Diversity of BWC ministries highlighted
June 3, 2016
This article was updated on June 8, 2016.
By Melissa Lauber
Raimon Jackson, chair of the Young Adult Council, leads members in song and praise.
“How great is our God?” asked Young Adult Council Chair Raimon Jackson as he sang to open the Connectional Ministries report at Annual Conference June 2.
Eleven-year-old Nora Meeks, of Silver Spring UMC, responded with her witness of traveling on her first mission trip with the BWC to Zimbabwe last summer.
On the trip, she named the stray cats at Africa University and met the orphans at Fairfield Children’s Home. There, she played with an 18-month-old baby named Rejoice.
Rejoice called her “momma.”
“Africa was a real life changing experience I’ll never forget,” said Meeks, the daughter of the Rev. Rachel Cornwell, pastor at Silver Spring UMC. “I feel like now I have seen and touched the ends of the earth that not many people have seen or experienced. … The trip to Zimbabwe is locked into my mind and will always be with me.”
This life-transformation is at the heart of United Methodist mission and ministry, said the Rev. Maidstone Mulenga, director of Connectional Ministries, in a presentation June 2.
During his presentation, Mulenga spoke on the defining missional power of United Methodists who are connected through the BWC’s 34 distinct ministry and mission teams, four campus ministries, three camping and retreat facilities, and 631 local churches.
Conference Council on Youth Ministry members present a dramatic skit during their presentation.
During the presentation, members of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry shared their new mission of SEARR – supporting, educating, advocating, resourcing and representing youth. One component of doing this is helping youth struggle with and find meaningful answers to the questions “Who am I, do I matter, and where do I belong?”
Assisting youth in alleviating the stress in their lives is an important part of their ministry. “As Christians, we must all be willing to step out of our comfort zones, take another person under our wing, and let them know that they matter in the Kingdom of God,” said one of the youth.
Another important part of Connectional Ministries, said Mulenga, is the creation of new, and the revitalization of existing, faith communities.
“We have the power to reach new people for Christ,” said the Rev. Tony Love, director of the Conference’s Vibrant Communities ministries. “We are reaching out to more people with the Gospel, with the Good News, and equipping people to love and serve God,” Love said.
Love lifted up a number of congregations doing exciting ministries, like Community with a Cause in Lexington Park, which offers worship and Bible study to the disabled in their communities and their families; Faithpoint UMC near Frederick, which has taken to the Internet and provided a worship experience to all; Asbury UMC in Washington, D.C., which has renovated its fellowship hall to better serve the community; the Table Church and InspireDC, reaching out to young adults in Washington one conversation at a time; and Eastern UMC in Baltimore, which is partnering with others in new ways to reach new people for Christ.
“As we become missional entrepreneurs, we’re envisioning what the Kingdom-future might look like,” Love said.
During the Connectional Ministries report, Logan Alley, a member of Foundry UMC who works with the homeless and is this conference’s newest Deaconess, was introduced.
Alley was commissioned as a Deaconess in May at General Conference, where she joined the order of lay women called to a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice and service.
Also introduced were newly commissioned missionaries Chuck and Aaron Vanderommers, who serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Northeastern Jurisdiction Missionary Advocate the Rev. John Calhoun.
Join in Young Adult Ministry
The Young Adults are not just knocking on doors, they’re knocking down doors for faith and justice, said Raimon Jackson during the Connectional Ministries Report. “And we’re just getting started.”
Those interested in finding out more about young adult ministry for their local church, sharing ideas, seeking funding or being in ministry with others, can contact their Young Adult Council district representative.
Raimon Jackson, Chairperson (Washington East District)
Rev. Mike Beiber (Cumberland-Hagerstown District)
Meghan Blizzard (Frederick District)
Pastor Darius K. Butler (Baltimore-Suburban District)
Rev. Angela Flanegan (Central Maryland District)
Taeron Flemming (Annapolis District)
Andrew Shropshire (Baltimore-Metropolitan District)
Cheryl Cook (Conference Representative)
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