2023 Discipleship Ministry Reports

Conference Commission on Nominations | Discipleship Council | Advocacy and Action Board | Commission on Disability Concerns | Committee on Native American Ministries (CoNAM) | Creation Care Team | Restorative Justice Team | Forum on Christian Unity and Interfaith Opportunities | Forum on Ethnic Local Church Opportunities and Concerns | Forum on Small Membership Churches | Gender Equity Team (COSROW) | Gun Violence Prevention Team | Just Neighbors | Legislative Team | Peace With Justice Team | Racial Justice Team | Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century | Health and Wealth Equity | Commission on Archives & History, BWC Historical Society, and Strawbridge Shrine Joint Report | Committee on Hispanic-Latino Ministries | Deaf Ministries | Leadership Development Board | Conference Board of Laity | Lay Servant Ministries / Certified Lay Ministry | New Faith Expressions Board | Wellness & Missions Board | Global Partnerships | Young People’s Ministry Board | Campus Ministries Task Force Report | Retreat and Camping MinistriesYoung Adult Ministry Team 

Report from the BWC's Delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conferences
Committee on the Episcopacy
Baltimore-Washington Conference United Women in Faith

Conference Commission on Nominations

The Nominations Committee has the responsibility of seeking and nurturing, committed, bold servant leaders for BWC agencies and maintaining an accurate leadership report. 

The Interest Form was developed to allow people to let the Nominations Committee know that they are interested in using their God-given gifts at the district or Annual Conference levels. The Nominations Committee uses the information provided to discern where people might best serve. You will find the Leadership Report and Interest Form on the BWC website.  

We will be making many quadrennial replacements after the General Conference in 2024. If you know of someone who is ready to serve beyond the local church (including yourself) please complete an Interest Form so that the  Nominations Committee might know of your interest.

We give thanks for all of you and your work in building the Baltimore-Washington Conference, but most of all for working on building God’s Kingdom here and now.

Submitted by:
Sarah Ford, Chair

Discipleship Council

Purpose: To (a) function, as necessary, on behalf of the Annual Conference in between sessions; (b) ensure that Conference resources align to our vision, mission, and critical issues; and (c) discern, develop, review, and evaluate the strategic direction of the Conference toward its vision and goals. The Baltimore-Washington Conference started the Discipleship Council in 2006 and it serves some of the functions that a local congreation’s church council plays.

As the outgoing chairperson, I am honored for the opportunity to share an overview of our faithful and fruitful work on behalf of the Discipleship Council. Serving among this team of dedicated servant leaders has been an immense joy and privilege. I am grateful to have served on the Discipleship Council for seven years and as its chair for the past four years. Over that time we have helped realign the conference boards, launched our antiracism work and re-rooted our focus on world-transforming discipleship.

We continued to focus our work on the mission and vision of the Annual Conference: the BWC inspires and equips local faith communities to develop disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world so that more transformed lives transform lives. Deepening discipleship is at the heart of everything we do. Our discipleship ministry boards – leader development, new faith expressions, young people’s ministry, advocacy & action and wellness & missions — all are rooted in the fact that our ministry is all about love.

During our time of reflection about ministry outcomes over the past several years, we celebrated the beneficial ways that the Discipleship Ministries Report from local churches is being used to align the work of the Discipleship boards and Annual Conference resources to support the vitality of local churches. We also acknowledged how this faithful work will continue to be nurtured going forward as we encouraged our Discipleship Agency Boards in their work to support 100% of churches becoming 100% vital. This vitality includes deepening discipleship, seeing all the people, living and loving like Jesus, and multiplying impact through Missional Action Planning.

As a part of our work to check on the alignment of ministries to our mission, we have been monitoring the data provided by churches on the Discipleship Ministries Report submitted and celebrated during church conference season.

Question #1 is designed to measure the degree to which churches are witnessing to Jesus Christ through acts of justice, compassion, devotion and worship under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This year we celebrate gains made in more fully embracing the totality of discipleship. There seems to be more consistent discipling behavior across all five aspects: witnessing, compassion, justice, worship and devotion.

We celebrate the more holistic living out of discipleship and the increased numbers and stories of transformation from people engaged in conference-wide ministries of advocacy, wellness and missions.

Question #2 asks What is the current state of the congregation’s intentional discipleship process?  The Leadership Development Board contacted each church who indicated that they could serve as an intentional discipleship process teaching congregation in 2021 and in the process provided feedback and additional training for congregations. We are able to see the ways that the faithful work of The Leadership Development Board is bearing fruit in helping congregations develop, maintain, and strengthen an intentional discipleship process.  Specifically, we celebrate that:  There are 1% more churches who are actively implementing an intentional discipleship process, 4% more churches who are now talking about developing one. While more churches are reporting not having an intentional discipleship process this year than last year, we believe that this is due to an increased awareness of what that entails.  

In reviewing the data from the Discipleship Ministries Report we noticed an interesting correlation between the strength of a congregation’s intentional discipleship and their overall vitality.  

Question #3 of the report asks congregations to select all statements which best describe the congregation’s level of vitality. There were some shifts in vitality reporting including:

  • 5% fewer churches have had a profession of faith in the past three years
  • 2% more churches are struggling to pay their bills
  • 5% fewer churches are stagnant but hopeful
  • 7% fewer churches with stagnant engagement
  • 5% more churches growing in discipleship
  • 4% more growing number of persons engaged

The work with the Congregational Vitality Pathways has been especially instrumental in helping congregations achieve 100% vitality.  Churches participating in the initiatives work from an assessment specific to their congregations and with the assistance of a guide develop goals that lead to greater vitality.  Through Congregational Vitality Pathways, the congregations can see progress and decide the next steps.  As each congregation is working with a guide, the feedback on the congregational progress is timely.  

Congregations that classify themselves as potential teaching congregations (for developing an intentional discipleship process) are significantly more vital across almost all dimensions than those that did not. 100% of the congregations who identify as potential teaching churches also say they are growing in discipleship, growing in the number of persons who are engaged and are all on a path to racial justice. None report being in decline or being stagnant. 92% aren’t struggling to pay the bills and have experienced professions of faith for the past three or more years.

Look at what happens when congregations keep the main thing the main thing!  Amidst the changing landscape of our world, communities and denomination, we are called to remain focused on bearing fruit that will last.  We achieve this through our faithful work in deepening discipleship, seeing all the people, living and loving like Jesus, and multiplying impact.

We will most certainly continue to experience the impact of Covid-19 and the process of Disaffiliation in many areas across our denomination, Annual Conference and local congregations.  In the midst of any uncertainty, angst or trepidation we feel, let us hold fast to that which is constant and ever before us - Christ’s commission to us in Matthew 28:19 to Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy SpiritAs we live into this call we are assured that Christ will be with us wherever we go

Question #4 starts with an excerpt from the United Methodist Constitution on Racial Justice in the  Book of Discipline. Then invites congregations to describe where they are with regards to racial justice. 

  • 1% fewer report that they are on a pathway to racial justice. We still celebrate the more than 80% of our congregations who are.
  • There is a slight increase in the number of pastors who preach on racial justice at least once a month
  • 1% more congregations report monthly dialogue and learning opportunities
  • 1% more congregations commit to antiracism

We celebrate the evolution of this work as we listened to leaders struggle to make this real in their contexts. Brave Conversation Resourcers stand ready to support leaders and congregations who ask for help and/or would like support.

Question #5 asks congregations to share the ways that they are creating spaces of belonging and Beloved Community through inclusion, diversity and equity.

  • 7% more congregations report being shaped by the community in all of its dimensions of diversity
  • 3% fewer congregations report including young people in ministry through providing leadership and voice
  • 6% fewer report that their church building is accessible, from entry throughout the interior spaces, to people of a variety of physical abilities. This is likely due to the difference between front door accessibility and full church accessibility.
  • We celebrate that 82% of our congregations are working with participants, members and persons who use the space to create accommodations that enable them to fully engage in the life of the congregation. That represents a more than 3% increase from last year
  • 3% more congregations with different languages and/or nations represented in their congregation are finding ways to incorporate all participants' cultures into their common, collective culture.

We celebrate the good work at many levels to grow in awareness and action to be and build beloved community, from accessibility audits to engagement that leads to more just and inclusive behavior. And we continue to prayerfully seek to mitigate the effects of Covid on children, family and youth ministry at local church and conference levels even as we celebrate gains in campus ministries. 

We thank God for the ways that the realignment of ministry is bearing fruit and for the tenacity of our churches and conference boards and agencies in the midst of significant changes in social and denominational landscapes. Our Discipleship Boards have continued to work to advance local church mission and vitality as well as create more synergy with one another. 

Finally, as our Missional Action Planning — otherwise known as MAP — builds momentum and the conference and congregations more actively seek to be good stewards of our God-given resources for the good of our communities, we anticipate more work for the BWC MROC team. The Ministry Relationship Oversight Committee of the Discipleship Council is a standing committee of the Discipleship Council whose purpose is to review, recommend and oversee the process for entities seeking to establish a ministry relationship with the BWC. This year MROC reviewed the contract with Charge Enterprises as the preferred provider for churches that want to provide electric charging stations on their church property. 

As the Greater Washington District’s Affordable Housing Committee begins to provide consultations for churches outside the district, we anticipate bringing ministry agreements to the 2024 Annual Conference regarding these consultation services and free feasibility studies from Georgetown University.

Thank you for receiving this information about our shared ministry together. We hope you see – as we do – that it’s all about love. 

Submitted by: 
Rev. Jessica Hayden, Chairperson
Christie Latona, Director of Connectional Ministries

Advocacy and Action Board

Purpose: We faithfully respond to God’s call for justice, mercy, and advocacy by collaborating with individuals and organizations to transform unjust and oppressive systems as rooted in Scripture, The Social Principles, and the Resolutions of the BWC and UMC.

2022 Goals and Impact: 

  • Integrate a new social action team focused on housing security advocacy and justice onto the A&A Board per the resolution passed at Annual Conference 2022. This has been integrated into the Wealth and Health Equity Social Action Team. 
  • Support the We Rise United goal of increasing the number of congregations on a pathway to racial justice by 60. We have strategically engaged congregations who have self-identified that they are not on a racial justice pathway via emails and opportunities for learning and growth. The impact of this work is still being determined and additional resources are being explored.
  • Conduct district meet-ups/listening sessions with BWC Young Adults with the goal of identifying the next generation of church social justice leaders and integrating them into the work of the A&A Board. 
    • In collaboration with Young People’s Ministries, these listening sessions were conducted in every district, and we have supported the work of the IDEA interns.
  • We celebrate: 
    • The way that the Immigrant Justice Social Action team – guided by the work of Hispanic-Latino ministry in partnership with Capitol Hill UMC – has responded to a national crisis. This community worked with a network of entities to provide respite (temporary housing, food, clothing, medical support, shoes, and aid) to over 1500 asylum seekers to include standing in solidarity with them as they've testified before the appropriate legislative bodies (D.C. Council and Congress re: Asylum laws)transported to the Washington, D.C. area. For more information, please see the HLM report.
    • The good work being done in and through our churches is supported by the Mission Innovation Grants. This year, we awarded $5,000 through the grant to College Park United Methodist Church for their Community Meals Workforce Development program.

2023 Goals and Progress:

  • Rooted in the General Rule of Discipleship and anchored in the four pillars of the church, this network seeks to inspire and equip local faith communities with tools for greater inclusion, diversity, equity, and antiracism in and beyond the local church community; and, to transform systems that disenfranchise, marginalize, and oppress. Through our legislative actions, we create a BWC presence on urgent policy matters at local, state, and national levels. Partner with a sociologist and a statistician to better understand and undergird congregational equity across the conference, mining the data that has already been collected from various sources, to include the annual charge conference, church conference, and statistical reports and church accessibility audits. From this data, examine, interpret, and develop an analysis to forecast actions to improve equity across the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
  • Expand resources for congregations to advance racial equity in and beyond their local context. This expansion is congregations at varying points of the journey for (a) those that have not started the work and would like assistance in beginning their journey; (b) those who have begun, but who need extra support; and (c) those who have met or exceeded their initial goals and who want to advance or are willing to serve as a resource for other congregations.
  • Through a more grassroots-organized approach with our Social Action teams, we seek to increase our network of Justice Advocates by two percent. 

Submitted by: 
Tracy L. Collins, Chairperson 
Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson, Executive Minister of Beloved Community

Commission on Disability Concerns

Purpose:  As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we advocate for and provide resources for persons with disabilities and to assist churches in removing barriers that prevent the inclusion of people with disabilities.

2022 Goals and Impact:

The Accessibility Audit form was revised to better understand which churches have created disability ministries and to assist others in creating one.  With continued support, the Commission has received requests to assist in creating Disability Ministries, ways to improve welcoming and hospitality, and reviewing accessible needs.  Goals for this year include instituting the Accessibility Audit Badge Program and promoting neighbor churches in removing some of the physical barriers.  

In addition, the Commission is encouraging churches to recruit an accessibility coordinator from within, whether paid or volunteer, to support awareness and inclusion of people with disabilities, and the disability commission provides resources for this on its conference webpage.

We continue to invite more of the local community and outside of the conference area to attend our monthly Accessibility Conversations Webinar.  

Submitted by: 
Yvonne Caughman, Chair Commission on Disability Concerns
Rev. Leo Yates, Jr., Accessibility and Inclusion Coordinator

Committee on Native American Ministries (CoNAM)

 Purpose: To promote and support Native American Ministries in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and throughout the connection.

2022 Goals and Impact:  

We sought to build awareness of and advocacy for issues affecting Native Americans. We have explored issues that currently affect Native American communities throughout the connection. We have supported policy statements issued by the Native American International Caucus. We have provided an opportunity for Native Americans to apply for financial grants provided for through Native American Ministries Sunday special offering. We have worked to promote the Native American Course of Study which provides opportunities for Native American persons to enter the ministry with the intent of serving the spiritual needs of their own Native communities.

2023 Goals and Progress: 

We will continue to advocate for policies that support Native Americans and their communities. We will continue to attempt to gain support for CoNAM at the local church level – include more people in the work we’re doing. We will continue to offer scholarship opportunities.

Submitted by:
Richard Church, Chair 
Jill Maisch, Vice Chair

Creation Care Team

Purpose: As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we mobilize and advance the care of God’s good creation in the context of environmental justice and the climate emergency.

2022 Goals and Impact:  

Our goal was to equip and support the work of various individuals, Green Teams, and organizations working to care for creation in the Baltimore-Washington Conference region.

Our impact included support of: 

  • Green Teams in local congregations; 
  • Legislative advocacy at various levels of government in coordination with various organizations; and
  • The work of our regional partners Interfaith Power and Light and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.   

2023 Goals and Progress:  We will continue advocating for policies; supporting Green Teams; encouraging more people to become Global Ministries EarthKeepers; collaborating with our regional partners Interfaith Power and Light and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake; and engaging with the National UMC Creation Justice Movement and the United Women in Faith. 

Submitted by: 
Rev. Katie Saari, Creation Care Team Chair

Restorative Justice Team

Purpose: To support, encourage, and advocate for those incarcerated, their families and those returning to our communities, and to bring healing to those hurt or harmed.

This team is comprised of a core group of people who are committed to restorative justice in and beyond the local church. Rev. Sonia King and Rev. Brian Jackson have continued to be involved as advisors and we seek God’s guidance for direction, strategy, and restructuring in this new season especially as many churches are just getting back into their sanctuaries themselves.

2022 Goals and Impact:  

  • Supporting and Encouragement. We have prayed for those incarcerated, 3-5 congregations have provided food and fresh produce to those returning to our communities and have not gained employment. A few members have been able to direct families and returning citizens to resources where they may get assistance for clothing, services, etc. and one church is supporting a family while their beloved is incarcerated.
  • Advocacy. Each year, we look at the Maryland and congressional Legislative Agenda and determine what we can work on to advocate for those incarcerated, their families and those returning to our communities.

We are thankful to do what we can where we can. Our prayer is that for each person we have reached, there will be hope for them and it will encourage them to continue to seek Christ and to restore them to Faith. 

2023 Goals and Progress: We plan to continue to grow this Ministry by recruiting additional team members, increasing the number of Restorative Justice ministries in the BWC and Pen-Del Conferences by 5% and working with other aligned ministries congruent with our Social Principles and UM Resolutions (i.e. Conference Legislative Team, United Women in Faith). We will hold at least two trainings for church pastors and laity in receiving those returning from incarceration without stigma and shame but as beloved members and expand our communications to churches in all Districts.

Submitted by:
Minister Margie Matthews, Chair

Forum on Christian Unity and Interfaith Opportunities

Purpose:  As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we promote dialogue, exploration and advocacy across our diverse Christian traditions that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21) and to engage in meaningful conversation and amplify opportunities for interfaith collaboration to meet emergent needs in our communities.

We have spent 2022 creating a plan and laying the groundwork for the launch of this annual forum.

2023 Goals and Progress: The Forum on Christian Unity and Interfaith Opportunities will be held over two sessions on April 27 and 28, 2023.

As preparation for the Forum, the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council (CMEC) has hosted prayers each day for the Week of Christian Unity focused on Isaiah 1:12-18: and the Ecumenical Leaders Gathering (ELG) has supported several actions in the MD Assembly of Delegates: Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition. The Maryland Environmental Policy Act - MEPA@50 Resolution, The MD Energy Savings Act, SB1 - Criminal Law - Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms - Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023), Firearm Safety - Storage Requirements and Youth Suicide Prevention (Jaelynn’s Law), and the Correctional Ombudsman Act. 

Submitted by:
Rev. Dell Hinton, Forum on Christian Unity and Interfaith Opportunities Convener
Rev. Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement 

Forum on Ethnic Local Church Opportunities and Concerns

Purpose: As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we identify the strengths, needs, and contributions of diverse ethnic local churches so that together we can better encourage, advocate, and provide resources to meet the emerging needs of ethnic local churches.

2022 Goals and Impact:

Two sessions were held on June 9th, 2022, with 47 participants with a focus on naming ways Ethnic Local churches are places where people have meaningful personal relationships with God and seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world; spaces that provide essential ministries to their members and their communities; they are places concerned about their future, how they will grow and thrive; they are also places that may feel disconnected from each other and benefit from learning how others practice ministry. 

Conversations included congregations that have shifted from one racial/ethnic identity to another with shifting geographies; unexpected and welcomed growth in ethnic populations from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Caribbean; common values of kinship, the affirmation that it takes a village to raise all of our children; embracing a broad spectrum of theological, social and political affiliations and traditions rooted in diverse racial and ethnic histories and liturgical traditions and yet a desire to affirm a United Methodist identity; the lament of the rise of gun violence in communities of color; challenges around caring for building and stretching muscles around technological access, and new leadership formation. As one participant shared. “We are learning to dream differently because of the pandemic, to find strength from being outside of the church and reaching out to people beyond the walls; we dream of a church, that is beyond our geographical boundaries, that we can reach many people new people and that we can also collaborate if our churches are lacking strength in an area so that we share resources across the congregation.”

 2023 Goals and Progress: As a follow-up to the 2022 Ethnic Local Church Forum, a $10,000 grant has been received from the General Board of Global Ministries to strengthen multiracial congregational leaders focused on dialogue across ethnic congregations to identify a diversity of leaders called to serve in our connectional ministries; identify emergent needs in ethnic congregations and their communities; identify what solidarity looks like in practice across ethnic local churches as they focus on Beloved Community; name socio-cultural narratives that differ across ethnic groups and seek mutual empathy and understanding as well as solutions. As we plan for the next Ethnic Local Church Forum in 2023 we will plan to implement the goals of this grant.

Submitted by:
Ophelia Brown-Carter, Convener, Ethnic Local Church Forum
Rev. Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement

Forum on Small Membership Churches

Purpose: As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we identify the strengths, needs, and opportunities for discipleship and outreach ministry that are offered by small membership congregations.

2022 Goals and Impact:

Reflecting on Ephesians 4:1-17 (The Message), “As a prison of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” the annual Forum consisted of 159 participants gathered in nine small groups on March 18, 2022, gathered to reflect on this Scripture and to consider four open-ended questions:

Supported and Valued:  How do you feel supported and valued as a clergyperson or layperson in a small congregation church? Struggles: What is the greatest struggle in the ministry of a small membership congregation? Pressing Issues: What are the most pressing issues in your congregation’s ministry? Resources: Where do they need more resources?

Responses were candid and shared with all participants with invitations for follow-up by affinity groups—participants were invited to continue the conversation with others based on an area they would like to see further growth in ministry. Several insights shared include feeling supported and valued by the connection, validated by the district and conference; they are places where outreach projects in the immediate community are prioritized; where despite financial challenges members are eager to give to outreach ministries; and they are places where leadership see the value of engaging children.

Participants also voiced areas where they felt supported and valued by the community: “We do outreach in the community every month. The people in the shelter and those we support really appreciate what we do. We collected pocketbooks. They were so very appreciated, by the women on the street”; “Our little church does outreach. Anything we think people need we do. Our communities are very poor, and some of them do not have running water. When they see our faces, it is worth it. They appreciate what we do.”; “We felt supported when a large church with an attendance of 500 members provided 20 volunteers and $1,000 a month donation for two years to help our small church set up a homeless shelter in our own church building.”; “When receiving a United Methodist grant, we worked with another small member church to receive the funds.”;  “The cluster of congregation approach is an opportunity to make all small churches more efficient. The kind of activities we combine are special seasonal worship events like Advent, Bible study, pastoral exchanges, and joint service projects like providing food to the hungry. In fact, when we could not qualify for grants as a single church, but the cluster qualified.”

Among the pressing Issues raised transitioning from online worship to in-person worship with a smaller membership to draw from; the need for technical assistance; recruiting newer and younger members; repair of challenging buildings; and an interest in centralizing outreach/mission hubs for small membership churches. 

2023 Goals and Progress: Participants continue to discern ways to focus on several common issues across small membership congregations and a second Forum on Small Membership Churches will be offered in 2023.

Submitted by:
Rev. Rick Oursler, Small Membership Church Forum Convener
Rev. Neal Christie, Staff 

Gender Equity Team (COSROW)

Purpose: As a part of the Advocacy and Action Board, we advocate for gender equity and equality across our connection and for the full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church. NOTE: This team is the conference equivalent to the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCOSROW).

2022 Goals and Impact

Our team is reforming after little activity for several years. Our primary goals are to establish regular meetings, to build a resource library for the conference website, and to restart monitoring of the annual conference. 

Our resource library is in the process of being added to the conference website, increasing the accessibility of resources. 

2023 Goals and Progress: Resource library updated, 3-5 members attending meetings, a clear specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goal. We are now awaiting the release of the Gender, Race and Ministry Study to develop our strategy from those findings. 

Submitted by: 
Cassandra Lawrence, Gender Equity Chair

Gun Violence Prevention Team

Purpose: As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we advocate for decreasing gun violence in all its forms and for helping to heal those dealing with trauma from gun violence.

2022 Goals and Impact:

We want to raise awareness within our conference of the terrible toll of gun violence in all its various forms and to think about and begin to take some action to help lessen the violence.  Support churches in taking some action to address gun violence as a public health emergency within our conference (in alignment with the resolution passed at the 2021 annual conference).

In February 2022 we sponsored two webinars, one on Safe Storage of Firearms Saves Lives, and another on How to Stop the Shooting in Our Streets and Take Back Our Neighborhoods. We believe this thoughtful conversation with diverse panels of gun owners, law enforcement, and community activists helped to transform our communities through modeling non-violent dispute resolution, promoting non-lethal means for personal defense, and encouraging truly secure and safe storage of firearms.

2023 Goals and Progress: 

  • Continue to help our churches discuss the role they can play to decrease gun violence in our conference – whether by suicide prevention, safe storage, community violence intervention and mentoring or other programs.
  • Educate and promote awareness and provide resources to help churches with their own ministry to prevent gun violence.

Submitted by:
Susan Bender, Gun Violence Prevention Team Chair

Just Neighbors 

On behalf of the board, staff, and clients of Just Neighbors, we extend our great appreciation to the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church for funding $77,000 to help our immigrant brothers and sisters in Maryland and D.C. This funding provided direct immigration legal services to 162 individuals, impacting over 300 family members. The following provides a summary of the work that was achieved because of this grant.

Immigration cases in 2022


Open Cases still pending with USICS from 2021


New cases in 2022


Calls requesting services from DC/MD


Number of Clients Served from phone intakes


Work Authorization Cases


Green Card/Family Unity Cases




Advice & Counsel/Waivers/Other Cases


As always, we measure success, not only by the number of people that we help, but through the impact it has on their lives. Our clients consistently prove that once given the opportunity to work, they are able to thrive and positively contribute to our diverse community. In a 2022 survey of former Just Neighbors clients, 86% of those who responded said that they obtained employment after receiving assistance from Just Neighbors and 100% reported becoming more self-sufficient. “My life changed. I was able to buy a car after getting my license. I qualified to rent my apartment and started working in a public school,” said one former client. Almost every client interviewed (96%) said that they are able to better participate in their community after the assistance of Just Neighbors. The following is a recent example of this:

Before coming to a Just Neighbors immigration legal clinic, Joseph had previously applied for asylum and had been denied. Along with the denial, USCIS also revoked his work permit that had been granted to him in the interim. However, as an Ethiopian living in the United States, Joseph qualified for TPS (Temporary Protected Status) because of the violence and instability in his home country.  Because he could not work, he didn’t have the means to get a lawyer and pay for the USICS filing fees. The situation got very scary when at this last ICE check-in, the ICE officer told Joseph that he had to provide proof of a TPS application, or he would have to pack his bags and meet him at the airport for deportation. Together with help of a team of volunteers and his Just Neighbor attorney, Joseph was finally able to collect all the necessary documentation and paperwork to be able to apply for TPS and be safe from deportation. As was the case with Joseph, applying for TPS can be very tedious and complicated because applicants must provide proof of continuous presence which can be difficult if they haven’t had a formal job with paystubs, a phone bill, or bank account in their name. When there is none of this “primary evidence,” the Just Neighbors team works with the client and other service providers, churches, or trusted community members (like pastors) to provide “secondary evidence” like letters of support for the case. Once Joseph’s application is approved, he will also get a work permit for the duration of his TPS status. 

The Baltimore Washington Conference continues to be our primary funding source for serving DC and Maryland families, funding approximately one full-time immigration attorney. Because of our strategic use of volunteers, we are able to leverage that funding to help even more clients. Last year, 178 volunteers gave nearly 7,500 hours of their time to the work of Just Neighbors, including time at our in-person legal clinics (3 held in DC/MD in 2022). We continue to pursue additional funding in the form of grants from state and local governments, private foundations, and individual donors to support and expand the additional capacity we have added. As is the nature of Immigration Legal Services, the demand will always outweigh our capacity to meet it, but we continue to strive to find additional funding that will enable us to help more clients throughout DC and MD.

Again, we are thankful for the commitment of the Baltimore-Washington Conference in supporting this work.

Submitted by:
Erin McKenney, Just Neighbors Executive Director

Legislative Team

Purpose: As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we turn love into policies that “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (from the United Methodist Baptismal vows) and advocate for changes in laws, systems, and structures to show our love for others.

2022 Goals and Impact:

We sought to grow the number of disciples engaged in legislative action and to amplify opportunities to advocate on timely public policies to district, state and national legislators and representatives as informed by the UM Social Principles and Resolutions. 

We celebrate the progress made in which 28 new members joined the Legislative Action Team, and 22 members signed up for Legislative Action Alerts.

  • The Legislative Team has held trainings that include “Storytelling for Change” and “Advocacy” and has met with each of the Advocacy and Action teams to determine priorities for 2022 and 2023 centered on promoting antiracist policies, including addressing restorative justice legislation; gun violence prevention legislation; equitable housing legislation; voting rights legislation; immigration reform legislation and climate justice legislation.
  • A new legislative action website has been built (https://bwcaction.org/) and is in the process of including legislative actions for both the PDC and the BWC. 
  • Three Legislative Advocacy Days have been designed and recruited in collaboration with the UWF and the PDC Methodist Action Program (MAP) for Annapolis, Dover and on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A fourth Legislative Advocacy Day will be held for the District of Columbia. 
  • Public witness events have been held: the Poor People’s March, Third Wave, immigration actions, and budget as a moral document action. 
  • Action Alerts that have been distributed include: ”Reintroduce and Passage Legislation to Establish a Truth and Healing Commission”; “Protect DACA Recipients by Passing the DREAM Act”; “Establish the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools”; “Support Gun Violence Prevention Now—Support Ethan’s Law”; “End Discriminatory Immigration Practices Title 42”; and letters to MD legislators in support of, “Jaelyn’s Law”; “The Safe Harbor and Service Law”; “Energy Savings Act”; and at the national level, “The Affordable Home Act”; “The Freedom to Vote Act”; “Removal of Title 42”. 
  • Legislative priorities for DE have also been developed. When the MD and DE Assemblies and Congress is in recess the Legislative Team prioritizes faith-based civil education in local churches on priority issues as well as meeting with legislators in each district.  

The BWC Legislative Steering Team with four members in addition to staff meets weekly and the full Legislative Team of over twenty-five members meets monthly. We encourage each church to sign up for action alerts. 

Submitted by:
Will Newton, Beth Reilly, Sherie Koob, LaTaska Nelson, Donna Hitchner (PDC), Conveners
Neal Christie and Fathima Rifkey, Staff

Peace With Justice Team

Purpose: As a part of the Advocacy and Action Board, Peace with Justice ministries works in partnership with the General Board of Church and Society to provide educational resources, build and sustain relationships, and help mobilize networks for social-justice policies and programs that seek the wholeness of shalom for all of God’s people.

2022 Goals and Impact:

Peace with Justice continues to make available to churches in the B/W Conference Peace and Justice Grants supported by the Church and Society Special offering. This year $2,000 was awarded to College Park UMC for their “Who is My Neighbor” outreach ministry across social, economic, and religious lines for the purpose of building community and taking action for peace and justice in the world. This ministry includes opportunities for both church members and non-church members to address economic injustice and to promote respect and dialogue among people, particularly around issues of racial, economic, or religious bias.

Peace with Justice sponsored a training session provided by the state election board to get members in our churches trained to register people to vote. The training was held via Zoom, and attendees participated from all over the conference. Many churches printed register-to-vote t-shirts, and held “your vote Counts” at local venues.

Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson  and I offered the prayer at the “Transformative Justice Coalition” in Washington, D.C., where the theme was the “Voting Right Acts.”  We attended in person, but the event was also in webinar form.

The team continues to support all gun control, and sex trafficking legislation. Members attended Advocacy Days and met with state senators and representatives.

2023 Goals and Progress:

We have moved full speed ahead supporting the Advocacy and Actions of the Conference. PWJ has three goals this year.  

  1. Advocating for stricter Gun Legislation (Jaelynn’s Law); 
  2. Voting Rights (John Lewis Voting Act) legislation; and  
  3. Passing of the Safe Harbor Bill. 

It has truly been exciting for the PWJ ministry of the BWC. COVID has eased us into the new normal, and with caution. On behalf of the BWC, I meet monthly with Holly Metcalf Peace with Justice Director for Church and Society and the other coordinators of the UMC. We will continue to work together and with others in our conference and community to fight Justice and inequality until there is peace for all.

Submitted by:
Rev. Dr. Diane Dixon-Proctor, Peace with Justice Coordinator

Racial Justice Team

Purpose: As a part of the Advocacy and Action Board, the Racial Justice Team operates as the conference board of Religion and Race and seeks to both inform the conference’s progress toward racial justice and to equip congregations to better engage in this vital work.

2022 Goals and Impact: 

The goal of the RJT in 2022 was to provide more resources to congregations who have committed to understanding how best they can, in their context, be sensitive to and open about racial diversity and how they, as followers of Jesus Christ, can provide a better witness to the world about the need for repentance, reconciliation and healing around racial justice.

One way in which this goal was to be achieved was the training and implementation of the Brave Conversations Resourcers Team. This team is tasked with being a resource for the congregations of the BWC and PDC as they attempt to have difficult conversations surrounding the subject of racial justice, as well as other potentially divisive topics.

As in 2021, 2022 was a year of exploration and adjustment. As more and more people were becoming comfortable with face-to-face engagement, the Brave Resourcers Team was launched. While the team had high hopes for engaging congregations who were being challenged by difficult situations, particularly as the applied to tensions around increased engagement in diverse communities, to our surprise, there was less demand for these opportunities than was anticipated.

An example of this kind of brave conversation was found at Camp Chapel UMC, which held two listening/discussion sessions in 2022 in hopes of engaging members of the congregation and the broader community in deepening their understanding of implicit bias and its effects on how various groups and individuals interact and are impacted by those biases. We have worked with approximately 15% of congregations in 2022 and anticipate engaging closer to 40% in 2023.

The team has offered occasional opportunities for public witness which included gathering a team to join in the Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly & Moral March on Washington, held in June in Washington, DC.

Another way that RJT hoped to make an impact was by advocating for the passage of several key pieces of legislation at both the state and national levels. Areas of focus include gun violence, housing equity, domestic violence, creation care, and voter suppression. All of which tend to have deeper impacts on communities of color.

2023 Goals and Progress:

In 2023, there is a renewed emphasis on both legislative advocacy and on promoting the work of the Brave Conversation Resourcers. The hope is that more congregations will, particularly in these divisive times, be willing to engage in difficult discussions about issues of race as well as other contentious subjects.

There are plans for members of the Legislative Advocacy Team to attend Maryland & District of Columbia Legislative Advocacy Days as well as National Advocacy Days, all of which are scheduled for the Spring. The team has targeted several key pieces of legislation that they hope to see passed into law in the current sessions of state, district and national governing bodies.

Submitted by: 
Rev. William Carpenter, Jr., Racial Justice Team Chair

Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century

Purpose: To transform and sustain vital Black congregations and Black pastors including those in cross-racial appointments through offering innovative resources, transformational learning models, and mentoring of young pastors.

2022 Goals and Impact:

The main goal was to re-establish this agency of resource for African American churches and pastors within the conference. 

  • A leadership team has been established.
  • A small group of clergy was convened for the purpose of identifying pastoral and congregational needs and next steps.
  • Communication was established with the SBC Chair of Peninsula-Delaware Conference for the purposes of collaboration and mutual support.
  • Connection was made with SBC’s national chair for resourcing, collaboration, and mutual support.

The re-establishment of this agency is still in the planning process. We look forward to providing relevant and effective resources and coaching for churches and pastors to enable them to have a greater impact in their communities.

2023 Goals and Progress: By the end of 2023, we anticipate sponsoring two-three clergy gatherings for support and further identification of clergy and congregational needs, making mentorship available for younger clergy, as well as a larger gathering for learning and fellowship.

Submitted by: 
Reverend Ronald E. F. Triplett, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, Chair 

Health and Wealth Equity

Purpose: As a subteam of the Advocacy and Action Board, we seek to ensure that all people have equitable resources to thrive in their lives and communities.

2022 Goals and Impact

  • To evaluate the effects of the pandemic on our communities, especially the underserved ones. 
  • To continue to create paths for equity via housing and wealth building. 
  • To work with the Racial Justice Team to ensure holistic solutions for equity take systemic injustice into consideration. 

The work of affordable housing has an impact on generations. Having a safe place to live that is affordable allows families to concentrate on life, each other and their community. It moves them from surviving to thriving, which is what God wants for us all. We have advised the Adrienne Terry Housing Task Force of the Greater Washington District to find ways to create and find affordable housing.  Additionally, we are working with local communities and nonprofit organizations to create learning opportunities for wealth creation and entrepreneurship.  

2023 Goals and Progress:

  • Expand our work with housing justice to other districts in the conference;
  • Offer more ways to learn about growing wealth even with limited income;
  • Work with the other teams to ensure affordable and inclusive programs to achieve healthy communities;
  • Create programs with youth that teach about health and wealth equity and why it’s important for all people (in collaboration with the Young People’s Ministry Board).

Submitted by: 
Rev Rochelle Andrews, Wealth Equity Team Chair

Commission on Archives & History, BWC Historical Society, and Strawbridge Shrine Joint Report

Purpose: To preserve and maintain closed church records, historical documents, and stories of the Church from the past for current and future generations.

Archives & History and the Baltimore-Washington Conference Historical Society have been increasing our impact to be felt around the Annual Conference and the denomination. We bid farewell to Sabrina Tarver, our Archives Administrator, this year, as she went back to grad school full-time. And we welcomed a former intern, Bronwyn Burke, who is currently a student at Goucher College (which was founded by Rev. Dr. John Goucher, a Methodist), as our new Administrator.

Last year we were able to share that we had made a discovery of Bishop Asbury’s last written words, untouched for more than 60 years, and unknown to our staff or volunteers. Our find was the lead story in the Baltimore Sun on Sunday, August 7, and helped bring greater attention to our amazing work.

We have a partnership with two different faculty members at Goucher College to provide interns to us for their growth and to assist us in our work. We have worked with eight interns this year.

We were also able to support the BWC IDEA interns as they learned about their Methodist history.

Our staff is unique in Methodism. No other conference has such a robust system or staff it as we do. This makes our staff highly sought-after. We have assisted the General Commission on Archives and History with research and have presented for Local Church Historian School for GCAH.

This year, we handled over 140 research requests that came in via email, phone, mail, the conference website, and even Facebook. We continue to support other ministry areas by providing research services and historical information.

We also were part of the Journal proofreading team in support of the Annual Conference Secretary and Communications.

We also provide services to local churches that are celebrating their anniversaries through resources, research, and guest speakers. Other services provided include workshops on historical preservation and document management. Please contact us for more information.

In November, the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference was held in College Park, Maryland. Our staff provided the Rev. E. Stanley Jones kneeler, the Cokesbury bell, the Otterbein paten, and a chalice from a Baltimore Mission Church for the Bishop’s consecration service.

We celebrate that the Baltimore-Washington Conference Historical Society had its first in-person Annual Meeting in 4 years! Those in attendance were treated to a tour of the renovated Lovely Lane Church and reorganized Lovely Lane Museum.


The archives have been extremely active this year. We have worked with the Conference Trustees to secure records from closed churches, processed those records, and filed them for archival storage. As part of this process, we have undergone a very long transfer of our cataloging system from a local system to a web-based system that allows us to properly catalog our holdings. More than 400 objects have been cataloged this year.

In September, a sensor in the climate control system malfunctioned after a power outage, causing a minor flood in the vault. This was fixed promptly thanks to the Trustees and staff at Lovely Lane, namely, Duncan Hodge and Ivan Reyes. Our staff cared for the cleaning of the vault and mitigated any damage. We only had one box that got wet, due to the shelving units present, and were able to care for those items appropriately.

Our collection includes a nearly complete set of Christian Advocate newspapers, spanning a period of well over 100 years. They were being stored in archival storage boxes, but the weight of the paper was crushing the boxes. The Conference Trustees provided funds to purchase Archival storage units so that we could transfer the newspapers to new metal cases for long-term preservation.


The Lovely Lane Museum’s day-to-day operations, including dusting, displays, interpretation, and content selection are cared for by staff. However, the collection itself belongs to the Baltimore-Washington Conference Historical Society. Working together, the staff and the historical society were able to procure several amazing additions to our vast collection.

Included in these acquisitions was a quilt donated by the Rodeffer family. Rev. Rodeffer passed away recently after having served as a local church pastor and District Superintendent until retirement. This quilt was done in a block style with one block representing each church in his district.

Another addition to the collection was the lantern the evangelist, Lorenzo Dow, used while riding on horseback to preach the gospel. Dow was active in Virginia and Maryland, and particularly among freed persons in Georgetown (now, Washington, D.C.)

We also procured a small table that Robert Strawbridge used to write his sermons. This table was carried from Maryland to Ohio via covered wagon and was used in the homes of his descendants there for many years. The family contacted us to ensure that it would be preserved for the future.

We have been working with Anne Mathews Younes, the granddaughter of Rev. E. Stanley Jones and the daughter of Bishop James K. Mathews, to grow our collection of the family’s papers, books, and memorabilia. These items have been processed and are available for research and reading.

The Museum has also added a new display on the Sunday School Movement and new interactive exhibits (with more planned!). If you come to visit, be sure to ask about the “fill a saddlebag” activity.


Our library on Methodist and Baltimore history has over 7,000 volumes that are in the process of being cataloged by a volunteer librarian, Carrie Harnick. Many of these are primary sources. We continue to add volumes to it, including Bishop Peggy Johnson’s newest book, revised and re-released copies of every E. Stanley Jones book, periodicals, and other items that fit our focus and needs. This library is available for research by appointment, and is not a lending library.


Our first annual Pilgrimage Week was a success last year! We had over 250 visitors spread over nine different sites. We also produced seven videos talking about Pilgrimage and several sites. By the time of Annual Conference, we will have completed our 2nd Annual Pilgrimage Week, but our first as a bus tour! The theme was social justice. Mark your calendars now for the first Saturday in May each year to explore your Methodist History as you’ve never seen it before.

As part of this experience, we also produced additional videos as we seek to cover all of our historical sites over the course of the next few years. Check them out on YouTube or the BWC website and social media. Our videos are also being featured with GCAH.

Our mini-pilgrimages (formerly called tours) are available at most of our sites on a regular basis. Those who come are always impressed by our collection and the knowledge of the guides. Archives & History can arrange this for you through any of our sites, or even help you customize your own mini-pilgrimage for any age group.


Here are highlights of the amazing work being done at a few of our historical sites:

Lovely Lane UMC (Baltimore) celebrated 250 years of active ministry in 2022 through a series of events, including a concert and confirmation rally. We were able to provide support by opening the museum for them during this historic year.

The Strawbridge Shrine (Carroll County) has a strong group of volunteers but is always looking for willing people to help with property work and administration. Rev. Lou Piel is the acting President. This year, they worked to update a site survey of the property (a very important task for historical sites to do periodically) and have moved forward with fundraising and starting the barn restoration project for their Civil War-era barn. Additionally, they have elected to move their annual meeting from October to January, to better align with the fiscal year.

Sharp Street Memorial UMC  (Baltimore) has partnered with Archives & History and Goucher College on a 3-5 year project to use student interns from an African American Religion in Baltimore course to catalog their extensive collections. This provides needed assistance in a large project and allows archival staff to better support the Sharp Street Archival Center, which houses many Washington Conference records; and researchers, to direct them to the correct location.

Mt. Zion UMC (Georgetown, Washington, DC) released a historical video and drama, along with area partners, including one of our other historical sites, The Mt. Zion/Old Methodist Burying Ground where they tell the story of blacks in Georgetown, including on the Underground Railroad.

Old Otterbein UMC (Baltimore) had a major event to honor Bishop Yeakel, our last EUB-ordained Bishop in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. As the Mother Church of the United Brethren in Christ, they seek to lift up this heritage. Additionally, while working in the gardens surrounding the church, a volunteer came upon some artifacts. Archives staff was able to stabilize the site until the Maryland Historic Trust could come to evaluate it. Later, MHT provided Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) services to examine what is below the surface. The full report should be out in the summer.

Future Plans

These are just a few highlights of the amazing work our staff and volunteers do on a regular basis. Please come visit for a mini-pilgrimage (tour), conduct research, or simply learn more about who we are and where we come from. This history is your history.

When you have major anniversaries or events, please send the archives a copy of the bulletin/program, any handouts you have, and updated church histories. We file them for archival purposes. If you think you have something we might like to have, contact us to find out.

Join us in September for a Quilt Lecture on our four Baltimore Album quilts from experts in the Baltimore Applique Society, or in May for Pilgrimage Week.

Consider volunteering in the archives or as a docent (tour guide). You are always welcome.

And, as our denomination experiences the changes from disaffiliation, we stand ready and able to support all of our churches through this process and to serve as the Mother Churches of all People Called Methodist in America.

Submitted by: Rev. Dr. Emora T. Brannan, Conference Historian; United Methodist Historical Society, President; Conference Commission on Archives and History, Chair
Rev. Bonnie McCubbin, Director of Museums & Pilgrimage/Conference Archivist

Committee on Hispanic-Latino Ministries

This committee aims to "support the development, implementation, and evaluation of a Hispanic-Latino comprehensive plan of action and the strategies for working with Hispanic-Latino persons of all generations in the community (BOD 2016, ¶655)." The goal of our comprehensive plan of action is to identify, equip, and engage leaders to build relationships and do justice with Hispanic Latinos in their community so that more first and second-generation Hispanic Latinos can love God and their neighbor.

2022 Goals and Impact

We partnered with the National Plan on Hispanic-Latino Ministries to evaluate the current strategy and contextualize the conference initiative of congregations working towards becoming 100% vital. A report is being written with suggestions on ministries with the Hispanic-Latino Community.

HLM Annual Camp: After two years of not hosting the entire weekend camp due to COVID-19, the HLM Annual Camp took place in August of 2022, and more than 150 people attended. The retreat focused on mental health struggles after the COVID-19 pandemic.

We supported The Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) gathering at Wesley Theological Seminary, where young adults were trained on “Theology and the Public Square: Responses to a World Threatened by Intermittent Pandemics.”

We partnered with Quality of Life Retreats in planning and leading HIV-AIDS retreats for Hispanic Latinos in February 2022.

Some of our work is done in conjunction with other BWC entities. In leading the BWC’s immigration work, the conference:

  • Raised more than $30,000 for meals, transportation, and overnight stay for bused migrants arriving in Washington, D.C. We collected shoes, clothing, and backpacks that helped many migrants.
  • Received a grant from UMCOR to provide long-term housing to the migrants who have decided to remain in D.C.
  • Advocated for just immigration rights against Title 42, and for DACA, and DC migration legislation with the BWC’s Legislative Action Team.
  • Celebrated the accomplishment of Jamal Oakman, who served as an intern this summer with Pastor Cassy Nuñez and the coordinator of HLM, working with the migrant community in Baltimore and D.C. His work on Title 42 was significant.
  • Provided Christmas gifts for young children in the Camino Program at the Board of Child Care. 
  • Hosted an Immigration workshop on Immigration 101 in the spring of 2022 in partnership with Just Neighbors.

2023 Goals and Progress:

  • Continue implementing the ethnic local church forum and youth retreats on Justice as Spiritual Discipline in partnership with Advocacy & Action and Young People’s Ministry (YPM).
  • Host a Border Immersion experience for 2023 focused on young people and made possible in part by a BWC YPM grant.
  • Submit the report of the work done in partnership with the National Plan on Hispanic-Latino Ministries with suggestions on ministry with the Hispanic-Latino Community community in our conference.

Submitted by:
Mayuris Pimentel, HLM Committee Chair (October 2022-Present)
Rev. Dr. Miguel Balderas, HLM Committee Chair (2020-October 2022)
Dr. Emma Arely Escobar, Coordinator of Hispanic-Latino Ministries

Deaf Ministries

Purpose: to support Deaf Ministries in its various models of inclusion throughout the BWC. The Deaf Shalom Zone, Inc seeks to empower Deaf and Deaf Blind individuals toward greater Access, Equity, Independence, Opportunity, and Unity through our C.A.R.E. model of Case Management, Advocacy, Referral and Education. 

2022 Goals and Impact:   

This past year, Deaf Ministries has:

  • Continued to support Christ Church of the Deaf and Magothy UMC of the Deaf. Magothy UMC of the Deaf participated in visioning work this past fall with a consultant to support their focus on the future as a congregation. A church assessment was completed in the spring that provided pathways to assist their church leadership with new and innovative ways for worship and discipleship. Magothy's focus continued to connect to the Deaf community in different ways, like when it adopted Deaf group homes during the holidays to provide the church's presence. Christ Church of the Deaf utilized technology to ensure Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons were reached during the season of Advent with the offering of in-person and remote services. Their church's commitment to Safe Sanctuaries was observed by offering the training for the entire congregation.
  • Coordinated the ASL / Deaf Ministries Mentorship group in which 11 individuals/churches are being mentored in Deaf culture, sign language, audism awareness, and accessibility to better prepare them for relationship building and ministry coordination with Deaf and hard of hearing people. 
  • Hosted a number of Deaf Awareness Sunday programs across the annual conference. Since audism, as well as ableism, continues to be a problem throughout many churches, a resolution was written to be submitted to General Conference 2024. 
  • Convened a virtual Deaf ministries meeting with people from Christ Church of the Deaf, Magothy UMC of the Deaf, and from interpreting ministries that brought support and encouragement to one another in their ministries.
  • The Deaf Shalom Zone:
  • Provided 1,375+ hours of case management services to Deaf persons seeking employment, housing, transportation, help with benefits, banking, utilities and other personal transactions. 
  • Advocated for full inclusion of Deaf and DeafBlind individuals in the community in several forums including, Baltimore UASI Whole Community Committee, DORS DeafBlind Workgroup and LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services). 
  • Referred individuals for Health and Mental Health services, Legal services, rental assistance, employment services, and arbitration with Landlord/Tenant Board.   
  • Partnered with Community College of Baltimore County providing service learning opportunities for over 14 students. 
  • Served 45 households, or 100 individuals provided 1752+ boxes and bags of food groceries for our food insecure neighbors, and 2400+ hot meals.  
  • Partnered with Girl Scout Troop #1680 to pack and distribute 1200+ care bags for our homeless sisters and brothers.  
  • Supported Christ Deaf Church with almost 7,000 hours of transportation, technical assistance for live stream of worship, and food and logistics for special events.  

2023 Goals and Progress:

  1. Continue advocating for the diversity and inclusion of Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons within local churches by: 
    1. Raising Deaf awareness; 
    2. Encouraging churches to establish their own accessibility coordinators from within to support the ongoing work of better inclusion; 
    3. Training new sign language interpreters to expand Deaf ministries in their own churches; and
    4. Assisting the annual conference toward its own work of diversity and inclusion.
  2. Deaf Shalom Zone seeks to:
    1. Expand the number of in-person learning opportunities to more than 50 events, including enough fundraising ($5000) to support our mission;  
    2. Provide more than 1,000 hours of case management services; and 
    3. Empower the community at Christ Deaf Church to answer Jesus' call to “feed my sheep” with FOOD DOOR, Blessing Bags for the Homeless, and Community Meal.

Submitted by: 
Rev. Dr. Leo Yates, Jr., Accessibility and Inclusivity Coordinator
Kathleen Jeffra, Deaf Shalom Zone Coordinator

Leadership Development Board

Purpose: The Leadership Development Board seeks to equip and nurture a culture of mature lay and clergy leadership who know their purpose and use their gifts to build up the body of Christ for the transformation of the world.

2022 Goals and Impact:

The goal of the Leadership Development Board for 2022 was to develop a pilot Intentional Discipleship Systems (IDS) that would identify churches with successful approaches to maturing disciples and partner them with other churches that were interested in increasing discipleship. The pilot program identified two BWC and one PDC congregations that had fruitful discipleship systems and were willing to teach others. Several congregations are interested in participating. The fact that the number of congregations considering an IDS has increased by 4% should increase the number of potential learning congregations. 

The pilot program has identified three churches that could potentially be partnered with the churches seeking to develop and implement an IDS. A small increase (1%) in the number of congregations implementing an IDS means that there is still work to do. Our goal is for the pilot and ensuing program to increase this number significantly over time.

2023 Goals and Progress:

By the end of 2023, we expect to see three pairs of teaching/learning congregations beginning the pilot IDS program.

Submitted by: 
Nona Colbert, Leadership Development Board Chair 
Jack Shitama, Director of the Center for Vital Leadership

Conference Board of Laity

The Conference Board of Laity fosters an awareness of the role of the laity locally and in the world in achieving the mission of the church in making disciples.  The BWC membership includes the Conference lay leader; Director of lay speaking ministries, scouting coordinator presidents of UWF and UMM; young adults and youth from the Young People’s Ministry Board.  In the BWC, we freely share information concerning the lay ministry throughout the United Methodist denomination.

This has been a time of great challenge and uncertainty.  The entire world has been dealing with the COVID-19 virus and we are slowly getting back to “normal”.   Many meetings are still held virtually across the Conference. We have learned new technology and ways to stay connected. While most of our traditional training has resumed, bringing the message of Jesus Christ has never stopped.

The Board continued to be accountable to the Annual Conference and is a voice for the non-clergy members in the church. The Board of Laity informs pastors and provides them with resources and means for equipping the laity to witness to the community and the world.  Because of the “slowdown” caused by the pandemic, it is a time in the life of our church that we pray we will never witness again.

Regular meetings were held virtually with the District Lay Leaders and the Director of CLMs/Lay Servant Ministry.  The group plans to have a Retreat this year and plans are to include the Pen-Del Conference Board of Laity members.  We are excited about new possibilities of continuing work with the laity of Pen-Del, BWC’s Annual Conference Affiliation.

Speakers who gave the Lay Leader address during the Plenary Session for 2022 were chosen from our CLM group.  They were Delilah Parham and Gregory Parham, members at Queens Chapel UMC in Beltsville, MD.  The Laity Session leader for the open session was David Teel, Director of Lay Services, from our Nashville, TN Board of Discipleship.

During the year, because of the impending restrictions with the pandemic, the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference Lay Leaders have participated in monthly meetings.  It continues to be a time of sharing information from each Conference and getting ideas of how we can better connect with our fellow laity.  It is very rewarding.

We look forward to another productive Annual Conference year in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

Submitted by: 
Delores Martin, Conference Lay Leader

Lay Servant Ministries / Certified Lay Ministry 

The Baltimore-Washington Conference Certified Lay Ministry Program continues to grow, with two cohorts currently preparing for this ministry. The 2021-2023 cohort, instructed by Rev. Phil Ayers, has completed their training modules and is in the process of completing other requirements toward full certification. The 2022-2024 cohort, led by Rev. Bill Brown, is midway through their training modules. Upon certification, they all will join the more than 135 active CLMs in the Conference providing a variety of ministries in our churches and communities.

CLMs provide assistance to pastors, direct programs, participate in worship leadership, and perform other tasks as part of a ministry team under the direction of a clergy person, through the core elements of Certified Lay Ministry: training, supervision, support, and accountability. Some are placed by District Superintendents in local churches in need of pulpit supply and local ministry as needed. CLMs provide their ministry as a response to God’s call and gifts. They receive no monetary compensation as CLMS, and are certified, not ordained. 

2022 goals were based on equipping CLMs to serve in many ways. One way was through the United Methodist Creation Justice course, "Loving People and Planet in the Name of God: Engaging the Local Church” which was included in coursework approved for Lay Servant credit.  Eighteen persons successfully completed this important training for the first time. Other program accomplishments included updated training of several new District Directors of Lay Servant Ministries and the first live District Directors’ retreat workshop since the pandemic. Several CLMs served on Conference boards and agencies with members of our sister Conference, Peninsula Delaware, finding ways to strengthen ministries across both Conferences. Others shared ideas and networked with CLMs across the Connection via the virtual convocation of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries.

2023 Goals and Progress:

Plans for 2023 are underway to make the CLM Retreat which has been postponed for three years a reality, to increase communication through the creation of CLM social media and virtual groups, to offer new approved advanced Lay Servant courses for all laity, and to increase awareness of the diverse ways CLMs can serve in churches and communities for pastors and others.

As always, the work of these goals continues to increase the capacity of our CLMs to use their gifts to provide congregational leadership to local churches as they make disciples in and outside the church.

Submitted by:Minister Linda D. Flanagan, BWC Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries

New Faith Expressions Board

Purpose: To equip and encourage change-makers to gather new people in new places and spaces in order to bring the Church Jesus loves closer to the people Jesus loves.

2022 Goals and Impact

At the heart of our work, particularly as it relates to people who are not yet a part of any faith community, is our desire to equip congregations to “witness to Jesus Christ in the world, which begins by “seeing all the people.” This is also the first pillar upon which our Conference vision of 100% of our churches becoming 100% vital, rests. During the Fall 2022 season of Training Tuesdays, we introduced congregations to each pillar at a deeper level. 

We’ve also been an integral part of the Congregational Vitality Pathways, providing design and support to both the Readiness Initiative and the Launch Initiative. We’ve played a key role in the work of the Affiliated Conference Missional Action Planning (MAP), as members have served on the District MAP teams in the BWC and we have resourced all the dMap Teams. In addition, we developed protocols for how we launch new churches and new faith expressions. We also celebrate the launch of the Zimbabwean Fellowship in the Washington East District.

2023 Goals and Progress:

Our Goals for this year include:

  1. Updating and clarifying the BWC policies, guidelines and categories for Mission Churches including:
    1. Congregation in Formation/New Church Start
    2. Congregation in Transformation/Redeveloping church
    3. Limited-Service Church
    4. Deaf Ministry Churches
    1. Definitions of each category:
    2. This will also include Chartering Guidelines for new church starts
  2. Develop and plan and process for current members of the UMC in the BWC who wish to remain United Methodist, if their churches disaffiliate.
  3. Develop a Planter/Innovator discernment, identification, assessment and training process

Submitted by: 
Deborah Johnson, New Faith Expressions Board ChairRev. Bill Brown, Director of Innovative Evangelism

Wellness & Missions Board

Purpose: Our purpose is to grow disciples of Jesus Christ by inspiring and equipping faith communities to foster spiritual, physical and mental health for all and to promote an understanding of the interconnectedness of all aspects of faith and health.  Further, we train and mobilize individuals and teams to respond during times of disaster and to support those in need.  

2022 Goals and Impact

As the world awaits an official announcement of the end to the pandemic, the people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference continue to be committed to ending the suffering of the people of God in the United States and around the world. In 2022, 

  • $908,682.00 were contributed to the General Board of Global Ministries. Our missionaries are #stillinmission providing valuable support to the sick and the poor around the world. Missionaries received support totaling $73,656.00. 
  • The people of the BWC also generously contributed $778,830.85 to the Advance to support the work of UMCOR Global Migration, Abundant Health, UMCOR US and International Disaster Response and Recovery, Anti-Human Trafficking, Creation Care, and other global ministries.
  • We celebrate the three Early Response Trainers in the Baltimore-Washington Conference received their certification from UMCOR. Those trainers, aided 16 individuals in acquiring their certification, or re-certification, as members of the Early Response Team. These trained individuals will receive official UMCOR badges that allow them to deploy to disaster areas when there is a call for support from neighboring Conferences. Volunteer in Missions teams completed 80 mission journeys providing the opportunity for 362 people to put their faith into action.
  • As we were unable to travel to Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico we extended our support to provide relief following identified needs and natural disasters. 
    • $24,000 to the Hanwa Primary School so that they might increase school facilities by six large classrooms and a Library/Testing Room for spiritual formation and essential education. Additionally, a team of sixteen people sponsored by Community UMC worked on the final stages of construction at Hanwa for two and half weeks in July 2022. 
    • $30,000 to the Mashambanhaka Primary School in the Murewa/UMP District of the Zimbabwe West Conference for disaster recovery of the severe storm damage to all of the Primary School buildings.
    • In the spirit of Chabadza, we allocated 2022 Zimbabwe partnership funds as follows:
    • BWC members and churches responded to the appeal to assist the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastation left on the island by Hurricane Fiona at the end of September 2022. We allocated our entire partnership budget for Bishop Lizzette Gabriel Montalvo’s office to spend as determined by the team on the ground.  

2023 Goals and Progress:

In the year ahead, the Wellness & Missions Board will continue to engage the laity and clergy across the Baltimore-Washington Conference to realize a more abundant life by providing trainings, workshops, and mission opportunities. Increasing the number of Early Response Team trainings offered across the Conference to allow more people from the Conference to provide aid to survivors following a natural or man-made disaster. Conference-led mission journeys will resume in 2023 as we begin to travel after years of separation caused by the threat of the COVID-19 virus. Efforts to increase ties and spiritual connection with our missionaries will occur this year. And, the Board endeavors to help local churches enter into Covenant relations to support the important work of missionaries around the world. Specialized training and program development will continue through the Abundant Health ministry team to ensure local church members have the resources needed to share the faith-mind-body connection with the members and the surrounding community. We will continue to partner with God as we faithfully serve the people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference in the development of disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Submitted by:
Laurie P. Tingley, Wellness & Missions Board Chair
Thea Becton, Staff

Global Partnerships 

In Ministry Together Eurasia Committee (IMTEC)

The months since last spring’s annual conference session have brought significant changes to our missional partnership in Eurasia. The sale of the Russia UMC’s Retreat and Conference center Camp Kristall (a.k.a. “Camp Veronezh”) and the proposed realignment of the Ukraine Conference to the Nordic and Baltic Central Conference, since completed, were but two harbingers of developments to come.

The invasion of Ukraine, beginning on 24 February 2022, triggered an international wave of sanctions aimed at tightening the flow of resources to Russia and a global outpouring of relief support for Ukrainians both in their country and to those fleeing as refugees. Due to previous contacts, relationships already existed between United Methodists in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and in Ukraine, with the result that funds, which could no longer be used for some planned projects, were rapidly redesignated to assist Ukrainians impacted by the war. In addition to monies from the In Mission Together - Eurasia budget, individuals also gave out of personal funds to offer aid. Conference funds were channeled through the Advance to a coordinating group in Ukraine made up of key UM leaders from that country and regional representatives of the General Board of Global Ministries. Safe shelter, food, medicine, and other necessities as well as assisting fleeing Ukrainians bound for neighboring countries were all part of the picture in the early days. Beyond the borders of Ukraine, financial assistance was offered to United Methodists in the Czech Republic, who were on the front lines of giving immediate help, along with the large Ukrainian expatriate community in that country.

While some Ukrainians have returned home and others have resettled in new countries for the indefinite future, there will be an ongoing need for material and financial assistance to Ukrainian United Methodists, both as they aid those impacted by the ongoing war in their country, and then as they begin rebuilding after the fighting ends. United Methodists in Ukraine will continue to be leaders in providing spiritual and material comfort and aid, and we look to partner with the church there in spiritual and financial support.

Meanwhile, we remain in our covenant partnership with our brothers and sisters in the Eurasia Area, despite the conflict and its serious impact on relations between our two countries. Over the past 15 years - and much longer for some local churches - the work of our conference and churches has supported:

  • Local congregations in their ministry
  • Camps for persons with disabilities, children, and families
  • Discipleship training for youth and young adults
  • Theological education and leadership training
  • Work with international students
  • Refurbishment and construction of physical facilities
  • Development of resources distinctive to the region

... and much more. The most important shared effort has been the building of relationships that endure and deepen, regardless of external circumstances, because they are grounded in Christ.

In the South Russia Conference, we continue to support the ministry to Roma children and families in the Stavropol region, as they experience God’s love through tutoring, holiday programs and practical helps to families, all in the name of Christ. We have been able to assist churches facing challenges with their access to electrical power and with obtaining needed medication. Though a planned trip to reconnect in person with our sisters and brothers there following the COVID-19 shutdowns had to be shelved due to the conflict, we have continued to work at maintaining partnership ties and remaining faithful partners with them in their work for the Lord. It is important to note that the very significant international student ministry has continued throughout this time in Russia, as well as ministry in the areas of eastern Ukraine claimed by the Russian Federation.

Another important and growing aspect of our partnership in Russia is with the United Methodist Seminary in Moscow, which continues to train pastors and leaders for service across Eurasia, both at its main campus and in satellite locations. This past year has been one of heightened stress for the Seminary on several levels, including a legal attempt by the city to challenge the school’s use of their building. We are thankful that, following two appeals to higher courts, the Seminary has prevailed by God’s grace. The development of scholarship support for students and undergirding faculty are two critical areas of the Seminary’s planting seeds for long-term success. We were very excited to welcome the Seminary’s president, Dr. Sergei Nikolaev, for a visit in the Baltimore-Washington area earlier this year.

To say that the situation for ministry in the region is fluid at this time would be an understatement. While the initial draft of this report was in preparation, the annual conferences of the Eurasia Area took formal steps to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church, a process which is to be completed by 2025. At the time of this writing, the future alignment of those conferences is unclear; and this could well affect the status of partnership ties and the use of apportioned funds for support. Similarly, the Seminary in Moscow is discerning its role as a Methodist training center for the region amid the shifting circumstances. Warm personal ties will certainly continue with our Eurasian siblings in Christ in any event, and some projects of unusual missional importance may be identified for direct aid. We are not attempting at this juncture to pre-decide any of these questions, but to respond with integrity as circumstances unfold.

Meanwhile, we also continue to develop our relationships with those in ministry in Ukraine and with Ukrainians abroad. The needs in this arena have shifted from the early days of the conflict, when direct refugee and resettlement aid was paramount, to longer-term concerns. Again, this could change depending upon events in Europe. Our stance is to listen carefully and to respond sensitively and faithfully. Politics, both secular and ecclesiastical, challenge us with new complexities. We seek your prayers as we strive to respond both nimbly and thoughtfully in Eurasia and Ukraine, with a new kind of bold carefulness.

Finally, we invite all congregations and clergy to join us in continuing to pray for a just peace and an end to the war in Ukraine. Prayer also for all who are caught up in it, even as we know the traumas left by the conflict are profound, and the scars of every kind will be lasting. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “I thank God whom I serve ... as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day” (2 Tm 1:3). Our counterparts in the region often express appreciation for their American partners, and in particular those of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. So we also give thanks to God for the witness of our United Methodist sisters and brothers throughout the countries of the region and for the opportunity to be in partnership with them for the work of God not only during this fraught time but into the future, in faith that God is already working there ahead of all of us.

Submitted by:
Charles L. Harrell, In Mission Together Eurasia Committee (IMTEC) Chair

Note: Puerto Rico and Zimbabwe are included in the Wellness & Missions Board Report

Young People’s Ministry Board

Purpose: Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we activate, connect and engage more young people as disciples of Jesus for the transformation of lives, churches and communities. 

The YPM board coordinates, oversees, supports, and contributes to the crafting of the vision of all young people’s ministry within the conference (including, but not limited to campus ministry, the work of Young Adult Council, and the work of the Campus Ministries Task Force.

2022 Goals and Impact

As our context changes rapidly, many churches continue struggling to keep up with the next generation. Like many local churches, we are in a learning and experimentation cycle required for this adaptive challenge. We have simplified and created objectives out of the goal areas set in 2018. 

  • Objective 1 - Growing Local Church Youth Engagement. We visited the national Orange Conference and have a resource team available to work with local churches to grow youth engagement.
  • Objective 2 - Expanding the Impact and Places of Campus Ministry. Please see the Campus Ministry Task Force Report for details. 
  • Objective 3 - Expanding Young People’s Engagement Beyond the Local Church. From internships, to retreats, to meet-ups, to an ever-growing database and listening sessions we are expanding engagement. We put WAVE on hold until hearing from the youth themselves on what they wanted to happen. In October, Bishop Easterling hosted a Youth listening session called Tacos, TikTok and Talk. Youth asked for a one-day fun event which is being planned for September 30, 2023.
  • Objective 4 - Developing Innovative, Discipling Leaders (Students, Young Adults  and Adults). 
    • A two-day “Spirituality of Justice” for youth ages 12-18 was offered at West River Center to explore spiritual practices and youth continue to be formed by that retreat. Several participants this year have continued to engage in immigrant outreach, community gardens, and offering pop up respite stations for the unhoused.
    • Please see the Young Adult Ministry report for more information about the IDEA interns.
  • Objective 5 - Building an Ecosystem of Innovation. Four of the original group of 10 ChangeMakers are continuing to inform the next iteration of the ChangeMakers Project and the experiment of how to best invest in young Christian innovators.
  • Objective 6 - Special Needs Ministry. The Commission on Disability has been hard at work increasing awareness, audits and accompaniment as congregations make accommodations necessary for all God’s children to experience places of belonging. They have recently added a special education educator to support this critical work. 
  • Objective 7 - Mental Health. We continue to offer Mental Health First Aid training and to point people to our YPM Wellness site for resourcing.
  • The YPM board awarded Missional Innovation grants totaling $25,000: 
    • $5,000 Four Church Collaborative with Youth (FCCY), Greater Washington District; 
    • $1,000 Glen Mar UMC, Central Maryland District; $5,000 
    • Project Syria (Help Syria Refugee) Friendship Beyond Borders Account, Baltimore Suburban District; 
    • $5,000 United Campus Ministries Civil and Human Rights Pilgrimage, Cumberland Hagerstown District;
    • $9,000 Border Immersion - A Justice Journey, Scholarship for Young Adults.

2023 Goals and Progress:

  • A two-day “Rooted, Restore, and Renew” retreat for forty Youth and Children’s Workers with participants from the Baltimore-Washington, Peninsula-Delaware, Virginia, and East Ohio Conferences attending which will be followed by a follow-up day-long retreat for Youth and Children’s Workers this fall at West River Center.
  • For the remainder of the year YPM is planning a “Step Out Event!” to explore a call to ministry for young people in collaboration with the Center for Vital Leadership this summer;
  • We are partnering with conference and national Strengthening the Black Church (SBC21) to host a Leadership in Transformation (LIT) Pop up for NEJ college students
  • Plans are underway to prepare a cohort of young adults as civic advocates and transformative agents in their churches and communities.

Submitted by:
Rev. Shemaiah Strickland, Young People’s Ministry Board Chair
Rev. Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement

Campus Ministries Task Force Report

Purpose: To ensure that the conference’s investment in Campus Ministry is maximized for developing and multiplying world-transforming disciples with college students. This includes connecting campus ministries to the Church at all levels, equipping boards of directors or local church committees who provide for planning and implementing a program of mission and ministry, and monitoring and evaluating campus ministry.  

2022 Goal and Impact: 

The goal developed in 2019 was for Campus Ministry: Over 500 college students are engaged through BWC-connected ministries on at least eight different campuses –across regions and within community colleges.

United Campus Ministries greeted 400 students with welcome bags; engaged 8 new students with conversation; led student fields trip to the Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC; offered spiritual health and wholeness/fitness events; offered four weekly Bible studies; connected 12 students with 17 members of the Frostburg UMC in a first time gathering and meal; led students to distribute food to the unhoused in low-income housing areas in Frostburg; designed a student-focused Civil and Human Rights Pilgrimage Summer 2023 and welcomed a new board chair and vice chair.

Howard University Wesley Foundation witnessed the growth in one Bible study from 8 students to more than 40 students weekly; offering Lenten and Holy Week services with the Methodist and Catholic student community; and welcomed six new board members.

American University started a seeker-friendly Food for Thought conversations over communal meals with students reaching over 20 students each week; forged new ecumenical relationships on campus and new relationships with university administration. Additionally, up to 20 more students self-organized for reflection and distribution of food to the unhoused in Washington, DC. Many of these students worship at National UMC and ask Rev. Rachel Livingston to join their conversations as a theological guide. 

The Terp HUB at University of Maryland, College Park started strong in the Spring of 2022 as seasoned student interns planned and implemented relevant ministry promoting Terp Hub internship and promoting the Terp Hub in the student center, offered a hot chocolate bar and meal on Indigenous People’s Day for students.

Gallaudet University is seeking a new chaplain to provide a United Methodist presence in the office of campus ministries, to host a religious program and/or worship for students and staff, and offer social justice initiatives of engagement.

2023 Goals and Progress: Exploration has started for student-led presence at Morgan State University Memorial Chapel and Bowie State University. We have connected with campus ministers in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference and steps to create supportive relationships between campus ministries in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. We have promoted the IDEA internship to Campus Ministries; collaborating with YPM on a fall 2023 LIT (Leadership in Transformation) with SBC21 and a fall 2023 four-day Border Immersion aimed at young adult college students.

Submitted by:
Rev. Dr. Michael Armstrong, Chair
Rev. Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement

Retreat and Camping Ministries

Purpose: We provide camp and retreat opportunities that utilize experiential learning and communal Christian living to guide individuals as they grow in love of God, self, neighbor, and nature.

2022 Goals and Impact

2022 saw a continued rebound from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Retreat and Camping Ministries.  We operated summer camp with relaxed COVID-19 precautions which allowed us to run with expanded, but still not full, capacity and a goal of serving 75% of our 2019 number of campers.  We saw a 27% increase in attendance from 2021 and reached 62% of 2019 numbers.

RCM was still significantly impacted by the pandemic.  The omicron wave of COVID-19 in the winter made parents more hesitant to send kids back to camp and severely reduced retreat usage in the spring.  Recruiting volunteers and staff was extremely challenging and led to the cancellation of several summer camp programs.  

Retreat usage recovered nicely in the fall as we returned to full capacity.  We served 95 groups in 2021 and increased to 194 groups in 2022.  This compares to 267 groups in 2019. 

RCM was blessed to receive three grants from the national UMCRM association, one for Manidokan, one for West River, and one for RCM as a whole.  The Manidokan grant project was not able to be completed due to operational changes at the site and the funds were returned.  The West River grant allowed for the purchase of two large events tents to support West River’s goal of doubling the size of the day camp program.  A successful expanded program was run for one week in 2022.  The RCM grant allowed the RCM director to attend the Lilly School of Philanthropy Fundraising School through Indiana University.  Learning from this training was used in RCM fundraising efforts like Giving Tuesday and year-end giving requests.

Recovery from the pandemic has been slower than we originally anticipated, and we are grateful for the phenomenal support of the BWC, particularly the Council on Finance and Administration and the Conference Trustees. This support has allowed to not just withstand the impacts of the pandemic, but to make strategic decisions to allow us to look beyond just recovery and to growth.

One of the reasons camp is so powerful is because of the impact communal living and learning has on individual and group development and faith formation.  This is even more important coming out of the pandemic when people experienced extended isolation in ways we had never seen before.  As summer camp and retreat usage expands RCM will be a powerful means of connection and individual exploration as we help people grow in love of God, self, neighbor, and nature.

This year:

  • Open summer camp at full capacity. Goal of 90% of 2019 registration numbers.
  • Revamp internal processes around incident reporting.
  • Implementing opportunities created through the 2022 UMCRM grants.

Submitted by:
Chris Schlieckert, Retreat and Camping Ministries Director

Young Adult Ministry Team

Purpose: The Young Adult Ministry Team serves as an expression of Young People’s Ministry in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, with a specific focus on reaching, empowering, connecting, and engaging young adults (18-35) in faithful expressions of ministry, aligned with the mission, goals, and values of the Young People’s Ministry Board.

2022 Goals and Impact:

  • The Young Adult Ministry Team continued its district-wide gatherings for young adults across the conference with “Let’s Talk About” in Annapolis, Frederick, and Cumberland-Hagerstown Districts. Young adults came together across congregations to learn each other's stories, to voice their needs in the church and community, and are now connected to one another and opportunities going forward. Also, since the Advocacy and Action chair joined us at these meetups, there was promotion for the opportunity to serve with one of the teams on that board. 28 young adults total attended.
  • An eight-week pilot cohort IDEA summer internship with seven college students provided professional, experience justice-based encounters in local churches and communities focused on inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism.

2023 Goals and Progress: 

  • Additional opportunities for “Let’s Talk About” are being explored.
  • A second cohort of IDEA summer internships is underway in the summer of 2023, which this year is offered in partnership with the Peninsula-Delaware Conference.
  • Young adults will be the focus of the Border Immersion over Indigenous People’s Day with the support of a $9,000 grant from the Young People’s Ministry Board and the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry.  
  • A new opportunity will be launching at the end of the year for developed for a cohort of Young Adults to:
    • understand and live our United Methodist foundations for social justice, 
    • start and develop one social justice project, 
    • understand how important relationship-building is to multiply impact; and 
    • practice legislative advocacy at the district/local, state, and national levels. 

Submitted by:
Rev. Michael Carrington, Chair
Rev. Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement

Report of the BWC Delegation to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences

The Baltimore-Washington Conference Delegation, elected at the May 2019 Annual Conference, has continued to serve faithfully while awaiting the “postponed” 2020 General Conference and Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference (NEJC). The Delegation now looks forward to General Conference, scheduled for April 23–May 3, 2024 in Charlotte, NC, and Jurisdictional Conference, scheduled for July 8-12, 2024, in Western, PA.

The Delegation spent much of its initial year (2019-2020) becoming familiar with the legislation being considered at General Conference. To that end, briefings were held with representatives from denominational boards and agencies; and Delegation members attended regional and national gatherings.

In 2020, in response to the 2016 NEJC “Call to Action for Racial Justice,” the Delegation submitted to the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference the “General-Jurisdictional Conference Delegation Anti-Racism Statement (2020),” declaring in part that “over the coming months, we as a delegation will work together to advance the cause of becoming a fully inclusive, anti-racist church” by examining our own “implicit biases” and “devising approaches to becoming anti-racist.”

In 2021, the Delegation submitted to Annual Conference our vision statement, “A Church that Embodies Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism (IDEA).” The Delegation also engaged in IDEA training with Dushaw Hockett, Executive Director of Safe Places for the Advancement of Community, in our journey toward becoming anti-racist in our awareness, discernment, and practice.

In 2022, the Delegation submitted to Annual Conference a resolution endorsing the Christmas Covenant. The Christmas Covenant would transform the existing Central Conferences into Regional Conferences and create a United States Regional Conference. The resolution was adopted by the Annual Conference.

Additionally, the Delegation requested that the 2022 Annual Conference suspend the rules and allow episcopal nominees from the floor in order to be able to present Baltimore-Washington Conference candidates to the called NEJC held in November 2022. The Delegation attended and participated in the NEJC, which included the election of one bishop.

During 2023-2024, the Delegation anticipates that our immediate work together will include:

  • Resuming Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Antiracism (IDEA) training. (The training had been suspended so that it could be completed as the Delegation gets closer to General Conference.) The importance of the work of ongoing racial reconciliation was made evident at the recent NEJC where the painful need for healing surfaced in response to a presentation on dismantling racism.
  • Revisiting the Delegation’s Episcopacy Nomination Recommendation Process in preparation for the 2024 NEJC. With the upcoming mandatory retirement of one of the active bishops, we expect that the NEJ will elect at least one new bishop in 2024. Therefore, the Delegation will revisit the characteristics desired in a bishop and our recommendation process.
  • Beginning the Episcopacy Nomination Recommendation Process in September 2023. In accordance with our Baltimore-Washington Conference rules, the Episcopacy Nomination Recommendation Process will begin in September 2023. A team will be selected within the Delegation to lead the recommendation process.
  • Reconfiguring our Legislative Committee Assignments due to attrition of delegates.
  • Preparing for General Conference by reviewing previously submitted and new legislation. General Boards and Agencies will have updated legislation available in early fall. At that time, we will proceed with presentations from the General Boards and Agencies.

 Finally, it continues to be a joy to serve as a Delegation. In the midst of these liminal times, we still find hope, promise, and purpose through living out our faith among the people called United Methodists. We are grateful to be part of shaping the future of our Church together.

Respectfully Submitted,
Ianther Mills (Clergy) and Cynthia Taylor (Laity)
Baltimore-Washington Conference Delegation Heads

Committee on the Episcopacy

It is my honor to lead the Episcopacy Committee for the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Our role is to provide support, counsel, and loving accountability to Bishop Easterling as she leads the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

 The experience of being part of this team provides a window to see the many responsibilities and roles that Bishop Easterling is called to fulfill.  We strive to be disciplined in being a listening presence and in having dialogue with Bishop Easterling as she discerns and fulfills her ministries.  We listen and offer feedback as Bishop Easterling shares her vision, goals, and expectation.  We consistently stress the importance of her modeling self-care and sabbath as she leads.

 Since our alignment with the Pen-Del conference, we have been meeting jointly as episcopacy committees.  Together we have been able to identify ways we can work together, such as having joint meetings, so we are not adding additional meetings to the bishop’s schedule.

 We ask you to join us in daily praying for Bishop Easterling and her family.  Along with her many duties in leading our two annual conferences, she has been elected to lead the College of Bishops.  These duties are in addition to the numerous roles she fulfills serving on the Council of Bishops task forces as well as her jurisdictional responsibilities.

 As a committee, we strive to support Bishop Easterling and her family.  Her husband, the Rev. Marion Easterling Jr., serves as pastor of Locust United Methodist Church.  We give thanks for Marion, for his ministry, and for his carrying out the additional duties of a bishop’s spouse

 Both Bishop Easterling and Rev. Marion Easterling are strong advocates for Seeds of Security.  This ministry for victims of domestic violence continues to offer vital care for those who have suffered and provides sustenance and hope for a path forward.

 We are grateful and honored to be in ministry with Bishop Easterling as the Committee on Episcopacy.

 With Thanks,
Rev. Jim Miller
Chair, Committee on Episcopacy

BWC United Women in Faith

Purpose: We are a community of women whose PURPOSE is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.

In 2022, the goals of the United Women in Faith focused on re-energizing members and encouraging new women to join and become active with our wonderful sisterhood as a place to nurture our souls, grow in our faith and make a difference in our world. 

Although COVID-19 placed many obstacles in our path-- churches closed doors to in-person meetings/activities/events and local United Women in Faith units stopped meeting, we found a way to continue communicating and interacting with one another. The rolling out of an exciting array of new initiatives and innovations of current programs and resources as we refreshed our brand message, logo, and name put us on the right track for getting outside of the box that COVID had us in for 2 years and put faith and love in action and allows us to positively impact our goals and mission of the forming of disciples outside of our churches for the transformation of lives, communities, and the world.

In 2023, along with our new name, logo, and website, we have a new Conference United Women in Faith President, who has been girded and trained by the last two presidents and is energized and ready to continue learning and growing in our purpose.

We are excited about our theme of Unity in Faith. Meeting, bonding, and working more closely with each other and getting to know each other better as God works through us, with us, and in us, using our new logo, new brand, and new name but the same purpose, mission, and goal for women, children, and youth.

We are a focused, blessed, and wonderful team of women who will stay engaged with our relationship with God and engage with our sisters to engage other sisters to join us in this wonderful ministry.

As we embark on this year and work together, we are filled with excitement to see what we will do together. We will spread the word that all women are welcome to be a United Woman in Faith—and all means all. So, invite your family, your friends, your neighbors, and the ladies at your hair salon, nail salon, and your grocery store to be a part of our love in action so that we can change the world for the better.

Kim Marie Walker
Conference United Women in Faith President