By Michael Yoder

The tragedy of Dylan Roof and the Charleston, SC shootings that rocked the nation on June 17th is a sobering addition to the long list of racial violence of the year. Where does one start? Ferguson, Eric Garner, Baltimore Riots, the Texas McKinney police department… the list seems endless – not to mention international violence and racism.


Shalom: peace, wholeness, completeness, harmony, health, safety, soundness. A powerful blessing.

Here at Laurelville we have an alternative approach seeking to offer Christ-like hospitality to all and looking to foster healthy community where faith flourishes. We prominently display our vision of the kingdom of God with a sign blessing people as they leave.

In a broken world, Laurelville holds forth the alternative and hope-filled vision of the kingdom of God – Shalom. Colossians 1 says it this way:

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Recently Grace Church came to Laurelville for their Church Retreat – building community, relaxing, being made whole in Christ. Here is what they said, “We are so thankful for all your hard work to make your facilities so clean, accessible, and peaceful.”

Another guest recently said this, “I never leave Laurelville without my spirit renewed!”

Small expressions of Shalom happen regularly here at Laurelville.

Let us know how we can serve you on your own Christian Retreat in Pennsylvania so that you, your family, or your church can experience the Shalom of God here at Laurelville.

Michael Yoder is the Executive Director of Laurelville.