The 2021 Washington East (WE) District Lay Servant Academy is now open. The Academy is designed to educate and train persons interested in stretching their faith to participate more fully in all ministries of the church. Anyone may take the classes: member of a congregation, local church leader, or lay servant.
Four classes will be offered – one BASIC class and three advanced classes: Meditate like Jesus, Beloved Community , and Pray in Hebrew Part 1. All classes will be offered via Zoom meeting; therefore all participants must have access to the Internet and a computer or smartphone. You can register for the class through Arena on the Baltimore Washington Conference (BWC) website (bwcumc.org). Additional classes will be offered.
For those seeking certification as a Certified Lay Servant, you must take the Basic class and one advanced class. Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Speakers are required to take an advanced class every three years, and Certified Lay Ministers must take an advanced class every two years, to maintain their certification.
You may also attend classes at any Lay Servant Academy in the BWC or online at BeADisciple.com (https://www.beadisciple.com/). For additional information on lay servant classes, download the Lay Servant Ministries Catalog: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/lay-servant-ministries-catalog.
For questions about registration, please contact the WE District Administrator Christol Medley (e-mail: ) or call 410-309-3439. For questions about the classes, please contact WE District Lay Servant Ministries Co-Directors Delila Parham (email: ) or Gregory Parham (email: ) or call 301-218-0248.
Class Fee: $40
Human Relations Day Panel Discussion: Person representing Five (5) Churches in the Washington East District provided this hour-long session which aired for a week on our local access channel. The discussion included the role of the Church in healing our nation and creating the Beloved Community. It is a part of the Anti-Racism work of Mt. Olive and their sister Churches. Click link to view the discussion. https://vimeo.com/501548110/0d633a77eb
January 27th; 9 am- noon: "Breathe: A Clergy Care Retreat"; Led by Rev. Twanda Prioleau, this workshop will focus on statistics surrounding clergy burnout, avoiding the pitfalls that lead to burnout and finding your rhythm of rest. It is only when the soul can breathe does it open itself for healing. To register: https://arenaweb.bwcumc.org/default.aspx?page=3452&event=5908
January 28th: New People in New Places, 2 pm: a free webinar that explains what the New People New Places movement is all about and how your church can birth a new faith community. To register for the informational webinar, click the following link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SvPVVQYzQRSpn4yhk1QwFQ?mc_cid=dd0d3b6e77&mc_eid=64fece61c3
January 30th from 8:30 am- 4 pm: The BWC's Next Level Leaders Academy will host a one-day online training on leading the church through a pandemic on Jan. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be led by Rev. Olu Brown, Bob Jennings, and Dr. Don McLaughlin. For more information register https://www.bwcumc.org/event/1954899-2021-01-30-next-level-leaders-academy-leading-through-a-pandemic/
February 5-6: ROCK(ish) 2021: is a free, interactive online experience for youth scheduled for Feb 5-6. Friday night will feature an interactive time with Bishop Easterling, as well as music by Urban Street Level and the ROCK Mass Choir. Saturday's session will offer a range of virtual interactive breakout sessions. Topics will include addressing racism, human rights, mental health, life after high school, and regional breakouts. At 9 a.m. on Feb. 6, there will be a youth-leader training. To learn more: https://www.bwcumc.org/rock/. To register: https://arenaweb.bwcumc.org/default.aspx?page=3452&event=5909.
March 1st; noon: Statistical Reports due. For more information: https://www.bwcumc.org/administration/finance/statistical-reports/
March 24th: Submission deadline for the BWC awards scholarships for qualified students currently attending college, as well as high school seniors who plan to attend college in the fall of 2021. See the Grants See the Grants, Scholarships, and Awards section for more details
Re-Entering Well Resources:
The Baltimore-Washington Conference lies within three distinct local governments. Local churches are following government directives for meeting in their buildings but have also been advised by Conference leaders that congregations should meet for in-person gatherings only when it is safe to do so. Click the following link to access the BWC Re-Entering Well Guidelines: https://b65de766771c0b853a36-be165dca3b4cdda77f8dc2ad6b17900c.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/uploaded/b/0e10380576_1588949059_bwc-re-entry-overview-final-final.pdf. Additionally, a copy of the Re-Entry Decision Tree to help churches determine their readiness to reopen can be found by clicking the following link: https://b65de766771c0b853a36-be165dca3b4cdda77f8dc2ad6b17900c.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/uploaded/r/0e10406490_1589490024_re-entry-decision-tree-5-14.pdf
To assist each local church's Re-Entering Well Task Force, which every congregation has been asked to create, several tip sheets, with specific recommendations, are online to assist congregations. Click the following link to access the Task Force Tip Sheets page: https://www.bwcumc.org/article/task-force-tip-sheets/.
New People in New Places, a yearlong experience that includes live webinar training, independent team learning, and an ongoing cohort to help you set goals and provide encouragement, is launching Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. The experience will be led by Discipleship Ministries and Michael Moynagh of Fresh Expressions in the Church of England, and the Rev. Michael Beck, a United Methodist pastor leading the Fresh Expressions movement in the United States. The cost is $300 a team. To register: https://store.umcdiscipleship.org/product/new-people-new-places/?mc_cid=dd0d3b6e77&mc_eid=64fece61c3
On Thursday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m., there will be a free webinar that explains what the New People New Places movement is all about and how your can birth a new faith community. To register for the informational webinar, click the following link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SvPVVQYzQRSpn4yhk1QwFQ?mc_cid=dd0d3b6e77&mc_eid=64fece61c3
Questions? Contact the Rev. Bill Brown at , the BWC's director of New Faith Expressions.
Project Transformation, the BWC's partner that runs a summer literacy program, is opening its summer internship application process for young adults to work with children and literacy this summer in Washington and Baltimore. Young adults seeking to live in Beloved Community and share God's transformative love, should apply by Feb. 1. Young adults can apply online (https://projecttransformation.org/washington-dc/our-programs/college-internships/intern-application). If you have any questions about the internship, reach out to the Program Director, Rhea Williams. Those who apply to Project Transformation are asked to consider the thoughts of Valarie Kaur: "Revolutions do not happen only in grand moments in public view but also in small pockets of people coming together to inhabit a new way of being. We birth the beloved community by becoming the beloved community... When a critical mass of people practice together, in community and as part of movements for justice, I believe we can begin to create the world we want, here and now."
Racial Justice Resources: https://www.bwcumc.org/ministries/advocacy-action/racial-justice/
Permissions extended: The United Methodist Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of UMPH copyrighted worship materials through July 31, 2021. To learn more: https://www.umph.org/Current-News/ArtMID/471/ArticleID/52/UMPH-Extending-Permission-to-Use-Resources-for-Online-Worship-through-July-31-2021
Share your story: The BWC's Racial Justice ministry team is calling on people across the conference to shine a light on the long-standing systemic and cultural practices that oppress people. For more information and to share your story, click the following link: https://www.bwcumc.org/ministries/advocacy-action/racial-justice/racial-justice-reflections/
UM Volunteers in Mission is not cancelled; they've gone virtual (https://www.umvim.org/virtual-missions). The Wellness & Missions Board is interested in helping mission teams within local churches to create virtual mission trips. These are unique opportunities to provide support to ministry partners locally or abroad. The online sessions can be useful while we are unable to travel now and provide engagement opportunities for those no longer able to travel. For more information or support, email .
Partnerships provide discounted PPE: Building on the power of partnership, The United Methodist Church and Home Depot have teamed up to ensure churches have access to PPE to safely reopen. Learn more. In addition, On the Go Masks has been approved as a ministry partner of The United Methodist Church and will offer masks and other personal protective equipment at a substantial discount. To participate, visit https://www.gcfa.org/partners/otg-masks.
We celebrate that many BWC congregations that have committed to becoming an anti-racist church. The BWC's Discipleship Council encourages all churches to rise as they consider and sign the Commitment to Become an Anti-Racist Church by clicking the following link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/commitment-to-becoming-an-anti-racist-church?source=direct_link&. Resources will be provided to all the signatories to assist in their efforts to seek justice, do the work, and end racism. See an FAQ (https://www.bwcumc.org/article/faq-on-the-commitment-to-becoming-an-anti-racist-church/) and download a PDF of the Commitment to Become an Anti-Racist Church clicking the following link: https://b65de766771c0b853a36-be165dca3b4cdda77f8dc2ad6b17900c.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/uploaded/c/0e10565326_1592505033_commitment-to-becoming-an-anti-racist-churchfinalpdf.pdf.
Share a Ray of Hope…the Conference is asking for churches to share a sentence or two about where they have seen "Rays of Hope". In this challenging season, we could all use a little light. How is your church responding to the coronavirus? What's made you smile? What's brought you a small moment of joy? Where have you seen Rays of Hope? Click the following to Share hope. Your submission will be shared in the Monday e-connection.
Did you miss a Training Tuesday? No worries, you can find them all in one place by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzjja0KEoJl9dHRQX1e5g2rQTECnxej80
Be sure to visit the Conference website and check your email for the e-connection to remain plugged into the latest information regarding COVID-19 and various resources available to support churches during this season of ministry. If you are not receiving the e-connection, please click the following link to sign up: Sign up for the e-connection.
Want to share your virtual worship information with the Conference and/or District?
The Conference's invitation for churches to share their virtual worship information on the Conference website remains open. Click the following link to share: https://www.bwcumc.org/news-and-views/bwc-churches-worshiping-online/.
Grants, Scholarships, and Awards:
Want a more extensive look at what is available? Check out the Conference's webpage for grants and awards: https://www.bwcumc.org/resources/grants-and-awards/
College Scholarship Applications now open: The BWC awards scholarships for qualified students currently attending college, as well as high school seniors who plan to attend college in the fall of 2021. The application process is now open and closes March 24. A variety of scholarships are offered to fit the diverse needs of our students. To be considered for a scholarship, students must complete the full online application, which includes uploading their current transcripts and providing references from their pastor and another person in their church. To learn more and apply: https://www.bwcumc.org/administration/local-church-resources/scholarships/
The federal government has begun its Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP2).PPP2 is open to all churches regardless of their participation in PPP1 if they can document a 25 percent decline in "gross receipts." The application form is very similar to PPP1 and the lenders will simplify the process by using existing PPP1 documents as much as possible. In general, most churches will once again be applying for 2.5 times the 2019 average monthly payroll costs, which includes housing allowances and benefit payments made by the church. The BWC Finance Team is available to help your church through this process with personalized consultations (https://www.bwcumc.org/article/local-church-financial-relief-consultations/). A BWC video of a webinar on PPP2, held Jan. 14, provides valuable information. View a recording of the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWyX73YozoU&feature=youtu.be
We continue to encourage you, if you have not done so already, to sign up for a Church Consultation on Local Church Finances, Online Giving, Benefits, and/or Stewardship Generosity and Planned Giving. Click the following link to sign up: https://www.bwcumc.org/article/local-church-financial-relief-consultations/.
Additional Financial Resources:https://www.bwcumc.org/article/local-church-financial-relief-consultations/