New PreConference Session to be held in May
BY MELISSA LAUBER
A number of significant changes are being planned for the 2013 Baltimore-Washington annual conference session, to be held May 29-31 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore.
Annual conference members are encouraged to mark their calendars now for an event in May designed to enhance stewardship of people’s time and provide significant opportunities for holy conferencing.
On Saturday, May 4, from 9 to 5 p.m., a PreConference Session will be held at Martin’s West in Woodlawn. An information session will be held that morning to address issues coming before the annual conference session, scheduled for May 29-31. In the afternoon, the annual laity session and the clergy executive session will be held.
Holding the annual conference laity and executive clergy sessions on May 4 will enable annual conference to be called to order at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, rather than midday. This move will address a concern raised by the laity that they are required to take too much time off of work to attend the annual conference session.
Members will register for this session when they register for annual conference. A small fee to pay for box lunches will be charged. Online registration is slated to open Feb. 13.
“Annual conference is where we come together as the Baltimore-Washington Conference. It’s a time we call the family together,” said Bishop Marcus Matthews, who will preside over the session. “We will do the work that represents the heart of our 641 churches and get our marching orders. This is time to set the vision for the life we will live out together.”
Already on this year’s annual conference agenda are the findings of the feasibility study on undertaking a conferencewide capital campaign and a report by a Council on Finance and Administration Task Force on the implications of lowering the benevolence factor, which sets local church apportionment rates, to 16 percent.
Individuals and groups wishing to submit resolutions to be considered by members of annual conference should send them to email@example.com no later than Jan. 15. The resolutions, which will be considered for non-binding concurrence or non-concurrence by the Connectional Table when it meets Feb. 6, will be printed in the Preconference Booklet.
These and other matters will be discussed in district settings in March. The conversations and questions raised in the lay and clergy district meetings will set the agenda for the morning of the PreConference Session May 4.
Another change this year involves the Memorial Service, celebrating the lives and ministries of annual conference members who have died in the past year. On the evening of May 30, a dinner for the families of those who passed away will be held before the service and Communion will be celebrated.
Another new event this year will be a special luncheon held for all clergy people serving in extension ministries, which is planned for the afternoon of Wednesday, May 29.
Ordination will be held this year at the hotel on the afternoon of Friday, May 31. Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, of the West Virginia Area will be the preacher.
Bible Study will be led by the Rev. Albert D. Mosley, president of Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Ga. A number of area choirs will provide music, including groups from Emory UMC in Washington, Damascus UMC and Epworth Chapel UMC in Baltimore. “Sowing the Seed: Be the Light,” will be the theme of the 2013 Baltimore-Washington annual conference session.
Even as planning is underway for the spring session, conference leaders are looking to the future. Tentative plans have been announced that the 2016 and 2017 annual conference will move from Baltimore and be held at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.