ourselves and feed our own spirits.

I want to interject a bit of humor here with this anonymous quote on empathy: Before you criticize someone … you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

Scriptures in the Judeo-Christian tradition call us to love our neighbors as our selves. In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus taught that our neighbor is anyone in need.

We work together as a BCC team to make a positive impact in our communities on behalf of children, youth and families.

Here is an inspirational word from Christian scriptures: So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already. -1 Thessalonians 5:11

Our small acts of positive living are making a difference! Always remember, you are not alone.



This was originally part of our 40 Days of Positive Actions activity, sponsored by BCC Spiritual Life Team.


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Be Kind

A message from Reverend Stacey, BCC Chaplain and Director of Church and Community Engagement.

Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deed are the fruits.
-19th century rhyme

Our focus this week is on being kind to ourselves as well as to others.

I am reminded of this quote from the Dalai Lama:
“Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.”

We need to practice being kind at all times.  Small acts of kindness make all the difference in our lives and in the lives of others. 

In one of our houses in Baltimore, the youth are writing in on their “40 Days of Positive Actions” calendar the specific actions that they are taking each day. One example was that a youth shared a snack with another.  It is inspiring to learn how our young people are making this practice meaningful in their daily lives.  Thank you to all of our staff who are encouraging positive actions and modeling them.

There are many scriptures that make clear God’s desire for us to be kind to one another.  God’s own kindness is our example.

Here are some verses from the Bible to illustrate:

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom God loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
-Colossians 3:12-13 (New Living Translation)

Be kind and loving to each other.
-Ephesians 4:32

The Lord has told you what goodness is.  This is what God wants from you:  Be fair to other people.  Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God.
-Micah 6:8

Let us encourage one another to be kind to ourselves and to be kind to one another.  We all deserve more kindness in our lives as well as the joy of showing kindness!

Hope we have a great week!
Rev. Stacey

And always remember:

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.



This was originally part of our 40 Days of Positive Actions activity, sponsored by BCC Spiritual Life Team.

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Sometimes all it takes is a note

thank-you-card-community-serviceCommunity service project by BCC youth has lasting impact on hospital

Several months ago, the Spiritual Life team asked youth to create get well cards for patients at hospitals throughout Maryland. The community service project was not about personally knowing the people the cards would go to, but understanding that being kind, even to strangers, is important.

Rev. Stacey Nickerson, BCC’s Director of Church and Community Engagement, received a note back from a hospital chaplain who had received a stack of the cards.

get-well-soon-cardDear Nieces and Nephews,
Thank you very much for your lovely, kind and thoughtful cards. I keep them in our chaplain office at the hospital – so they are always there, ready to be given away. I’m taking my time, allowing God to show me how to use them.

About three weeks ago, I gave away the first card to a gentleman on the behavioral unit. This is for people with emotional and mental illnesses. I’ll call him David. He is in his early 80’s and was very depressed when he came to the hospital. We had some good talks, but he couldn’t see any hope for the future. He has no family, and had a heart attack that left him unable to care for himself. He tried to end his life before coming to the hospital.

When I gave him your card, he looked at it, said “thank you”, and returned it to the envelope. He left the envelope on his tummy, and went back to sleep.
A few days later I saw him again. He still felt hopeless.

Well, yesterday, I read about him on the computer before I went to see him. I was so happy to read that he was feeling better. I went up to the 6th floor to see him for myself. He was still lying in bed, but he actually gave me a small smile. I hadn’t seen him smile before. He said: “it’s too hard to stay negative with about a hundred positive people in here all day long!”

He is being discharged to a nursing home. He thanked me for visiting and encouraging him. Your card was with his belongings that he is taking with him when he leaves. You definitely played a role in his recovery, because you are one of those “hundred” positive people who made it hard for him to stay sad.

So thank you very much for supporting David and showing him God’s love.

On Tuesdays, I lead a spirituality group on this unit. We talk about God together. So next week, I plan to take some of your cards with me, and focus the whole session around giving one of your cards to each member of the group. We have young and older people, men and women, black, white, Asian, Hispanic – everyone. I never know until I arrive who will be there, of course. We will discuss what it means for young people like you to take the time to make these cards, sending a message that says: “we may not know you but it doesn’t mean that we don’t care”. Your cards are a message from God, letting these people know that God still cares about them. It gives them a lot to think about, and makes them smile.

Another week in my group, I plan to have the group members make their own cards for other patients in the hospital, and even for the staff, to say thank you for caring for me! That will make the nurses and doctors feel happy.

I would never have had these two great ideas if you hadn’t made your cards and sent them for me to use. Your cards are truly an inspiration. Even when your cards have all been given away, your idea will stay behind and keep bearing fruit.

This is how love works.

Thank you again for your ministry to these lonely and troubled people.
With love,

~ Angela

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Glen Mar UMC Confirmation Class visits BCC


On September 17, 2016, Glen Mar United Methodist Church’s Confirmation Class visited BCC’s Baltimore campus. They held their retreat in the chapel. The class brought a donation of scented body wash for our youth. These items will be used in welcome bags for new residents arriving at BCC.

Thanks Glen Mar UMC!


Interested in Reserving the Chapel for your group?

We welcome faith groups to use our Baltimore campus chapel at no charge.  Simply send us a note via our Contact Us form if you would like a staff member to send you some more information.

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Halethorpe United Methodist Church helps Strawbridge music program

yarb-and-terry-check-donation-drop-offBCC welcomed a very special group of visitors to campus this month. It turns out that the group from Halethorpe UMC, led by Yarb (pictured left) knew the new music teacher at our Strawbridge School, Ms. Terry Sann (pictured right). To show their support for her new position, they donated $200 towards new instruments. BCC used the funds towards purchasing new Keyboards for the music classroom.

Thank you Yarb and everyone at Halethorpe UMC!

music-donation-made possible by Halethorpe UMC
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Eagle Scout’s garden project leads Spiritual Life efforts in May

garden-markersPeter Walsh, a congregant at Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott City, first visited BCC on Martin Luther King Day this year as part of his church’s Day of Service project. Peter hadn’t decided yet what to do for his Eagle Scout project, but after learning more about the Baltimore program, the decision seemed clear.

He pitched Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson, BCC’s Director of Church and Community Engagement, on the idea of creating a community garden at BCC. What followed was a two-month planning effort that, despite Mother Nature’s outstanding weather the last six weeks, resulted in the creation of beautiful raised garden beds for the Spiritual Life Program.

The Spiritual Life Program, under the direction of Shawn Elbert, BCC’s Spiritual Life Coordinator, is now working directly with youth on the Baltimore campus to grow the garden’s first harvest. Their goal is to produce enough vegetables and fruits for Baltimore-area food pantries and for families in need.

“You do not need to be an experienced gardener to participate; you just need a positive attitude and a willing spirit to help others,” said Elbert. “I got a wonderful response from the kids and can’t wait for our first session together after this rain passes.”

Thank you so much to Peter, his family, and all the volunteers who helped create our beautiful new garden!

garden project group shot

The garden created by Eagle Scout and Glen Mar United Methodist Church congregant Peter Walsh is located near the top of the BCC-Baltimore campus near Rolling Road.

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Volunteers help BCC expand Easter 2016

Our Auxiliary did a wonderful job as always with the 2016 Easter Baskets!  Residents received them on Easter Day (and those who went home for the weekend had the basket waiting for them on their bed when they returned).  auxiliary-stuffing-easter-baskets

Special thanks to the following volunteer groups who helped the Spiritual Life team expand their Easter impact this year: Howard University students, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Glen Marr UMC youth group, and Asburry UMC (Jessup, MD) youth group!

Over 700 plastic eggs (some sports themed!) were stuffed with candy thanks to the adult volunteers from Dream and Flourish – a program operating out of Windsor Mill Middle School


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The Spiritual Life team at work – February program recap

valentines-day-2016-headerBCC’s Spiritual Life Team is an integral part of residential programing.  In addition to offering more traditional (and optional) religious education and services, they are also in charge of community service, mentoring, and special holiday celebrations for the residents and BCC’s staff.

Promoting positivity through the Holy season of Lent

What choice did you make at the start of today?

What mindset did you have getting out of bed?

Your mind is a powerful force.  When you fill it with positive thoughts, positive actions will follow.

The power of positivity: 40 days of positive living and thinking – a campaign launched by the Spiritual Life team this month – is an opportunity for youth, staff and volunteers of the Board of Child Care to practice BCC’s core values of safety, integrity, empathy and impact with intentionality.

“The forty-day period corresponds to the Christian season of Lent,” says Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson, Director of Church & Community Engagement.  “It is a time of preparing for the celebration of Easter by self-examination and growing in one’s relationship with God and neighbor. While many people of the Christian faith give up something negative, it is also an opportunity to commit to adding something positive throughout the period of Lent.”

Participants were given a one page chart to help document their daily actions, or even to simply check off that they had completed the exercise for that day.

Baltimore celebrates Black History Month

Shawn Elbert, Spiritual Life Coordinator on the Baltimore campus, has been holding a very special Monday evening event.  Affectionately dubbed “Monday Man Cave” by the campus, each evening has a theme.  For the month of February, participants watched Selma, the chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights during a 1965 march to Selma, AL and Many Rivers to Cross, an African-American-based documentary from Professor Henry Lewis Gates. Reflection and discussion on the historical relevance on today’s social environment followed each viewing.

“Black History Month is American history. It’s a part of every person and therefore, it becomes our shared history,” Elbert says. “The kids asked great questions and engaged each other in discussion in a very respectful way. They really modeled the behavior and attitude they’ll need outside of BCC.”

Residents offer sweet treats to staff


service-project-chocolate-02In February, the Spiritual Life team coordinated construction of Valentine’s Day gift boxes by a dozen residential program participants for staff who serve them in the lower campus cottages and upper campus houses.

Boxes filled with chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels were delivered to childcare workers, social workers, case managers and unit supervisors, and to the food service team from Sodexo. Another box went to the Health Suite.



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