Praying our Way Forward: Churches of the Baltimore-Washington Conference are called to participate in the "Praying Our Way Forward" initiative July 23-29. "The aim of 'Praying Our Way Forward' is to ask and listen for God's leadership at this critical time in the life of our church," said Bishop Al Gwinn, who co-chairs the initiative. Learn more.
Farewell Celebration: You are invited to celebrate the retirement of Andy Thornton, the BWC's director of Camping and Retreat Ministries Saturday, Aug. 5, beginning at 1 p.m., at West River Center, Chalk Point Road in West River. Learn more about parking, the chocolate chip cookie contest, creating a farewell video and RSVP at www.CelebrateAndyThornton.myevent.com.
United Methodist Church Handbook: The new United Methodist Church Handbook (for the 2017-2010 quadrennium) is free from United Methodist Communications. It is packed with denominational details, beliefs, history and contact information. Learn more.
There is still time to apply for admission to Wesley Theological Seminary for the 2017-2018 school year. The application deadline for master's degree programs is July 15. Students wishing to take classes online or on campus as non-degree seekers can apply up to August 15. New Testament (Gospels), Early Church History and UMC History courses are available 100 percent online. Wesley's Center for Public Theology will launch a new elective course entitled, "Church, Politics and Race in the Age of Trump," (ES-209) taught by Rev. Kristopher Norris. This is a two-hour class taught at the Wesley downtown location from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays from Oct. 5 to Nov. 16. The course meets one of the elective requirements for theCertificate in Faith and Public Life. Students interested in applying for master's degree programs or as non-degree seekers may find more information at wesleyseminary.edu or by contacting Admissions at 202-885-8659 or .
Guidance for Local Churches: The Conference Finance Office has provided guidance for local churches renewing their Maryland Non-Profit Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificates online. These renewals happen every five years. The Comptroller of Md. must receive applications by August 1, 2017. Learn more.
ROCK 2018 will be January 26-28, 2018. Registration will open on Sept 15. We are thrilled to announce that the speaker will be Bishop LaTrelle Easterling with music by Sorensen and Urban Street Level. It's gonna be awesome! VIDEO CONTEST-- Please continue your RandomActs of Christian Kindness (ROCK) and submit your videos (1-3 minutes) and/or pics of your youth group performing ROCKs. Please email to . Video and pics submission deadline is Dec. 9. Please be sure to include the name of the church, the type of Christian kindness you are performing as well as the name and contact info of your youth leader/pastor. Winners will receive five free t-shirts. ROCK EMCEES - Auditions for ROCK 2018 emcees will be on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the ROCK Team Meeting at the BWC Conference center, 11711 E. Market Place. Any youth in the BWC in grade 6-12 are welcome to audition. Please do not audition if you're unable to follow the rules for emcees. ROCK TEAM MEETINGS will be held at 10 a.m. on the following Saturdays: Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Jan. 20, Feb. 24, Mar. 24, Apr. 28, May 19, and June 23. Meetings are at the BWC Conference Center unless otherwise noted. All youth and adults of the BWC are welcome. For more info, please visit www.bwcumc.org/ROCK
September is Hunger Action Month: Make September a time for your congregation to stand together against hunger. Join with the Society of St. Andrew, a United Methodist-supported organization, to see that each person in this country has healthy, nourishing food to eat. A calendar for the month lists prayer and action for each day. Materials are free. Download the Calendar and Resources.
Hershey Park, the amusement park in Pennsylvania, is offering discounted tickets to members of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. A one-day pass is $43.95, a $15.85 savings off the gate price. Purchase tickets online, and be sure to use promo code 92117.
The BWC Retreat and Camping Ministries are sponsoring a fundraiser, Clean Closets for Campers, to help local churches raise money for camperships. Learn more.
Quality of Life Retreats is a BWC ministry that reaches out to people living with HIV/AIDS. The next retreat is scheduled for Aug. 17-20 at Camp Manidokan. The ministry's 30th anniversary celebration begins Sept. 1. Learn more in their newsletter, Celebrate Life!
Clergy in Retirement Seminar: Retirement from active ministry status raises significant thoughts and feelings, questions and challenges which are unique to our experience as clergy. The Board of Ordained Ministry has sponsored a new seminar to address these questions and challenges, "At-One-Ment: Clergy in Retirement," for clergy and spouses in any stage of the retirement process. The seminar will be Sept. 15, 2017, 9:30am-2:30pm, at the Conference Mission Center. Register online.
New Study Guide: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools, in support of the Commission on a Way Forward, have released a new study guide, "The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness." The study guide offers United Methodists an opportunity to facilitate constructive conversations around a cultural and ecclesial flashpoint-human sexuality. The concept for the study guide originates from an Academic Theological Colloquy that shares its name and was held at Candler School of Theology in March 2017. "The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness" study guide is available on Cokesbury.com and Amazon.com. Translations in French, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese will be available on the GBHEM website at the end of May. For more information on the Colloquy, visit www.gbhem.org/colloquy.
Racial justice grants: The General Commission on Religion and Race recently announced that its CORR Action Fund will be releasing the United States Program Grants for 2017-2020, with $750,000 in available funding. Applications will be accepted starting this May with a deadline of August. GCORR is seeking to fund innovative and bold initiatives that will support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity, xenophobia, and systemic equity. Learn more about the GCORR Action Fund grant.
The Foundation on Evangelism recognizes one clergy person each year as the Distinguished Evangelist of the Year for The United Methodist Church. The award comes with a grant for future ministries. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 15. Learn more and download a nominations form at FoundationforEvangelism.org.
Creating Camperships: The Baltimore-Washington Conference is seeking contributors to help create summer camping opportunities for Camp Harmison, near Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Camperships will be given to children in grades four through eight who are living in rural poverty. Conference leaders are seeking 50 churches to invest $100 in the future of the region's children. Contributions should be sent to the Conference Treasurer marked "Camping Opportunities for Children in Rural Poverty." For more information, contact the Rev. Conrad Link, superintendent of the Cumberland-Hagerstown District, at 301-739-6659, or Andy Thornton, Director of Retreat and Camping Ministries, at 800-922-6795.
Standing with the Vulnerable: In a time in which immigration reform has captured the national spotlight, United Methodists are working to fulfill the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger. See a listing of resources, compiled by the Washington Region, to assist in this ministry.
CLM Recertification: New dates and locations have been added to the Certified Lay Ministry Recertification classes for 2017. Learn more.
Registration for Exploration now open: Exploration, a biennial, three-day event for young adults, 18-26, will be held Nov. 3-5 in Portland, Ore. The event is for young adults who want to know more about what ministry is all about and explore their gifts for service as a Deacon or Elder in The United Methodist Church. It is sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). Exploration creates opportunities for young adults to be in meaningful fellowship, passionate worship, theological reflection and practical workshops as they discern whether God's call on their life is to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church and what faithful steps they can take in response. To register, or learn more about Exploration, visit ExploreCalling.org. More information about GBHEM can be found at GBHEM.org. See also Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.
Leadership Training: BWC's Vibrant Communities is alerting local church leaders to two promising learning opportunities.
- A Global Leadership Summit, sponsored by Willow Creek Community Church, will be held Aug. 10-11, and simulcast to 600 locations, including five in Maryland: Abundant Life Church in Glen Burnie, Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, First Baptist Church in Landover, Frederick Christian Fellowship in Frederick, Mountain Christian Church in Joppa. Learn more.
- Spark creativity, inspire leaders and transform your church at the Reach Summit in Grand Rapids, Mich., Oct. 20-21, with keynote speaker, the Rev. Olu Brown of Impact Church in Atlanta. Following the summit, participate in a Reach Network Group. Learn more.
Exponential Regional DC - Dream Big: Dream Big is the theme for Exponential 2017. Jesus challenged us with a big dream, and we are here because of that dream. As Christ followers and leaders of His church, Jesus is asking us to also dream big. Join hundreds of leaders for inspiration, encouragement and equipping at Exponential’s Washington DC Regional church planting conference in Chantilly, VA. Learn more.
Called to be an Earthkeeper? Is God calling you to a vocation of caring for God's creation? Would you like to be one of 500 Earthkeepers working to create a more just and sustainable world? Training classes are forming in August and October. An online brochure has details. If you are interested in learning more about the BWC cohort, contact Mike Koob at 301-367-4388.
An Academic Way Forward: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools will co-host an academic theological colloquy, "Missio Dei and the United States: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness." The colloquy, planned in support of the Commission on a Way Forward, will take place November 12-15 at the Boston School of Theology at Boston University. The board has also published a new study guide, "The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness," which is available on Amazon.com.
The Adrienne Terry Affordable Housing Fund Update: Rev. Gerry Green, superintendent of the Greater Washington District, recently issued the Affordable Housing Challenge, urging congregations to participate in an automatic monthly contribution to the Adrienne Terry Fund for Affordable Housing. Ebenezer UMC on Capitol Hill announced that 10 of their leaders (about a quarter of their worship attendance) have committed to contribute $25 per person per month for at least the next two years and they challenged other churches to make a similar commitment. Churches that want to rise to this challenge, can make their automatic monthly contribution online. Learn more.
An electronic newsletter, the e-connection, is sent out weekly. Send items for the e-Connection to Melissa Lauber.