SVMC is celebrating its 25 th anniversary in 2018 by rejoicing in our firm foundation, celebrating the present, and envisioning the future. 

Originally known as the Susquehanna Valley Satellite (SVS), our name changed to the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center in 2004. Rooted in the original mission from 1993 designed by the founding districts Atlantic Northeast and Southern PA, along with Bethany Theological Seminary, and expanding the partnership to include the districts of Mid-Atlantic, Middle PA, Western PA and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, SVMC has grown to offer certificate level training in ACTS and TRIM, host Bethany graduate courses, and offer excellent continuing education events.

Throughout 2018, we will observe this milestone with monthly meditations distributed by email on the 25th of each month (see links below); celebrations at district conferences, and express gratitude through a worship service and banquet on November 3, 2018.  Our written history will be updated and made available, and our 25th anniversary will be highlighted at our various continuing education events throughout the year. 

We have selected “Rooted and Growing” as our 25th anniversary theme, building on our tagline of Rooted in Christ, Growing in Knowledge. Our theme scriptures -- Colossians 1:10 -- challenges us to lead worthy lives, bear fruit in every good work, and grow in knowledge of God. And, Proverbs 9:9 illuminates a goal of ministry training.

The late Allen Hansell, a member of the planning team for regionally based ministry training which resulted in SVS, wrote in a historical booklet prepared for the tenth anniversary of SVS, “The period of formation of SVS was a time when people shared their dreams and concerns, planted seeds and ideas, and trusted God’s Spirit to lead the possibilities to fruition.”  

As conversations and consultations were held, the observation clearly emerged that many men and women, some with little background in the Brethren heritage and beliefs, were attending non-Brethren seminaries and Bible schools. Several consultations and logistical work, detailed in Allen Hansell's historical booklet, occurred to make the launch of SVS a possibility.

The inaugural convocation was held at The Young Center, Elizabethtown College, on October 3, 1993. As Allen noted: “The creation of the satellite met a need of education in the geographic east. Church of the Brethren men and women could receive course work in Anabaptist and Brethren beliefs even if they attended a non-Brethren school. The formation of SVS fulfilled deeply-held dreams of many people.”

SVMC is a strong and vital ministry partnership as we move into our 25th anniversary year. Instructors, students, donors, congregations, our five partnering districts, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Brethren Academy have all played a part in the success of our twenty five years. 

We anticipate a growing and meaningful ministry in the future as we continue to offer educational opportunities with discernment into how to serve a changing church and a never-changing God.

Join SVMC as we rejoice in our foundation, celebrate the present, and envision the future as we are Rooted and Growing in Christ!


  1. Devotions for January 25, 2018 by Donna Rhodes, Executive Director of SVMC
  2. Devotions for February 25, 2018 by Steve Schweitzer, Academic Dean of Bethany Theological Seminary
  3. Devotions for March 25, 2018 by Bob Neff, past SVMC Governing Board chairperson, and a frequent leader of our continuing education events
  4. Devotions for April 25, 2018 by Joe Detrick, retired minister, district executive, and national staff, and current chair of the Resource and Development Committee of the SVMC Governing Board.
  5. Devotions for May 25, 2018 by Angela Finet, pastor of the Nokesville Church of the Brethren in the Mid-Atlantic District, a 2016 graduate of Bethany Seminary, and a member of the SVMC Governing Board. 
  6. Devotions for June 25, 2018 by Warren Eshbach, retired Church of the Brethren minister having served as pastor, Southern PA District Executive, and Dean of the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. 
  7. Devotions for July 25, 2018 by Harvey Wason . Harvey Wason was licensed into the ministry in June 2014, completed ACTS in Oct. 2016 and was ordained in May 2017. He is currently serving as Pastor of the James Creek Church of the Brethren in the Middle PA District. He and his wife Kathy own a farm where they raise hogs and beef cattle.
  8. Devotions for August 25, 2018 by Janet Ober Lambert. Janet is the Director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a ministry training partnership of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry. Janet earned her MDiv from Bethany in 1991 and served two churches in Pacific Southwest District before joining the Academy in 2017.  Janet and her husband, Simon Lambert, reside in Richmond, Indiana.  Their daughter, Lauren, attends college in Fullerton, California.
  9. Devotions for September 25, 2018 by John David Bowman. “A college & seminary educator as well as pastor providing over 50 years of church leadership, I'm retired living in Lititz, PA and an active member of the Elizabethtown CoB.  I am still married to a wonderful person, Sharyn Halterman Bowman, with whom we have two adult children and two grandchildren.” (Link will be active after September 25, 2018).
  10. Devotions for October 25, 2018  by David Steele.  David currently serves as General Secretary of the Church of the Brethren. Prior to this call, he served as District Executive of Middle Pennsylvania District.
  11. Devotions for November 25, 2018 by Charlotte Bear. Charlotte Bear is a graduate of the TRIM program currently serving in bi-vocational ministry.  She is pastor of the Woodbridge Church of the Brethren and a preschool co-director and teacher for Rainbow Preschool, which she helped establish in 1986.  She and her husband, Cubby, have 3 adult children and reside in Nokesville, VA.  
  12. Devotions for December 25, 2018 by Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary.