Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

January 22, 2024 | "Transformed Lives Transform Lives"

Prayers of the People

Elinor L. Thompson of Frankin UMC in Churchton has been named the 2023 winner of the Forrest C. Stith Grant for the presentation of the history of African American congregations by the African American Methodist Heritage Center. Learn more.

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust have awarded 24 African American Heritage Preservation Program grants totaling $5 million to Maryland nonprofit groups for 2024. Among the recipients are Locust UMC in Columbia, Mt. Calvary UMC in Arnold, Ridgley Methodist Church and Cemetery, Brown’s UMC Multi-Cultural Heritage Center in Port Republic, and Bryan’s UMC and Cemetery in Grasonville. “To build a stronger future, we must recognize our past. We need to acknowledge the broad shoulders we stand on – and use those stories to power our work,” said Gov. Wes Moore. See the story on Baynet.

U.S. Rep. Delia Ramírez (D-Ill.), a member of Humboldt Park UMC in Chicago and the United Methodist caucus MARCHA, delivered a speech on Jan. 18 to the U.S. House of Representatives calling for “the sacred treatment” of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. “Thank you to my United Methodist Church and MARCHA for allowing me to make this prayer part of our Congressional Record,” she said. Listen to the speech.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Seminary has released its final report documenting disaffiliations from The United Methodist Church. While a quarter of U.S. churches have left the denomination, new United Methodist faith communities are springing up from the remnants. Read the story. See the Lewis Center report.

Online option added to listening sessions on restructuring

More than 40 people gathered at the BWC Mission Center Thursday for the first Listening Session on restructuring. The bold ideas shared by clergy and laity focused on creating districts, clusters, and other ministry groups that will enhance the ministry of local faith communities, enabling congregations to serve their neighbors better, and becoming the church that God calls us to be. This is exactly the intent of the 12 listening sessions hosted by the Restructuring Task Force over the next few weeks.

To respond to an expressed need, the Task Force is adding a virtual component to the Listening Session for members of the Connectional Table on Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Mission Center. Connectional Table members will participate in person at the Mission Center. Those who would like to join a session virtually can participate in this session via Zoom. All those who want to participate in the online version of this Listening Session should register here, and the Zoom information will be sent to them.


Before attending a session, participants are asked to familiarize themselves with the results of the Restructuring Survey.


A special session for youth and young adults will be held at Emmanuel UMC in Laurel on Jan. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. See and share a flyer about the youth session and RSVP before Jan. 24.

Everyone who wishes to have a voice in the future structure of the BWC is encouraged to participate. You're also invited to encourage all those who may be interested to attend a listening session. See the complete schedule.

New and Featured

Annual Statistical Reports are due by midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 31. We are grateful for all the work that you have done to assemble this information and enter it into the ACStats system. If you are concerned that you may be unable to submit by the deadline, please reach out to your district office as soon as possible. We can offer up to a week of grace. Please visit the Statistical Reports page for a recording of the training webinar, detailed instructions, and additional resources.

Churches are encouraged to observe Disability Awareness Sunday on the first Sunday of February or another Sunday of their choice. Yvonne Caughman and the Rev. Leo Yates, leaders of the BWC Disability Ministries team, share these resources.

Maryland Legislative Advocacy Day: The BWC's 2024 Legislative Advocacy Days will be on Feb. 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Asbury UMC in Annapolis. The event allows United Methodists to meet their representatives and advocate for United Methodist values. It also allows the voices of United Methodists to be heard and considered when our representatives make important decisions that impact the lives of our communities. Learn More & Register.

The BWC’s Creation Care Advocacy and Action team is co-sponsoring a legislative briefing call on Feb. 4 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., hosted by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and Interfaith Power and Light DMV. Learn how your community can advocate for legislation in Maryland that promotes clean water, clean air, and environmental justice. Participants will hear from issue experts about priority legislation and how people of faith can be advocates from a moral and religious perspective. RSVP, and a webinar link will be sent to you.

Cooperative Parish Summit moved to Good Hope Union UMC: Due to overwhelming interest, the Cooperative Parish Summit on Jan. 27 is being moved to a nearby local church to accommodate the large number of registrants. The event will now be held at Good Hope Union UMC, located at 14680 Good Hope Road in Silver Spring, approximately eight miles from the Conference Center. Registration is full. Read a story on cooperative parishes.

Local Church Activities:

  • Grace UMC in Aberdeen will hold its 11th Annual Chocolate Festival with food and homemade crafts on Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Hopkins UMC, at 12350 Highland Road in Highland, will host an American Red Cross Blood Drive on Monday, Feb. 19, from noon to 5 p.m. Schedule a donation time at www.redcrossblood.org or by contacting Penny Smith at 410-456-6663.

Ministry Opportunities Calendar

Scout Sunday

Feb. 4

Buy a patch for $3.50

Annual Conference Resolution Submissions Due

Feb. 16

Next Level Speaker Series

March 7, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Westphalia UMC, Upper Marlboro.

Dr. Deborah Haskins joins Bishop LaTrelle Easterling to discuss the ground-breaking field of trauma-informed leadership and holistic wellness.

BWC Annual Conference Session

Wednesday-Friday, May 29 - 31

Hilton Hotel, Baltimore

The session's theme is "Like Fire Shut Up in Our Bones."

A Pre-Conference Briefing will be held online on Saturday, May 11.

Additional Disicpleship Opportunities

Living Well Clergy Renewal Retreats: The Living Well Clergy Renewal Initiative is a seven-month program comprised of an opening retreat, monthly cohort meetings and a closing retreat. The retreats will be at West River Center near Annapolis on April 9 - 11 and Oct. 29 - 31. Registration closes on March 22. Successful completion of the Living Well program qualifies for 3.3 CEUs. Learn more and register now.

Annual BWC Scholarship application process is open: Once again, the BWC will award scholarships to qualified college students and high school seniors who plan to attend college in the fall of 2024. The process closes on March 13. Learn more and apply.

The BWC’s Restorative Justice Team is holding a workshop on Healing Communities: Congregational Readiness to Receive Returning Citizens Training on Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Brooklyn Community UMC in Brooklyn Park. The $50 fee includes 1 CEU, training materials, breakfast and lunch. The registration deadline is Jan. 31. Register.

Lessons on Leadership

Level Up is a video series that provides lessons in church leadership using best-selling secular writings by the Rev. Jack Shitama of the Center for Vital Leadership. Shitama has written and videotaped 29 clever and insightful summaries of some of today's best writing on leadership. This week, he explores "The Power of Keystone Habits."

See church classified ads now online.

Melissa Lauber, Director of Communications
11711 East Market Place, Fulton, MD 20759
 410.309.3455  |  mlauber@bwcumc.org
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube