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February 5, 2024 | "Transformed Lives Transform Lives"

Prayers of the People

The Revs. Mandy Sayers and Dae Sung Park were appointed by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball to the county’s first Advisory Council to Combat Religious Intolerance. The 16-member council will combat hate around Howard County, help address social and community issues, and assist at-risk populations who are suffering from homelessness, addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, food Insecurity and poverty.

The Revs. F. Douglas Powe of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and Andreá Cummings, pastor of Zion UMC in Lexington Park, have published the book Healing Fractured Communities. Learn more.

At the end of January, it was standing room only at the Cooperative Parish Summit, where more than 150 participants learned about innovative ministry structures that connect congregations in vital, transformative ways. See the story.

Emory Beacon of Light, a ministry of Emory Fellowship UMC in Washington, is providing life-changing housing to immigrants arriving in D.C. Read how this new outreach is making a difference for the residents and all the people involved, including the Rev. LaTaska Nelson. Contribute to the BWC's ministry to assist migrants being bussed to D.C.

BWC offers grants for church development & vitality

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. 

We still want to hear from you -- Help shape the BWC's future

A survey with 11,000 responses along with several listening days have provided insights and feedback about restructuring the districts of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Among some of the ideas presented:


“Maybe a possible strategy is more creative, intentional use of the cluster model with five to seven churches developing strategic goals for impactful ministry.” … “What if districts are reimagined as missional hubs?” …. “We have to focus on getting churches out of their silos and into the community. We have to be bold enough to change.” And, throughout each of the sessions, Restructuring Task Force members heard a consistent thread calling for a deepening of relationships.


What do you think? Bring your ideas to one of the last of two at-large listening sessions from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Otterbein UMC in Hagerstown and Wednesday at St. Matthew’s UMC in Bowie. Learn more. An online listening session for youth will be held Feb. 25.


An online Town Hall to introduce scenarios created from ideas at the Listening Sessions will be held on March 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Register.

New and Featured

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

The March Next Level conversation will address trauma-informed leadership, one of the church's most vital topics today. Bishop LaTrelle Easterling will join Dr. Deborah Haskins to explore thriving in the midst of trauma. The conversation occurs on March 7, from 9:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m., online and at Westphalia UMC in Upper Marlboro, Md. Learn more and register.

Learn more about Dr. Haskins and her story.

Speaking Life, Speaking Hope: The latest issue of Bishop LaTrelle Easterling's podcast, Thursdays at the Table, features Fabian Debora, an artist who was a former troubled youth who discovered hope and redemption at Homeboy Industries. Debora joins Father Greg Boyle, the founder of this life-transforming gang intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program, in a conversation with the bishop about justice, restoration, and the power of being seen. Listen to the podcast.

An Introduction to AI in Ministry will be the topic of the Training Tuesday webinar on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Have you heard all the buzz about artificial intelligence and wondered what it is and if it should be used in the church? Have concerns about ethics and theology? Join Jason Moore for a conversation about the what, why, and how to (and not to) use artificial intelligence in ministry. This brief overview will also help you discover that many free or inexpensive tools are available to just about anyoneRegister here.

Brave Conversation Resourcers: The BWC and Pen-Del are now accepting applications for the next cohort of Brave Conversation Resourcers. Resourcers are people trained to help congregations have brave, contextual conversations that foster beloved community. Learn more and apply.

ZIM-VIM Invitation: Community UMC in Crofton has two spaces for interested people to join them on a Volunteers in Mission trip to Hanwa, Zimbabwe, in late July. The focus of the project will be the construction of a final Primary School Block that will include two more large classrooms, administrative offices, a large meeting room and several indoor toilets. Please contact Charlie Moore at 410-703-3557 as soon as possible to explore your potential interest further.

Sign Up for the BWC Advocacy & Action Newsletter: The BWC’s Advocacy & Action Newsletter is a bi-monthly email with updates regarding the Advocacy & Action ministries, including our social action teams, legislative action, events, and announcements. This is a great way for individuals to stay updated on ways to get involved in the Advocacy & Action ministries. Sign up for the newsletter.

BWARM (Baltimore-Washington Reconciling United Methodists) will meet Feb. 17 at 9:30 a.m. at Linden-Linthicum UMC in Clarksville. The program will focus on some of the effects of disaffiliation and on Lighthouse congregations. Questions may be directed to Rev. Debbie Scott.


BWC's overnight summer camp registration opened last week, and more than 500 campers signed up for a time of friends, faith, and fun. Day camp registration opens Feb. 15. Learn more about camp at West RiverLearn more about camp at Camp Manidokan.

Ministry Opportunities Calendar

Annual Conference Resolution Submissions Due

Feb. 16

Connectional Table Meeting

Feb. 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

BWC Mission Center in Fulton

Each Wednesday, at 12:01 p.m., join United Methodists across the region in prayer for the Baltimore-Washington Conference and the restructuring efforts.

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 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

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.

GBCS’s Racial-Ethnic Local Church Grant is now accepting applications. Grants are provided to assist local racial/ethnic congregations with projects and programs in leadership development, church growth and development, and pastoral salary support. The maximum programmatic grant is $15,000 and the maximum pastoral salary support grant is $12,000. All applications are due by March 1. View the application here.

The BWC’s Peace with Justice committee has scheduled Voter Registration Training webinars to help in getting as many people as possible to vote. The training is open to everyone. Register in advance for these webinars:

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.

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 how "Progress is Your Biggest Motivator."

See church classified ads now online.

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