BVS Mid-Year Retreat and New Community Project

Greetings from Virginia!

I am happy to welcome you all to the great state of Virginia where I am working with the New community Project for the remaining six months of my year in BVS. I have been here a week now and am feeling very welcome in the organization, community, and everything that comes along with living here! 

Over the first week here I have visited and milked our community cow, Raspberry, biked some of the rolling hills/mountains, worked on permaculture and garden projects, mastered our outdoor ‘COB Oven’, and so much more! New Community Project is an organization that opporates to promote peace in a community to better the global impact of human life. With this, we live very simply and off the land to secure our involvement with as many reasons for conflict in the world today. There are about 6-8 of us living in the community house here at NCP but always welcome anyone to stay with us! 

The community here is Harrisonburg is very active and outgoing in everything it does! I have started attending maybe meetings and groups on peace advocacy and social justice issues in the area and am having a hard time making time for all the great events going on in the community. Harrisonburg is also home to James Maddison University and Eastern Mennonite University and add a lot of color to the town! I find myself using the extensive collections at the libraries on campus and playing ultimate with the students when I can. Bridgewater College is just down the road in the next town over and I look forward to be connectedness it’s them soon as well. For fun, I have connected with taking Spanish lessons, Salsa dancing lessons (very exciting!), some guitar and drum lessons, and many more exciting opportunities! While being so close, I am also looking forward to visiting the Bridgewater and Eastern Mennonite campus’ and there peace studies programs.



Above are a couple photos from our BVS mid-year retreat at Dickson Valley Camp outside of Chicago, near Elgin. This week-long retreat was held for both unit 301 and 303 (my unit) as well as a few other welcomed individuals. Here we reconnected with friends, burned a great deal of saved up energy, and just had fun relaxing and visiting with old and new friends. We also talked about how our years were going, shared our troubles and joys, and supported each other with all the hi’s and low’s we all brought to retreat. We talked about the remainder of our year, how we are changed, made changes, etc. We discussed what life will be like after BVS, what many of us will do after BVS, and how to do what it is that is next for all of us. 


Above is page 5 of the March edition of the Messenger. Featured is a good friend, Rick Polhamus, and myself. Also, I am happy to say that I have been accepted to be apart of the Ministers of Reconciliation (MoR) team for NYC (National Youth Conference) this summer in Fort Collins, Colorado. There I will be apart of a trained team to handle numerous stages of conflict between two or more people and defuse or redirect conflict into a more positive outcome. I am having a great time studying, researching, and talking about being a mediator at such a large event as NYC. I am looking forward to the start of a skill that will continue to be useful in everything that we do for the rest of our lives. 

I look forward to keeping in touch with you and sharing more of my endless experiences here in Virginia for at least the next few months! 

With peace,




3 thoughts on “BVS Mid-Year Retreat and New Community Project

  1. Barb Burke

    Hi Michael! Thanks for all the posts and information you send.  You are truly an awesome person to have discovered all of this in your young life.  I am very proud of you! And, then on the other hand, I want to be taught salsa dancing at Alyssa’s wedding in May.  OK?? Love you and take care . .

  2. Barbara Wise Lewczak

    I am so glad you are able to connect with MOR and look forward to seeing you at NYC love your posts how awesome you are experiencing NCP love you pryers

  3. Cindy Kane

    Michael, you are learning so much as you give to others in Christ’s name. We look forward to seeing you at your sister’s wedding in May. Wishing you the best in your work. ~ The Kanes


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