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Elder Leon Swanson: BIO

Bema Outreach Ministries is a God-ordained, para-church organization founded in August 1989 by Elder Leon E. Swanson to glorify God by taking the LIFE of the church to the graves of the world. Bema is sanctioned by the Federal Government as a non-profit 501(c)(3), tax-exempt religious organization and is fully chartered in compliance with state requirements. Bema means “seat of judgment”, the Throne from which every Christian’s work in this life will be evaluated with rewards given or lost accordingly (I Cor. 3:13-15, II Cor. 5:20) by The Lord Jesus, The Christ, the Righteous Judge (John 5:22) Who is to come (Rev. 22:12) in the glory of the clouds (Matt. 24:30)                                                                                                                                       

Elder Swanson was licensed for the Gospel Ministry in September 1984, at the First Rock Baptist Church, Washington, DC. He was ordained to the Office of Elder in January 1988 at the Greater Mt. Joy Church of Christ Holiness. In August 1990, Rev. Swanson was ordained a second time in the annual Convocation of the Church of God In Christ. He then served as a staff Elder for 6 years at the Star of Bethlehem Church of God in Christ, Washington, D.C. In May 1996, he was ordained a third time to the Office of the Elder by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Philadelphia Baltimore Conference. He then served at the Full Gospel A.M.E. Zion Church, Temple Hills, MD, for 4 years. From 1999 to 2001 he served as Senior Elder on the ministerial staff at Judah Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, Mitchellville, MD. He was in membership at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden from 2001 to 2004 where he served as Chaplain of the New Members Ministry. From 2004 to late 2008 he was a staff minister of the From the Heart Church Ministries in Temple Hills, MD. In mid-2009 He was consecrated for the fourth time as an Elder through Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary. Elder Swanson and his wife have been submitted to the authority of Woodstream Church in Mitchellville, MD since September 2009 under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Dr. Robert Wingfield Jr.                                                                        

Rev. Swanson served for 3 years as an Advisor to the Women’s AGLOW Ministry, Camp Springs, MD and for 3 years was Director for the People That Love Center (an outreach ministry to the homeless and destitute). From 1999 to 2001 he was the Coordinator of the Men's and Women's prison ministry at a former church, and there he also established the "Faithworker" outreach ministry to the needy within the church. He served as a member on the Advisory Board of the Coalition of Prison Ministries, Washington, DC for one year. He has been actively involved in prison ministry for 31 years. From 1989 to 1994 he was assigned to monthly rotation at Lorton Prison conducting Sunday morning services, and from 1995-1999 he was an Associate Volunteer Chaplain in the Washington DC Jail Facility. For nearly 25 years he taught Bible studies at the Prince Georges County Correctional Center. He rendered convalescence care to the sick and aged at FutureCare Nursing Home in Clinton, MD for over fifteen years. He presently preaches monthly morning worship services in two prisons at the Maryland State Prison Complex, Hagerstown, MD, and he preaches monthly morning worship services at Central Maryland Correctional Facility, Sykesville, MD. He was the first Discipleship Overseer at the Prince Georges County Correctional Center for Good News Jail & Prison Ministry assigning volunteer counselors to inmates for 4 years. Additionally, Elder Swanson is a current member of the Presbytery and former Vice President of the Alumni Association of Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary, Ridgely, MD.                                                     

In late 1989, he formed Bne Elohim (sons of God) Publishing Company and Bema Records to release an anointed gospel album which was entitled, "Yes, Yes, I Love You Lord". In mid-1993, a second album entitled, "Spirit Song" was released from the ministry. In 2005 he released a two-song CD recording entitled, "Forgiven", followed by a one-song CD tribute to his beloved late mother, Olivia, in early 2006 entitled "Another Love You Mom Song". In 2007 he completed his fifth release, a 12-song CD blessing he entitled, "I’m Not Alone". He is a registered professional composer with BMI, having written 250+ songs to date.  He is also the author of "Do You See What I See?", an inspiring book written in 2018.                                       

Rev. Swanson holds a Diploma in General Bible Studies from Liberty University; a Bachelor of Christian Ministry Degree and a Master of Pastoral Counseling Degree from Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor Board-certified through the National Christian Counselors Association. He is the loving father of three adult daughters, one adult son, and five grandchildren. He and his wife Alicia reside in Upper Marlboro, MD. Alicia, his covenant joy, has been employed by the Federal Government for 37 years. She has led Christian studies for a small group of women in her home weekly. She readily assists with various administrative aspects of the ministry during special outreach projects. She also is trained in signing for the deaf. Additionally, Alicia formerly taught adult literacy through the Prince Georges Community College. She holds an Associate Degree in General Studies, with a second degree in Early Childhood Education.

Pastor Walter Braxton - Administrator

Pastor Walter Braxton is the current Administrator of Bema Outreach Ministries, appointed in 2016 as immediate assistant to Elder Swanson to facilitate administrative aspects of the ministry activity. He is the Pastor of New Life Church in Randallstown MD, and he is the proficient Administrator of the CAYA Men’s Fellowship and its Chief Finance Officer. He works as a mentor with the Baltimore Philemon Ministry, passionately assisting men with re-entry challenges as they are released from various prisons. Additionally, he presently preaches as assigned at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville, Maryland.                                

Pastor Braxton holds an Associate Degree in Biblical studies, and a Bachelor of Christian Ministry Degree, and he continues his educational pursuit. He is an honorably discharged United States Navy veteran. He was licensed for the Gospel ministry in 2011 after fulfilling all necessary candidate requirements and giving satisfactory proof of his calling.  He has worked closely with Elder Swanson since 2014 with various ministry objectives, progressing to his subsequent assignment as Bema Administrator. He and his lovely wife Phyllis have been married for 25 years and they are the proud parents of two and have two adorable grandchildren.

The Vision

The vision of Bema Outreach Ministries, Inc., is primarily to glorify the Triune God through the establishing and implementing of a network of interrelated ministries that will function to improve the quality of societal life through evangelism and diversified outreach services. Trusting that it is the “….goodness of the Lord that brings men to repentance” (Romans 2:4), we are convinced that it is the mandated task of believers (Ephesians 2:10) to be committed to works that effect good in the lives of others, and that in so doing, we actively demonstrate the reality of our faith (James 2:18) in our God. We believe that having faith without ensuing works is contradiction (James 2:17), therefore, we serve God by serving man in his various needs through the agency of this ministry by the power and provision of the Holy Ghost.                                                                       

Our objective is to work in concert with the institutional church to make the Presence of God tangible through active outreach involvement in all areas of societal need for which our ministry operations are equipped.      

Our goal is to be productive through the cooperative use of our spiritual gifts and talents; to raise the productivity of others through our good example; and to leave a good deposit for the succeeding ministry generation.    

Our commitment is to avail ourselves to God our Father in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18) in the prisons, jails, and nursing homes as He uses us as agents of hope to the many who despair in dark circumstances beyond their control. We believe we are sent into these assignments as light (Matthew 5:14, Ephesians 5:8) to dispel the darkness of lost hope. We believe we are called to be life givers (Rev. 3:2) through God’s anointing so that ...”men would praise the Lord for His goodness...” (Psalm 107:8)                            

The Apostle Paul declared in his epistle to the church at Rome, “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established…,” and in like manner the ultimate vision of Bema Outreach Ministries, Inc., is to be an instrument of the impartation of the power of God through good works.

Vision Overview

Our ultimate goal is to acquire the essential funds to build a facility or lease space for ministry to ex-offenders and their immediate family members who have been negatively impacted by the separation period. The Bema Covenant Center will be a general resource center for sincere individuals being released from places of incarceration desirous of help in their societal re-entry. Our concerted efforts will be centered on providing advocacy to promote personal confidence in the ex-offender. In particular, we will disciple persons referred to us by pastors and prison chaplains so that they will more greatly value and embrace their new positive resolves.                                                                                                                                               

Our purpose is to aid them in areas of personal development so that they are enabled to transcend the obvious challenges to societal re-entry that are produced by their past behavior and their documented criminal records. The Bema Covenant Center will enable them to be credible witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ through personal accountability to assigned mentors.                                                                                                        

Our objective is to help ex-offenders in their expressed desire to "go back to give back" to their respective communities upon release from confinement. The Bema Covenant Center will stage various self-improvement workshops designed to enable the ex-offender to develop unquestionable Christian character, to demonstrate consistent Christian conduct, and to boldly defend their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We will work closely with our referrals to ensure their integrity and reliability so that they can transition into productive, trustworthy members of the society from which they were previously estranged. We will present Jesus as He is through the evidence of gloriously transformed lives and renewed minds.                                           

Operating in the spiritual principal of unconditional love, Bema Covenant Center will act in advocacy to the ex-offender in his/her quest to accomplish their long awaited dream of maximal personal fulfillment through a disciplined lifestyle that will glorify God.

Statement of Faith

We believe the Bible to be the inspired and only infallible Word of God. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three co-equal persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.                           

We believe that the true Church, which is His Body, is comprised of believers joined universally resultant to the finished atoning work of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary, and that only by His shed blood do we have remission of sins.                                          

We believe that the only means of being cleansed from sin is through volitional repentance and faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                                                   

We believe that regeneration by the Holy Ghost is absolutely essential for personal salvation.                      

We believe that the vicarious suffering of Christ on the Cross and His victorious resurrection from the dead provides healing for the human body in answer to believing prayer.                                                                                         

We believe in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, by Whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy and separated life in this present world until the second coming of Jesus Christ in the Rapture of the church.                                                                                                                                                  

We believe that the term marriage has only one legitimate meaning, and that marriage is sanctioned by God, joining one man and one woman in a single covenantal union as delineated by Scripture. Whenever there is a conflict between this ministry's position and any new legal standard for marriage, our statement of faith and Biblical position will govern.                                                                                                                    

We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage, and that any other type of identity or expression that lies outside of this mandate, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are contrary to God's natural design and purpose for sexual activity.  Amen.