Annual Conference


“We are One: Beneath the Cross” is the guiding theme for the more than 1,200 members of the Baltimore-Washington Conference when they gather for their Annual Conference Session on Wednesday, May 30, through Friday, June 1, at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel

Online registration for this time of holy conferencing opens at noon Feb. 28.

This year, a Pre-Conference Briefing will be held Saturday, April 21, to allow participants the opportunity to become well-acquainted with issues coming before the May gathering. The first session will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Jackson Chapel UMC in Frederick. The second will be at St. John’s United Church, at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia, from 1:30 to 4 p.m.  The contents of both sessions will be similar. Lay and clergy members are invited to attend whichever is most convenient. No registration is required.

The Conference begins with separate clergy and laity sessions beginning in the afternoon of May 30. The presiding bishop, LaTrelle Easterling, will preach at opening worship that evening. A clergy retiree luncheon and several workshops will also be held that day.

Ordination will be held in the evening on Thursday, May 31. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Conference will preach. The Memorial Service, to honor those who have died in the previous year, will be June 1. The Rev. Craig McLaughlin, of Mt. Zion UMC in Bel Air, will preach. 

The Rev. Shively T.J. Smith, professor of the New Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary, will lead two Bible study sessions. The Rev. Barbara Lemmel will be the featured speaker at the laity session. She is the director of Tending the Fire, a consulting group that empowers wise, resilient leadership for changing times.

Throughout the conference, in a series of plenary sessions, members are expected to vote on the 2019 budget, learn about a new committee structure that will transform the BWC’s potential for equipping leaders and local churches for ministry, and consider several resolutions.

Leaders of the BWC’s delegation to General Conference are also expected to give a report on the work of the Commission on the Way Forward and the Council of Bishops, and the 2019 called session of General Conference, which will address the denomination’s stance on homosexuality.

For those who register between Feb. 28 and March 14, the early-bird cost to attend is $129; the regular registration fee, for those who register between March 15 and May 2, is $139; late registration is $189.

Those who register for meals will note that the cost of meals at the session have gone down significantly with the move back to Baltimore. Breakfast is $22, lunch is $30 and dinner is $40.

For those who wish to stay at the hotel, registration for the hotel will open Feb. 28. The price of rooms is $168 a night.