Who We Are
The Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative (GBCI) is a collaboration of a growing number of community partners and individuals committed to supporting children, youth and families and to working towards a just and equitable community.
We leverage the expertise and experience of more than 125 older adult volunteers to lead programs, mentor youth, advocate for equity, and support the organization in all kinds of ways.
GBCI is located on the campus of Asbury Methodist Village, a continuing care retirement community in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that was founded in 1926. The Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative was established by Rev. Hal Garman shortly after he arrived at Asbury in 2011.
Today we are proud to be one of six programs nationwide named a 2020 Program of Distinction by Generations United, a national organization that seeks to advance opportunities for intergenerational collaboration through programs and public policies.
Inspired by a sermon by Marian Wright Edelman at Foundry Church in Washington, DC, on Martin Luther King’s birthday in 2011, Rev. Hal Garman, a retired United Methodist minister, wondered out loud what he could do as he and his wife drove the 25 miles back to their new home, the retirement community Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Hal’s wife Jan said, “Why don’t you do something to engage youth in Gaithersburg?” That spark ignited a multicultural, interfaith, intergenerational project that has not stopped growing.
From its very beginnings, what would eventually become the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative (GBCI) was rooted in deep listening that led to an understanding of the stresses in the lives our neighbors— overcrowded apartments too expensive for single families struggling to make it on low wage jobs; inadequate school buildings; lack of after-school youth programs; gang activity; not enough people willing to mentor children and youth. After listening and learning, GBCI implemented its first program-mentoring elementary school students-and since then has continued to grow its partners and activities.
GBCI's foundation was built on the initial collaborative strength and
synergy of these key individuals and organizations:
Asbury Methodist Village
Former Executive Director
Rev. Dr. Martha Brown
Former Director of Pastoral Care & Counseling
City of Gaithersburg
Former Mayor Sidney Katz
Wesley Theological Seminary
David McAllister-Wilson, President
Dr. Fred Smith, Former Director of Urban Ministry
Montgomery County Executive’s Office of Community Partnerships
Rev. Timothy Warner, Former Community Liaison
To forge intergenerational relationships and community partnerships that promote social justice and help build resilience in and improve the lives of children, youth, families, and older adults
To realize the dream of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beloved Community" in the greater Gaithersburg community.
In addressing this dream, we are guided by a vision of social justice where:
people know, understand, and trust one another
individual good and the common good are in harmony
equality of opportunity prevails
everyone is treated fairly
diversity is celebrated
disputes are settled collaboratively and non-violently
the norm of unconditional love of neighbor prevails
people share a sense of being in one human family