1987 - 2017
Is it a love story? YOU decide....
Mike at his desk at SUNY Brockport
The ﬁrst time that I "laid eyes" on Julia, it was at an event that was held in my dorm (at that time, I was the resident director). I was immediately impressed with Julia's good looks and intelligence. The ﬁrst time she saw me, Julia was not as impressed (she was intelligent, but, not THAT intelligent). In fact, Julia found me to be a "cocky little twerp". One evening after another dorm event (TV Trivia), I was feeling quite conﬁdent that no one could stump me in TV trivia. One of the new R.A.s accepted my challenge and said, "I bet you that my sister could stump you.” So I said, "Go get your sister." Unbeknownst to me, Robin's sister lived on campus. When her sister showed up, guess who it was? JULIA. As time elapsed, we developed a very good friendship through playing an old school portable video game, late night walks to town to get donuts, attending sports events on campus and simply chilling with other students. I remember a season of time when Julia (at that time she was not yet saved) would continually ask me "interesting" questions about God. Questions like, "Do dogs go to Heaven" and "Did Cain have a belly button" made for interesting conversations over dinner. At the time I was still a growing Christian, but I recognized Julia's obvious interest in spiritual matters, so I invited Julia to a concert at a Youth/Young Adult service. That night, Julia committed her life to Jesus!! Although we did not have any interest in each other (in fact, I considered myself to be a "Bachelor to the Rapture") our friendship began to grow more by the year. AND THEN..... One day, after an evening service, while looking at Julia walk across the sanctuary, I clearly heard the voice of the Lord tell me that "Julia is your wife." Shortly after that, I asked Julia out on a "date" (with just the two of us). Julia thought the invitation was strange because we always used to go out in a group. Of course, Julia said "yes" to this "twerp" in April 1986 and our relationship and love for each other grew to the extent that Julia said, "yes" to my marriage proposal In December of the same year. Three months later, we were married and kissed for the ﬁrst time at the altar. Thirty years later well... Is it a love story? YOU decide...
In December of 1981 I had just completed my ﬁrst semester at Brockport State University, and I went to a training session for resident assistants on behalf of my sister Robin. Michael was the resident director that was leading it and all I could think of is who is this little arrogant twerp!? I gave my sister all the information and she was chosen to be a resident assistant for the spring semester. Little did I know that she was going to be working for this man MICHAEL PEACE, so when she called me on the phone asking me to come over because Michael had just done a TV trivia game and my sister told him that I could stump him. MICHAEL in all his deﬁance and boldness said “you go get your sister “thinking that I was in Long Island. He watched her pick up the campus phone and then he said to himself uh-oh. I really think he thought he was in trouble now because he knew I was that good! I came in saying, “Who wants to challenge me?” My sister said I had to go against Michael because he thinks he’s so good. We went back-and-forth and by the end, I did stump him! We then became very good friends, and I have not been able to beat him since. We then became co-workers as I became a resident director also. We each had a dorm with a common living area where we would do programming. As we became best friends, I saw and recognized the call of God on his life so I would cover for him on weekends. At the time we were going to a church where the leadership felt we should be together, and I resisted. There was a repulsion between us but we still had a friendship. I was supposed to go to California for a one year internship, however the plans all fell through and I ended up living in Rochester and going to Bethel Full Gospel church. I later came on staff as a secretary to then Pastor Robert Crosby at the time. Mike and I became youth leaders.He had just begun doing Christian rap and playing with the band at Golden Heights Christian Center. He was becoming well known and ﬁnally ended up moving to Rochester because the Lord called him to the city. Bethel’s new Pastor Ron Domina offered him a position on the Bethel staff, and at that time there were a lot of girls going crazy over him. I knew the basis of our relationship was as best friends, but in my heart I believed that God was going to do something more, and sure enough He did. Mike used to say, “Don’t need no woman, don’t need no strife, don’t need no woman tying to be my wife, because I’m a bachelor to the rapture.” When the Lord spoke to him that I was the one, it was after he told the ladies that were after him that God will give that person a particular scripture that he picked out. I didn’t ﬁnd out about it until our third anniversary that I in fact said the scripture and didn’t even know it! Michael was very honoring of me and we never kissed when we were dating. We felt it wasn’t right, and he left me untouched in case God chose someone else for me someday. Plus, we felt as youth leaders that we should behave in private the way we would in public, because we set the example. We knew that what adults do in moderation, kids would choose excess, and we wanted to set a high standard. We got engaged after a cassette proposal on Dec 28th 1986 and our wedding was an open invitation to all the people and youth groups we knew as 450 people came to see us kiss for the ﬁrst time. There was a snow storm the week of our wedding but on Saturday March 7th it was 72 degrees, then another snow storm hit on Monday the 9th as we drove to Word of Life in Schroon Lake near Lake Placid. Needless to say for 30 years we have walked this journey together, traveling by faith and prayer across this nation, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Honduras to the Glory of God.
Bethel Express has always been a ministry concerned and committed to impacting and improving the lives of urban children and families in Rochester, NY. In 1987, through a vision of Pastor Ron A. Domina, Senior Pastor of Bethel Full Gospel Church (now Bethel Christian Fellowship), and childrenâ€™s pastors Pastor Mike Guertin and Pastor Luis and Pam Perez, Bethel Express was founded. They developed a team of dedicated volunteers with one mutual mission, to insure that children's lives would be "On track with Jesus." Beginning with outreach to FIGHT Village, then to St. Pastor Ron A. Domina Simon Apartments and eventually to Gateway Apartments, B.E. began take form in an amazing way. Under the focused and dynamic leadership of the Perezes, B.E. was touching the lives of children and families to the extent that parents were all but begging for their children to be a part of the ministry.
Pastor Luis and Pam Perez
On a weekly basis, children were picked up by the "Blue Goose Express" school bus and taken to Bethel Full Gospel Church for an energetic and exciting experience of worship, praise, prayer and Bible lesson. The Perezes were very diligent in making sure that EVERY child was tended to by way of home visitations and small "outings."
As time passed, various "special yearly events" began to take place such as the Christmas Gift distribution services, trips to the Kobel Farm, monthly trips to the Metro YMCA, the circus, various sports events, and many more fun-ďŹ lled activities. Many of these annual favorites continue to this day. As the depth of their ministry grew, the Lord called "Uncle Lu and Aunt Pam" to a greater span of ministry to the entire city of Rochester, thus making and preparing the way for the leadership of James and Judy Heath.
Pastor James and Judy Heath
The Heaths were part of the original group of Bethel Express leaders and exhibited an undying commitment to B.E. Through their love, care, compassion and concern for the children of Rochester, the Heaths found themselves ministering to an even larger audience than ever before, with their message of shining as lights for Jesus and living lives of decency and excellence of the highest degree. James' keen eye for detail and Judy's creativity have established a framework that shaped the way things are done at B.E still today.
Pastor Mike Guertin
In 1999, Mike Peace was given the position of pastor after serving with Bethel Express for it’s ﬁrst twelve years. Under his leadership, in 2011, Bethel Express of America became a 501c3 and Mike became the Executive Director.
Bethel Express Theme Song Words and music by Todd Elliott
Long-time friend and supporter Chris Soderstrom passed unexpectedly, and the family requested that in lieu of ﬂowers, donations be made to his favorite charity, Bethel Express. The gift was so substantial, we decided to invest it in something long term for the ministry and the community. The ministry house at Chris Soderstrom Corner has become a place for tutoring and mentoring after school. The ﬁrst resident of the ministry house was Mother Geraldine Coleman, and in her memory, earlier this year, we dedicated the yard as a park in her name. In 2010 Bethel Express moved from meeting in the Body Shop on Anson Place in Rochester to their current home at Brighton Presbyterian on East Avenue.
First Board of Directors: Michael Peace Julia Peace Ethel Duble Jim Hammond Ron Sykes Mark Collins Lavonda Lofton Dwayne Snead Jason Temple Amy Temple Sue Hammond Joyce White-Johnson Omari Bowens Candy Giles
Chorus Can anything good come out the hood? Come and see! Express’ on track with Jesus, We’re BE. We will rise up, as champions in society, We’re blessed in the city, Blessed in the ﬁeld, Blessed because God is real in me! We’re nonconformists, Romans 12 and 2. That means we don’t give in and do the bad things others do. We are the example, th e generation setting a new trend! Never rebellious, respecting our elders and Shining God’s light from within. Chorus We’re learning structure, the “S Factors” in our life; Spiritual Strength Social Stability Scholastic Success That’s Right! We thank God in heaven for bringing us this ministry. Teaching us how to grow in Christ and Bring war on the enemy. YO! I got my Bible! It’s the Sword of the Spirit! That means it’s a weapon, I’m equipped for battle! Satan, I’m ‘bout to jack you up! Satan, I’m ‘bout to jack you up! Satan, I’m ‘bout to jack you up! SATAN, I’M ‘BOUT TO JACK YOU UP! Contact us! We’d love to hear from you. Bethel Express of America PO Box 19604 Rochester, NY 14619 Phone: 585-474-6339 Email: email@example.com Paypal on the website: BethelExpress.org
For over 32 years in ministry, Michael Peace has poured his life into the lives of many here in the city of Rochester. Although his work may not seem very visible he has worked in the trenches with passion and commitment and has touched the lives of countless young people. Though he is known and recognized nationally and internationally, even considered by some to be famous (on the covers of some national magazines) he is not rich. That is because he never charged or put a price on his services. He received what ever people, churches, or organizations could afford. His richness and treasure is not in money, but the assurance that he pleased God with his convictions and obedience and the satisfaction that he was able to help people in all types of predicaments.
Through ďŹ nancial support from our home church, Bethel Christian Fellowship, he was enabled to have a strong presence in the Rochester public school teaching two curriculums: ARISE (Achieving Respect In Society Educationally) and Abstinence. Both programs had lasting results in not just the deterring of teen pregnancy and STD's, but an increase in character development. ARISE garnered international interest when Michael and his associate and best friend James Heath presented a medical abstract that featured the program at a conference in Jamaica.
He has been involved in public outreach traveling across the United States doing gang and prison ministry in major urban cities such as New York, Detroit, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, encouraging young people to leave the drug game and become gainfully employed. Again, although he has traveled extensively, his primary prison ministry has been as a visiting volunteer chaplain at the New York Industry facility in Rush for 32 years.
Left of each page: Michael was the pioneer of Christian Rap as a genre, on the Reunion record label. Several of his albums and singles are shown. Bottom left page, Mike with his son JD Above, Michael with his famous “Julia Pin” at the 10th annual Night to Honor Israel.
Last but not least, he is the Executive Director and pastor of Bethel Express, a children's ministry outreach of Bethel Christian Fellowship. Michael served B.E. as it is affectionately known, under two previous Directors/Pastors for 12 years and has spent the last 18 years as Director/Pastor. Under Mike’s leadership, B.E. was established as a not for proﬁt 501 (c)3 called Bethel Express of America in 2011. He implemented Bethel Express’ mission using the S Factor: Spiritual Strength, Social Stability, and Scholastic Success with a tutoring component. B.E. is primarily a ministry for children ages 6-12, but the children who have stayed with Bethel Express through high school have had a 100% graduation rate and have been awarded college scholarships. Bethel Express alumni are now themselves contributing to the Rochester community and beyond, and can boast bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. If a young person felt college wasn't his route they were taught Bethel Express Enterprise, a workforce preparedness program, to learn a good work ethic and entrepreneurial skills.
How can one express the Love that you have shown the Reed family throughout the years. You invited us into your family and allowed us to use the gifts our Lord has given us, both in ministry and in our friendship. We are proud to carry the last name of BE! May our Lord continue to richly bless you in the next 30 years and beyond! With much love, Mr. Dan and Ms. Maryanne
From the Bethel Express Board: The Bethel Express Board Members are honored to serve with Mike and Julia as they endeavor to impact the youth of Rochester's Inner City. Under Michael's leadership and with Julia's support, we continue the work that began 30 years ago and marvel at the evidence of God's hand in the lives of the BE Family. With Much Love and Many Prayers, Carl Wager, Chairman Amy Temple, Treasurer Ginger Crandall, Secretary LaKeisha Clark-Washington Ethel Duble Lynn Forth Candy Giles Jeromee Hubbard Lavonda Lofton Dwayne Snead Ronald Sykes Jason Temple
Mike and Julia's friendship throughout the years has been priceless! We have appreciated being able to partner with them in ministry through B.E. They have not only touched our lives, but greatly touched and made an impact on both of our kids' lives, as well as so many in this area. Their faithfulness and love for the kids in this city is awe-inspiring! Richest blessings and our love to The Peaces, Dave & Eunice Dinsmore Seeing Mike and Julia together is a glimpse of Heaven! They ďŹ t so perfectly! They make me feel I'm a part of their family, which is true, the family of God! I'm so thankful they took an interest in my grandson, Kendrick, & encouraged his musical abilities. They've given this grandmother some proud moments watching our Lord in action. Thank you Julia & Michael for staying true to your covenant of marriage & your covenant to obey God's leading. You are blessed & you'll continue to be blessed, because our Lord is well pleased. Praying for you, Carol Schweigart
We feel so blessed and count it all joy to have Michael and Julia in our lives. They have been so supportive and always make time in their busy schedules to be apart of our family celebrations. We have always and continue to admire them for practicing what they preach. They are the Real Deal. They have impacted many lives and particularly the youth. We count our grandchildren in that number. We are so fortunate to have had Michael ofďŹ ciate the dedications of not one but two of our grandchildren. This initiated the beginning of their Spiritual journey. They are young and impressionable so we are grateful for the godly people in their lives. Michael and Julia are at the top of that list. We couldn't ask for better role models. Henry & Doris Fields
Mike and I go WAY back, like when I was a baby (in Jesus, that is). I met him when I ﬁrst came to Bethel in late 1984 (or what is 1985? Somewhere in there…). I remember the day I met him because he introduced himself with a rap that he wrote, which started something like this: “My name is Michael Peace and I’m ﬁve foot seven. And I know that I’m going to heaven…”. He was also chums with 2 other guys (Jack Lagatella and Owen Brown – yes, “the” Jack Lagatella) and they called themselves “Bachelors till the rapture.” Mike has had a huge impact on me and I’m always blessed by his huge amount of faith not only in God, but in what God can do in and with people no matter who they are. Mike accepted me in the youth group worship team many years ago which is how I got started playing guitar for worship. Mark Bratcher
Mike and Julia, you echo the sound of the beating pulse of the Father’s heart for the children of our great city. There are far too few “thank you’s” said during the process of ministry, but the lives you have touched will ring shouts of gratitude in heaven because of the paths altered, the lives changed for eternity! We value your heart, your integrity, your commitment, your stability and your ability to see God in everyone of his children. You set the standard of passion, ﬁlled with love and hope to reach more. Your impact will be seen not just for a childhood but far beyond that in the lives of those you’ve touched. We stand with you, Mike and Julia! Our city would be far less without you, and so would we. In Sincere Gratitude ~Pastors Tim & Christine Schmidt
There are not enough words to appropriately thank Mike and Julia for all they have meant to us. Their mighty prayers and gentle guidance have been woven solidly into the fabric of the Temple family. We are grateful for the past ﬁfteen years working beside them both as Bethel Express Leaders and we look forward to the next ﬁfteen! Miggity Mad, Gushy Gooey, Icky Sticky, Chunky Chewy, Crunchy Crunchy, Yummy Yummy Love Y'all, from the Temples
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Do not bring your "baggage" to your marriage Do not get married until you have prepared and developed yourself for the "long haulâ€? Be willing to ďŹ ght and contend for your marriage Have fun Do not live to be happy, live to walk in character Make sure your spouse loves Jesus more than he/she loves you
Remind yourself that you committed to the Lord your lives and marriage in public and before the hosts of Heaven Have "stubborn love" for each other Stay mindful that your marriage is ministry and it ministers to others People are watching your marriage, YOU should watch it too Live to love and like each other willfully, naturally and intentionally Be diligent to always be friends and biggest fan
We arenâ€™t meant to do life alone.
For 30 years, Mike and Julia called this house on Roslyn Street home. They raised their son, Roberto (J.D.), and invited many youth to stay with them throughout the years. This house is still remembered as â€œhomeâ€? by many. Earlier this year, they moved to the Ministry House where they are able to be available for the kids in the neighborhood daily.
After getting saved in 1981 while attending SUNY Brockport, Julia became involved with Golden Heights Christian Center ministries assisting administratively with the youth and college and career. She attended her ﬁrst outreach in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics. Julia led a teen girls bible study at her dorm where she was resident director. She shared a common lounge with Michael and joined together in activities planning. In fall of 1985 she was disappointed when her ﬁrst short term missions trip had to be canceled for lack of support. She spent that time instead continuing to deepen her friendship with Mike. She stayed with the Egling Family in Albion NY, and then her own apartment in 1986 in the city of Rochester. She began attending Bethel Full Gospel Church in 1985 led by Pastor Ron Domina and joined staff in 1986 as secretary to the youth Pastors Bob and Pamela Crosby. Julia married Michael March 7, 1987 and remained on staff until she began traveling nationally assisting Michael in his music ministry. She was DJ, Road Manager, drummer, travel agent, wife and later mother as their son JD traveled with them starting at 10 days old. When not on the road she was a youth leader with the Crosby's as well as a Bethel Express Leader with Perez' and Heath's. In 1989 she joined with Rick Cua, Morgan Cryer and Michael overseeing merchandising for the Rock, Rhythm and Rap tour for almost 2 months and learning that she was expecting their son Robert James David Peace. (Julia’s Dad Roberto and Mikes two best friends James Heath and David Barbero. (Both from the college and career group and discipled by Mike). In 1995 Julia came back on Bethel Staff as an Administrative Assistant to all youth and children’s ministries. Besides traveling and assisting in personal ministry, Julia became a sought after speaker and in 2004 she joined a ﬁve women panel for a show called "A Different View" on the Total Christian Television network. Julia enjoyed being a part and became intimate friends with Jeri Barracks, Jackie Davis, Delia Knox and Jill Kelly. The show ran for ﬁve years with round-table discussions on hot topics from the Christian perspective and regular salvation opportunities. Julia is blessed by the continued friendship they share.
In 2007 Julia began working part time for Mark & Yolanda Collins at Allpro Cleaning and Restoration to allow for some extra income and more time with Roberto JD before he graduated high school.
In 2015 Julia founded the “Bangle club” for young women to build character and noble behavior in this day and age.
She has been a Kingdom Bound volunteer at the Ministry Ofﬁce on sight at Darien Lake allowing the Lord to use her to minister to guests and Musical artists in so many ways.
She was a part of the instructors of the Facts Project teaching an abstinence curriculum in the Rochester City School District.
A part of Bethel Express over 30 years, Julia has overseen for the past 8 years most of the following: breakfast coordination, transportation coordination and pickup, CSC gardening, fundraising, tutoring coordinator and driver, administrative paperwork, annual budget preparation, attendance record keeping and supply purchasing.
In 2016 Julia became certiﬁed as an independent NYS Insurance Agent licensed and certiﬁed to sell Medicare. Ÿ
Both Julia and Michael are ordained Ministers under Christian International Apostolic Network, led by Bishop Bill Hamon from Santa Rosa, Florida.
Faced with health issues, she was forced to slow down. Her knees had severe arthritis and were worn to the bone from decades of sports activity. Julia played four years of varsity badminton, volley ball, basketball and softball - two years college volleyball and softball and 15 years of Bethel softball. Yes, she really did hit the ball out of Cobb's Hill Park onto the expressway. She had total right knee replacement in March 2017 and most recently her left knee in September 2017. She is healing well so look out, 2018, as Julia steps back in the race - healthy and whole for whatever direction the Lord takes her.
Live Worship Concert Saturday, November 4 CAFÃ‰ AVIV 321 EAST AVE ROCHESTER
Children that have stayed with Bethel Express have experienced a 100 % graduation rate. They have been awarded scholarship money their 1st year of college from a fund established in honor and memory of Cristobal Rodriguez, a Bethel Express Leader and Miracle prayer warrior. Christobal Rodriguez We have Alumni with Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates. Children who feel college isnâ€™t their route are taught Bethel Express Enterprises to learn a good work ethic and entrepreneurial skills.
Published on Oct 11, 2017
Published on Oct 11, 2017
Read about the life and ministry of Michael and Julia Peace, dedicated servants of Rochester youth for over 30 years. This mag is packed wit...