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February 26, 2024 | "Transformed Lives Transform Lives"

Prayers of the People

The Rev. Mary S. Trail, a retired pastor in the BWC, died on Feb. 17. She was married to the Rev. Gary Trail. A Memorial Service is scheduled for March 16 at 11 a.m. at Union Chapel UMC, 10123 Valley Road in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Condolences may be sent to the Rev. Gary Trail at P.O. Box 745, Ridgeley, WV 26753.

We celebrate the life of Rabbi Martin Siegel, who passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 22. Rabbi Siegel spent several years teaching and sharing his faith and wsdiom with the people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. He will be deeply missed. A funeral service will be held today at 11 a.m. at the Meeting House, 5885 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia.

Wanda Shumaker, mother of the Rev. Scott Dale Shumaker went to be with the Lord on Feb. 23. She was a Lay Member to Annual Conference from 2016-2019.

This week, a group of leaders from the Fresh Expressions Academy, led by the Rev. Bill Brown, will travel to Florida for a hands-on learning experience. On Feb. 7-9, the denomination held a Fresh Expressions Conference in Charlotte, N.C. at which the BWC’s Taeron Fleming performed mime. See a short video of his performance.

The Rev. Dr. Lillian Smith has been appointed to serve as a superintendent of the Altoona Supervisory Area of the Susquehanna Conference. Since 2016, she has been the pastor of Cheverly UMC in Cheverly. See the appointment list.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Boy Scouts of America's $2.46 billion settlement with sexual abuse victims to move forward, lifting a temporary pause imposed in response to an appeal by 144 former scouts who opposed the agreement. See the Reuters story.

This week’s Lenten exercises in Living Like Christ center around practices of gratitude. This unique daily resource combines neurological science, learnings from the book Positive Intelligence and Wesleyan theology. What are you thankful for and how might your gratitude shape your life? Visit Living Like Christ: A Banquet of Spiritual Exercises and dive further into Growing in Gratitude.

Restructuring plan advances to Town Hall meeting

At a Connectional Table meeting on Saturday, BWC leaders were presented with three scenarios for restructuring based on insights and information received from more than 1,200 survey responses and 10 listening sessions that drew more than 400 people from throughout the conference. After robust conversation, the Connectional Table affirmed a direction to further perfect one of the three scenarios. With the critical feedback they received, the Restructuring Task Force will continue its future-focused, Spirit-centered work.

The process of creating the plan to restructure the BWC’s eight districts, which will be voted on at the May Annual Conference session, was designed to allow people to shape, speak on and move into the possibilities of God. It will be unveiled at a conference-wide online Town Hall on March 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.


The plan’s scenario was designed specifically to focus on the BWC’s mission to cultivate world-changing disciples, strengthen the United Methodist connection, reduce what is perceived as administrative burdens, and more deeply empower the laity. It is intended to build on the Christ-centered, Wesleyan movement of transformation, creating the next iteration of what God has in mind for the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Register for the Restructuring Town Hall.

Registration closes Thursday for Next Level event

Registration closes on Feb. 29 for the March 7 Next Level conversation, which will address trauma-informed leadership, one of the most important topics facing church leaders today.

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling will join Dr. Deborah Haskins to explore thriving in the midst of trauma. The conversation will occur online and in person at Westphalia UMC in Upper Marlboro, Md., on March 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Since the pandemic, increasing numbers of people and churches have reported living through trauma. To better resource pastors and other church leaders, the bishop has invited Haskins, a renowned expert in this field, to provide tools to assist in helping people affected by trauma find health and wholeness and strengthen ministries in churches that may be experiencing trauma. Read more about Dr. Haskins and her story.

Learn more and register.

New and Featured

Connectional Table weighs in on resolutions: At the recent Connectional Table meeting, members heard reports about and expressed their thoughts on four resolutions coming before the annual conference. They address opposing a proposed Maryland Constitutional amendment on reproductive freedom, promoting awareness of Sickle Cell in local churches, observing the 40th anniversary of Reconciling Ministries, and establishing a Camping Sunday to celebrate the BWC's Camping and Retreat Ministries. See the resolutions. Members also expressed their concurrence with the proposed 2025 budget, and recommendations on Equitable Compensation for clergy and pensions and health benefits. See the stewardship recommendations and a presentation from the Committee on Finance and Administration. A PreConference Briefing for clergy and lay members to annual conference will be held online on May 11. Add this to your calendar.

Explore the rich history of Methodism in Baltimore. The BWC will lead a pilgrimage to visit Lovely Lane UMC, Old Otterbein UMC, Sharp Street Memorial UMC, and Bishop’s Lot in Mt. Olivet Cemetery on March 2. On April 21, we will begin with worship and a tour of Old Otterbein UMC and travel to Lovely Lane UMC to see the church and museum. Full historical interpretation will be provided. Please note that there is no availability for May Confirmation Tours this year. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] for more details.

Global Ambassador shares faith: On Sunday, March 17, David Worthington, Global Ambassador at John Wesley’s New Room in Bristol, England, will speak at Lovely Lane UMC in Baltimore at 11 a.m. The New Room was the first structure built specifically for Methodist meetings by John Wesley. Worthington will speak about using our heritage as a means of connection and mission. All are welcome. 

Day of Well-Being: The BWC Staff Wellness Committee is sponsoring a day of well-being that will delve into various practices, from mindfulness to fitness and nutrition to financial support on March 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participating in the event will be guests from Howard County Library, Howard County General Hospital, Shift Yoga, Greek on the Street food truck, and more.

Necessary Ingredients: Training and a Retreat for Youth, Children, & Family Ministry Leaders will be held on April 5 and 6 at Westminster UMC. Leaders working in youth, children, and family ministries are invited to attend the annual training and retreat. Attendees will spend two days with other youth, children, and family ministry leaders to focus on the Necessary Ingredients for a thriving ministry. Learn from experts Chris Sasser and Chania Dillard as they teach mental health, intergenerational ministry practices, and recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers. Early bird registration is $50 through March 18th. Regular registration is $75. Register online.

The United Methodist Church, with members from across the world, will gather April 23 - May 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, for General Conference.

New Certified Lay Minister applications being accepted

Applications for the next class of Certified Lay Ministers of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, Class of 2024-2026, are being accepted. Learn more.


Prospective CLM students must be current Certified Lay Servants or Certified Lay Speakers and must consult with their pastors before beginning the process. The website contains an application and information to be shared with your pastor, along with the steps that must be taken before you can register for the first class. Registration closes July 1. The next class will start in September and is a two-year commitment. Questions can be directed to Linda Flanagan, Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries.

Note: Those interested in taking the CLM modules online through Beadisciple.com must also complete the application process before registering for the online modules, and meet the BWC requirements during the training.

Across the Connection Calendar

UMCOR Sunday

March 10

This special Sunday offering supports the United Methodist Committee on Relief by providing funds for administrative resources for disaster response.

BWC College Scholarship Application Deadline is March 13

General Conference

April 23 - May 3

Charlotte, N.C.

A global gathering of The United Methodist Church.

BWC Annual Conference Session

Wednesday - Friday, May 29 - 31

Hilton Hotel, Baltimore

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

Additional Disicpleship Opportunities

ASL Class - During the season of Lent, people in the BWC are invited to join a two-session introductory ASL class on March 4 and March 11 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register here. Contact Rev. Leo Yates with questions.

Grants available to local churches: Do you have an innovative and exciting idea for a New Faith Expression or new worship service? Do you have a plan for a new ministry that will help your congregation go to the “next level”? Are you developing a way to reach new people who are not yet a part of any church? The Baltimore-Washington Conference Congregational Development Grants, offered through the Unified Funding Task Force, can assist you with a grant to launch your new ministry initiative, congregational renewal project, leader development ministry, or to reach new people. The application period opens Feb. 15 and closes April 1. Learn more.

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award honors United Methodists in each annual conference for exceptional ministry in evangelism. The BWC recognizes one clergy, layperson, and youth at the Annual Conference session. The deadline for award nominations is April 1. Learn more and see the application forms.

Celebrate Camping Sunday: Congregations are encouraged to celebrate the Camping and Retreat Ministries of the Baltimore-Washingotn Conference on April 21 or whatever Sunday works best for their calendar. See liturgical resources for this special worship service.

See a Listing of Local Church Activities

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. This week, he explores the importance for leaders to "Test and Learn."

See church classified ads now online.

Please note:

The BWC is now accepting applications for an Administrator for the Washington East District.

The General Commission on Religion and Race, in Washington, D.C. is hiring an Associate Specialist for Communications and Marketing. Contact [email protected]

Melissa Lauber, Director of Communications
11711 East Market Place, Fulton, MD 20759
 410.309.3455  |  [email protected]
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