Board and Committee Reports 2022
Overview of Discipleship Ministries
Leadership Development Board
New Faith Expressions Board
Action and Advocacy Board
Wellness and Missions Board
Young People’s Ministry
Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries
Commission on Archives and History, Historical Society, and Strawbridge Shrine
Board of Trustees
Board of Ordained Ministry
General/Jurisdictional Conference Delegation
We Rise United
Overview of Discipleship Ministries
As our purpose remains consistent, the strategies for achieving it continue to deepen. Our purpose (mission and vision) is to inspire and equip local faith communities to develop disciples so that more transformed lives transform lives. Since 2017, we have been working on five strategies and they are:
- Strategy 1: Reclaiming our Wesleyan discipleship even as we respond to the changing ministry and social landscape. John Wesley’s Rule of Discipleship provides a holistic understanding of discipleship: “to witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow His teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” This year we are building this definition into the understanding of an intentional discipleship pathway.
- Strategy 2: Realigning discipleship agencies (commissions, committees, boards, and councils) of the conference for greater impact and efficiency. We went from 18 agencies in 2017 to a 5-board model with subcommittees and task forces as approved by the Annual Conference in 2019. This realignment was allowed by the Book of Discipline and mirrored the four focus areas of the United Methodist Church plus Young People’s Ministry. This year, we implemented a Discipleship Ministries Report and used this data to align the work of the Discipleship boards and Annual Conference resources so that we might better live into our vision of more transformed lives transforming lives (see the Discipleship Council Report for more details). We are also restarting our chairperson training to support agency effectiveness.
- Strategy 3: Creating a conference-wide strategy for Young People’s Ministry. We met with youth, young adult, campus ministries and youth workers to determine assets, missionally aligned needs, and to set strategic goals. This year, due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on young people’s ministry, we are in the process of conducting listening sessions with young adults and we will conduct sessions for youth in the Fall.
- Strategy 4: Building and strengthening Beloved Community that includes a strategic focus on greater inclusion, diversity, equity, and antiracism (IDEA). This year, we offered the Journey to Beloved Community: Six Actions for Belonging and Becoming course to ensure leaders have common language, cultural awareness, denominational understandings and scriptural foundations for this work. We also offered a Diverse Church by Design training for congregations in Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural (CRCC) appointments as well as those seeking to become more culturally humble.
- Strategy 5: Reorganizing staff and ministry initiatives to support board action, innovation, collaboration, mission and vision. This year we increased our public focus on four major initiatives that directly support the goal of 100% of our congregations becoming 100% vital and they are: The Center for Vital Leadership, Congregational Vitality Development Pathways, We Rise United, and Strategic Missional Action Planning (sMAP) all while encouraging the development of next-level leaders.
We greatly appreciate and are thankful for the collaborative work that includes so many faithful persons across the Annual Conference to make these strategies a reality. Even though it has been less than a year since our last annual conference, much has happened from July 2021-March 2022.
Affiliation with the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference Began
On September 1, the formal affiliation began as Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling’s episcopal responsibilities expanded to include Peninsula-Delaware.
Already we are seeing collaborative ministry energy in the following ministry areas:
- Center for Vital Leadership
- Strategic Missional Action Planning
- Training Tuesdays
- BWC’s ROCK Youth Retreat and Pen-Del’s Youth Rally combined to become WAVE
Additionally, intentional conversations are being held in the areas of:
- Campus Ministries;
- Deaf Ministries;
- IDEA/Racial Justice;
- Native American Ministries;
- Retreat and Camping Ministries; and
- Strengthening the Black Church for the Twenty-First Century (SBC21).
This shared ministry is made possible as the result of many dedicated individuals. We are grateful for the progress made in this season and for the actions that are furthering the mission of the Church.
Pilot Round of Catalyst Initiative Completed
Made possible by a one-million-dollar Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant, the Catalyst Initiative is designed to give congregations tools and experiences needed to thrive into the future. This first cohort graduated with the gifts of relationship building, tools for doing ministry differently, increased confidence, teamwork and a sense of where God is calling their congregations.
These first Catalysts came from:
- Brook Hill UMC near Frederick,
- Chews Memorial UMC in Harwood,
- Colesville UMC in Colesville,
- Covenant UMC in Gaithersburg,
- Dumbarton UMC in Georgetown,
- Davidsonville UMC in Davidsonville,
- La Plata UMC in La Plata,
- Middletown UMC in Middletown
- Mt. Zion UMC in Baltimore,
- Smith Chapel in La Plata, and
- St. Matthews UMC in Turner Station.
We celebrate the work of these first Catalysts and we thank Synergists (part coach, part guide, part mentor) – Bill Brown, Brian Brown, Michelle Chaney and Kay Kotan – for their work of amplifying potential through providing input on design, feedback, encouragement and accountability.
Read an article here: https://www.bwcumc.org/news-and-views/catalyst-congregations-create-new-understandings-of-the-future/. Learn more about the Catalyst Initiative and the other congregational vitality pathways here: https://www.bwcumc.org/ministries/new-faith-expressions-newfx/congregational-development/
Strategic Missional Action Planning
Missional Action Planning (MAP) is a multi-tiered conference, district and local level initiative that is designed to enable 100 percent of our congregations to become 100 percent vital and thriving. In keeping with the Great Commandment and Great Commission, MAP is a collaborative process of discernment, prioritization and stewardship that examines how our resources can be utilized for the greatest good.
As changes happen, we know that there will be people, sometimes many in a congregation, who might leave the denomination and/or experience some other form of loss. And, we recognize that maintaining large, demanding buildings can limit our ability to be nimble or flexible in the way we’d like to do ministry. Therefore, this initiative undergirded by Isaiah 61:1-4 and Acts 2: 37-47, calls us to contextually reimagine how these sacred buildings and resources might be used now and how we might meet current and emerging community dreams in practical and transformational (not transactional) ways. It also calls us to consider how we must shift so that we don’t miss God’s calling beyond the walls of our buildings and determine who can do this work with us. To assist with these shifts, we are offering the Congregational Vitality Pathways. Learn more here: https://www.bwcumc.org/ministries/new-faith-expressions-newfx/congregational-development/
From July 1-March 1, District Missional Action Planning (dMAP) Teams were formed and equipped to begin supporting the work of the Chief Mission Strategist (the District Superintendent) in each district of the Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conferences. Local churches were asked to upload their active participants into MissionInsite by July 1 so that they and their districts have the information needed for discernment and action. Learn more about how to accomplish this here: https://www.bwcumc.org/article/step-by-step-guide-to-creating-a-comparativeinsite-report/.
By the end of 2022, we hope to be able to share this comprehensive data with you, identify areas that are ripe for planting a new ministry, and have conversations regarding the implications of it in each district’s ministry.
We Rise United Project
The Baltimore-Washington Conference seeks to end racism in all of its forms so that all might be free – liberated from oppression and inequities that prevent abundant life. Through committing to be a church that is ever-growing in its intercultural competence and embodying antiracism, this seven-year initiative launches us into a life cycle of antiracism work that both seeks to address the intent of the NEJ Call to Action and increase our capacity to build beloved community so that we can see all the people, deepen discipleship, live and love like Jesus, and multiply our impact.
Because of the cross-functional and ongoing nature of this work, we have included goals and progress updates in the Leadership section of the reports that follow.
Please make the time to read each ministry report. This is our collective, collaborative work, made possible by the stewardship of time, treasure and talent. May they demonstrate anew the power of persevering in faith, hope and love.
Bill Brown, Director of Innovative Evangelism
Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement
Cheryl Cook, Discipleship Ministries Manager
Christie Latona, Chief Program Officer and Director of Connectional Ministries
Kayla Spears, Program Coordinator
Stacey Cole Wilson, Executive Minister of Beloved Community
Leadership Development Board
The Leadership Development Board was established to equip and mature leaders and nurture a culture through which call, competency and spiritual maturity work together to develop and equip vibrant lay and clergy leadership through the Baltimore Washington Conference. The Leadership Development Board coordinates, supports and contributes to the crafting of leadership efforts within the Baltimore Washington Conference.
In 2021 we welcomed the Rev. Jack Shitama, of the Pen-Del Conference, and Hillary Golden to the Board. In 2021, the Office of Leadership and Congregational Development awarded $18,000 in Micro Grants for online worship and technology. In 2021, we redirected our focus from developing leadership training programs to partnering and supporting other agencies in their leadership development efforts. The Board promoted the Wesley Design Fellows, a 1-year cohort of college graduates 29 and under made available through a Lily Foundation grant. In 2021 the Board co-sponsored the Caring Congregation Retreat with Foundry UMC.
This year the Board has suggested selecting one or two churches that would be interested in a pilot IDP program for intentional leadership in developing discipleship pathways.
Pastor Nona Colbert
Chair, Leadership Development Board
Conference Board of Laity
The purpose of the Board of Laity is to foster 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 adult and the Conference Council on Youth Ministries. In the BWC, we freely share information concerning the lay ministry throughout the United Methodist denomination.
During the time of uncertainty and many struggles, as we dealt with the world-wide challenges of COVID-19, thanks be to God most of us made it through. On behalf of my fellow laity, we offer prayers for those who suffered. The entire world has been dealing with the COVID-19 virus and hopefully, we are slowly coming out of the “work and stay at home” mode. We have been blessed to continue our meetings virtually. We have learned new technology and ways to stay connected. Most of our traditional training was halted but bringing the message of Jesus Christ has never stopped.
The Board continues to be accountable to the Annual Conference and is a voice for the non-clergy members of the church. The Board of Laity informs pastors and provides them with resources and means for equipping laity to witness to the community and the world.
Regular meetings are held with the District Lay Leaders and the Director of CLMs/Lay Servant Ministry. We are excited for the continued work and affiliation with the laity of the Pen-Del Conference. Both Conference Lay Leaders regularly meet with the other Lay Leaders of the Northeastern Jurisdiction.
We welcomed new Co-District Lay Leaders from Baltimore Metro, Darrell Taylor and Chuck Conjar. We also applaud the many years of faithful service of Ophelia Brown-Carter.
Speakers chosen to give the Lay Leader address during the Plenary Session this time are Bonnie Marden, Chair of the NEJ Episcopacy Committee, from the New England Conference. We chose to have an intergenerational presence. Also selected to present the Laity Session is Katie Wolfinger from the East Ohio Conference, and Chris Wilterdink, from our Board of Discipleship, in Nashville, Tenn.
During the year, because of the pandemic, the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference Lay Leaders have participated in monthly meetings. It has been 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.
Delores Martin, Conference Lay Leader
Certified Lay Ministry Program
The Baltimore-Washington Conference currently has more than 130 Certified Lay Ministers actively serving in our churches and communities, one of the largest groups in the nation. These CLMs serve in diverse ministries including food truck gatherings, addiction center fellowship, feeding and shelter programs, and social justice events, as well as local church support and service to the pastors. Some are assigned by district superintendents to serve as pulpit supply and in local church ministry.
In 2021, the program continued to grow as two cohorts of CLM students completed training via virtual training modules to move forward on their way to full certification.
Program goals in 2021 included working with the Conference and Discipleship Ministries to offer a CLM specialization track for Lay Church Planters, providing preaching assistance for Laity Sunday services where needed, and planning a retreat for area CLMs to network, study and grow in their ministry. The Fresh Expressions Lay Planter training included 20 participants, four of them CLMS who chose to complete requirements for the CLM specialization. Plans for a CLM retreat are still in progress as pandemic restrictions ease.
In 2022, plans include training sessions for new District Directors of Lay Servant Ministries, opportunities for BWC CLMs to serve with Peninsula-Delaware CLMs on common projects, continued virtual cohort trainings, as well as the retreat. The work of these goals increases 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.
Minister Linda Flanagan
Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries
New Faith Expressions Board
The ministry of the New Faith Expressions Board is 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.
This has been a productive conference year for the New Expressions Board. In July of 2021, we celebrated the launch of two new initiatives that will provide their communities a fresh expression of the church. On the Annapolis District, we celebrated the birth of the Gathering faith community. This is a vital merger of three congregations: Delmont, Severn, and Wesley Grove UMCs, which has created a new faith expression based on the missional model of ministry. The people of these congregations came together with a common goal of bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to their children and grandchildren, along with a deep desire to serve their neighbors. On the Washington East District, we celebrated the opening of the Solomon Mission Center, which was launched following the closing of the Solomons UMC. This center serves the local community through their food pantry and weekend meal program for schoolchildren. As it moves forward, new faith expressions will be launched over the next few years.
The New Faith Expressions Board has been instrumental in resourcing two major initiatives of the Annual Conference, the Missional Action Planning (MAP) and the 100% of our Congregations at 100% Vitality. In terms of the MAP process, a member of the newFX Board participates on a District MAP team providing their insight and expertise as we explore areas of our Annual Conference where we might plant new faith expressions.
As we look toward 100%@100%, three Congregational Vitality Pathways have been developed to add to our Catalyst Initiative. They will launch in May 2022. The three new pathways are:
- The Launch Initiative, which will train currently vital and thriving congregations to start new expressions of church in their communities.
- The Readiness Imitative, which will guide congregations to build upon the strengths identified in their Readiness 360 report with the goal of preparing them for the Catalyst Initiative.
- The Legacy Church Conversation Initiative, which is designed for those churches at the crossroads who need to have the challenging conversations about their future and the legacy they wish to leave.
We are grateful for the willingness of our board members to roll up their sleeves to get to work and especially for Lauren Harris, the Coordinator of Congregational Development for her hard work and support.
Rev. Bill Brown, Director of Innovative Evangelism
Deborah Johnson, Chair of New Faith Expressions Board
Action and Advocacy Board
We seek to inspire and equip local faith communities to develop disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world through partnering with communities, advocating 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.
Our 2022 goals included:
- Creating an educational devotion/guide for congregations seeking to practice the work of justice, mercy, and advocacy. Progress: Providing congregations with Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Antiracism (IDEA) tools and providing modules for understanding justice as a spiritual discipline.
- Building congregational capacity and mobilization through 1:1 congregational consultations. Progress includes:
- Our social action teams reorganization,
- Through our Legislative Action Team:
- Sponsoring community organizing training,
- Conducting listening sessions with eight United Methodist advocacy groups in Washington, Maryland and West Virginia
- Developing a robust opt-in process for Action Alerts
- Training for 16 persons in legislative advocacy and
- Identifying four legislative priorities via the Racial Justice Team:
- MD Environmental Human Rights Amendment
- Gun violence prevention and ghost guns
- Affordable housing/housing security
- Voter suppression laws
- Supporting a new interactive Legislative Action webpage to activate UM in the 600+ congregations in the BWC in this work.
- Through our Racial Justice Team (CCORR):
- Sponsoring Equity 2.0 and Mapping a Path to Racial Justice, impacting more than 128 congregations/people and trained congregations to host contextual suppers.
- Sponsoring A Diverse Church by Design training with Dr. HiRho Park for congregations in Cross-Cultural/Cross-Racial settings;
- Co-owning our conference-wide We Rise United commitment to Embodying Anti-Racism (593 disciples and 203 churches have officially made the pledge)
- Through our Peace with Justice Team, BWC church and community equity grants were created for people disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 ($36,000 was distributed to congregations in seven of the eight districts);
Our end-of-year goals include faithfully responding 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. We will:
- Explore including a focus on housing security advocacy and justice onto the Action and Advocacy Board.
- Ensure that Discipleship Council Dashboard goals related to Advocacy & Action are met (re: 60 new congregations on a pathway to racial justice and more congregations participating in justice as a spiritual discipline).
- Conduct district meet-ups/listening sessions with BWC young adults with a goal of identifying the next generation of church social justice leaders and integrating them into the work of the A&A Board.
Tracy L. Collins, Chairperson
Rev. Stacey Cole Wilson, Executive Minister of Beloved Community
Deaf Ministries and Accessibility Ministries
During this past year, Deaf Ministries has experienced transitions that continue to support the overall leadership within these areas of ministry. The two Deaf congregations, Christ Church of the Deaf and Magothy Deaf Church, continue to flourish in their distinct ways. While worship is a primary focus of the churches (both are back in-person), following these closely is Christian education. Outreach ministries remain an important service of these congregations as well. For instance, Magothy is in a collaborative partnership with a residential group home of Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in Anne Arundel County.
Additional work includes re-organizing the Deaf Shalom Zone to better align with the missional needs of the Church and wider community. And reimaging campus ministry at Gallaudet University.
As for accessibility ministries, the Commission on Disability Concerns of the BWC has taken the lead to better support churches and ministries with its Accessibility Audit training and its monthly Accessibility Conversations webinar. An innovative “Next Steps” pilot program (a group mentorship program) started in the spring that has participants from the virtual Lenten Sign Language Class. The program offers 3 pathways toward strengthening or implementing Deaf ministries that involve 14 individuals / churches.
Rev. Leo Yates, Jr., Accessibility and Inclusion Coordinator
Gun Violence Prevention Team
The Gun Violence Prevention Team advocates for decreasing gun violence in all its forms and for helping to heal those dealing with trauma from gun violence.
Our goals involved wanting 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. We passed a resolution at the 2021 annual conference declaring gun violence to be a public health emergency within our conference and urging each church to take some action in this area.
The discussion at annual conference in October raised awareness of the issue and in February 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 gunowners, law enforcement, and community activists will help to transform our communities.
Our goals for 2022 are to 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. We will continue to educate and promote awareness and provide resources to help churches with their own ministry to prevent gun violence.
Susan Bender, Chairperson
Restorative Justice Team
The mission of the Restorative Justice Team is to support, encourage and advocate for those incarcerated and their families as well as those returning to our communities and to bring healing to all those hurt or harmed.
Our goals are three-fold:
- Continue to support those incarcerated, their families and those returning to our communities. More than anything we have prayed for those incarcerated. We have not been allowed in the prisons due to COVID-19. We have also provided hotel stays for those returning to our communities with no place to stay. We have also provided food and fresh produce to those returning to our communities and have not gained employment. Another church supports a family whose family member is incarcerated.
- Reorganize. We have had a core group of people that have participated on this team. Because of various circumstances and demands, some have served and moved on. A small group has stayed. We are grateful for all whom have participated on this team and for their gifts. Since 2010, Rev. Dr. Brain Jackson and I have chaired this team. It is our desire to become advisory members and Margie Wise Matthews has agreed to become the chair. Margie is a returning citizen and looks forward to chairing this team. She will bring a different perspective and move us forward.
- Advocate. Each year we look at the legislative agenda and see what we can work on to advocate for those incarcerated, their families and those returning to our communities.
In the coming year, we will continue to reorganize, recruit and train churches in receiving those returning from incarceration, without stigma and shame, but as beloved members.
Rev. Sonia L. King & Rev. Brian Jackson, Co-Chairs
Wellness and Missions Board
The Wellness and Missions Board fulfills its mission to equip disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This is accomplished through disaster response, short mission trips, mission itineracy, and abundant health areas of ministry.
While our doors remained closed due to the pandemic, our hearts and minds remained open to find new ways to put our faith in action. Our disaster response teams did not deploy. With your help, 1,840 UMCOR kits were collected with an estimated value of $36,679. Volunteer in Mission teams were asked not to travel so we supported global mission through the support of missionaries still serving locally and abroad. Teaching the young, feeding the sick, and serving the poor continued. The Abundant Health team worked with partners across the state to provide specialized training for marginalized groups and some of the most vulnerable of God’s children. Topics included self-care, trauma informed care, grief, mental health, and faith. Through God’s leading, we welcomed the Rev. Malcolm Frazier to the Board. His work with older adults has been a tremendous asset.
In 2021, 212 BWC churches made contributions totaling $700,352 to support the work of the General Board of Global Ministries. Contributions in the amount of $105,224 were contributed through the Advance to support 18 missionaries serving around the globe. The people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference also contributed more than $524,420 for UMCOR Global Migration, Abundant Health, UMCOR US and International Disaster Response and Recovery, Anti-Human Trafficking, Creation Care and many other global ministries.
In the year ahead, the Wellness and 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. The Disaster Ministry hopes to resume Early Response certification training. There will be an asserted effort to modernize our equipment, protect houses of worship and prioritize preparedness. The Board looks forward to continuing relationships with Heal the Sick (DC), and the University of Maryland Medical Center. A new partnership with Asbury Methodist Village will continue to be developed through the Older Adults Ministry. While the future is uncertain in many areas as we continue to live through a pandemic, ministries of compassion, mercy and justice will continue.
Rev. Laurie Pierce Tingley, Wellness and Missions Board Chair
Quality Of Life Retreats
Quality of Life Retreats is an all-volunteer ministry in its 33rd year of providing spiritual and informational retreats for people living with HIV in the Baltimore-Washington area.
Our goals for the balance of 2021 included community outreach events, hosting two additional virtual retreats (including one all-Spanish retreat), and one hybrid in-person/virtual retreat in December. Progress toward those goals include the following:
- July 2021: Virtual Retreat entitled “Finding Balance in the Post-COVID World.” Guest speakers included Alfredo Santiago, MSW, LCSW-C, presenting on mental health and Terry Conroy, a registered yoga therapist, guiding a 30-minute chair yoga sessions.
- August 2021: Virtual retreat with 2021 HIV Medication updates featuring pharmacist, Mark Schwarmer of Walgreens in Hagerstown, and a chair yoga session with Terry Conroy.
- October 2021: Our first all-Spanish virtual retreat entitled “Orgullo de Vivir con VIH” (Living with Pride and HIV) in the Latinx Culture of 2021. We welcomed guest speakers Alfredo Santiago, MSW, LCSW-C and the Rev Rosanna C. Panizo-Valladares for this, our seventh in a series of online soul-filled educational Zoom retreats in 2021.
- Plans were well underway for a December in-person retreat at the Washington Retreat House in Washington, D.C., when factors related to the ongoing pandemic led to a Board decision that an In-person Retreat was not yet safe for the immune-compromised community we serve. The emergence of the Omicron variant throughout December 2021 affirmed the soundness of this decision.
- Gay pride outreach events in both Frederick and Hagerstown were cancelled this fall. Two board members were able to volunteer at the 30th Annual Maryland Swim for Life event hosted by DC Aquatics Club on Sept. 11, 2021.
Impact of this retreat ministry:
- Quality of Life Retreats reached a total of 36 participants who engaged with more than 25 volunteers via three virtual retreats between July and December 2021. Interest in our retreat ministry remains strong and important in the lives of people living with HIV in this time of pandemic.
- QLR entered into a new and valued relationship with members of the Hispanic-Latinx VIH community through partnering with Emma Escobar; Rev. Edgardo Rivera; Eliezer Valentín-Castañón, Angel Ortiz, Sabrina McCray, and Alfredo Santiago.
Goals for 2022:
- Continue to monitor the pandemic with a focus on preferencing the safety and health of immune-compromised people served by this retreat ministry.
- Develop plans for four virtual, in-person, and/or hybrid retreats as informed by a risk-assessment of the pandemic throughout 2022.
- Grow our relationship with the Hispanic-Latinx VIH community and expand opportunities for ongoing collaboration on retreats and community-based programming.
- Continue to explore avenues of funding while increasing outreach to BWC churches, groups, and communities that may support this ministry through volunteers, donations, etc.
Raymond Shattuck, Chair of the Board of Directors, Quality of Life Retreats
Young People’s Ministry Board
The Young People’s Ministry Board seeks to activate, connect, and engage more young people as disciples of Jesus for the transformation of lives, churches, and communities in four ways: activating their call and leadership potential; connecting people and ministries and focusing on maintaining healthy connections; engaging young people inside and outside the church as partners and agents of mission and ministry; valuing do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
Our goals included:
- 122 groups/individuals registered for WAVE, in a new partnership with Pen-Del and the BWC. The event included several breakout sessions, including one led by Discipleship Ministries staff and Camp and Retreat staff on “Making a World of Difference” based on the UMC Social Principles.
- Exceeded our goal of identifying 100 young adults to create cohorts with Ministry Incubators; 350 potential young adults have been identified to participate in leadership cohorts.
- Six “Let’s Talk About___” events have happened in the Washington East District, Greater Washington District, Annapolis District, Hagerstown-Cumberland District, Baltimore Metro and Baltimore Suburban Districts with 64 young adults attending. Two more will be held in Frederick District and Baltimore Metro. Our goal is at least 100 young adults.
- A college registry has been created with the names of 270 students from local churches identified in colleges and universities within the BWC and an exploration of interest from students in creating spaces for student-led ministry together is being untaken. This will expand Campus Ministry connections in at least five locations in partnership with area congregations.
- A “Spirituality of Justice '' civic engagement retreat was held at West River for 18 youth representing eight congregations to support projects identified by youth. A second retreat experience for young adults will be offered and leadership development opportunities for youth leaders will be offered by the districts.
- A new IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Antiracism) summer internship will be held June 6-July 15, 2022. The internship will be offered in person rather than virtually as the board had planned.
- Continue partnership with the Wellness and Missions Board to provide resources to address mental health issues and work with local churches to amplify their models for promoting wellness and resilience to other congregations in the BWC.
These ministries have had a significant impact. We:
- Increased our presence in districts and across congregations among young adults to identify areas for call and community engagement.
- Models were developed to promote at the local church and district level for youth leadership training and spiritually informed youth justice engagement in their communities.
Before the end of 2022 we expect to:
- Expand the “Let’s Talk About It” tour and determine areas of greatest concern to young adults.
- Provide resources for wellness and mental health to youth and young adults.
Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement
Shemaiah Strickland, Chair of Young People’s Ministry Board
Our mission is 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.
The goal for 2022 is 325 college students engaged in ministries on at least nine different campuses. During the past year, 145 new students were engaged, 280 students participated in ministry, and 26 new leaders were identified and mentored on four campuses.
A college registry has been created with the names of 270 students from local churches identified in colleges and universities within the BWC and exploration of interest from students in creating spaces for student-led ministry together. This will expand campus ministry connections in at least five locations in partnership with area congregations.
Before end of 2022, we expect to expand the BWC’s presence on additional campuses with student-centered ministry and explore creative new configurations for campus ministry partnerships with the Howard University Wesley Foundation, and American University. .
Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement
Michael Armstrong, Chair of Campus Ministries Committee
Retreat and Camping Ministries
Retreat and Camping Ministries provides 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.
The main goals for Retreat and Camping Ministries this past year were to open for summer camp and begin welcoming retreat groups again after being essentially closed for 15 months. I am pleased to report that, through the hard work of the Retreat and Camping Ministries staff and volunteers, both of these goals were achieved.
Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and The American Camp Association, Retreat and Camping Ministries staff developed both summer camp and retreat group COVID-19 protocols, with the help of Ella Curry, which allowed us to safety resume both components of our ministry. These protocols have been updated multiple times as the pandemic has evolved.
Summer camp looked very different from previous years with reduced capacities, enhanced health monitoring, the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions (masks, distancing, more outdoor activities, etc), and campers divided into small cohort groups which functioned as independently as possible during their time at camp. For summer camp 2021 we set a registration goal of 50 percent of our 2019 summer camp registrations. Our final number was over 48 percent.
With the help of Dr. Deborah Haskins, Manidokan and West River were able to implement a new mental health support system for our summer camp programs to respond to the increase in mental health related issues we have seen over the past several years. This plan was several years in the making and will be modified and continued.
With safety measures in place, we began hosting retreat/rental groups as well. We initially hoped we would return to close to pre-pandemic levels of retreat group usage by the end of 2021, however, pandemic waves continued to result in cancelations and smaller group sizes throughout the winter and into the spring of 2022. It has been a joy to help people connect in-person after the distancing and isolation we felt in the pandemic. We expect retreat usage to pick up as more people become comfortable meeting in-person again.
The pandemic continued to have a significant impact on the finances of Retreat and Camping Ministries. We are extremely grateful for the support of The Baltimore-Washington Conference, and the Council on Finance and Administration in particular, which enabled us to weather the pandemic and position ourselves for a thriving future.
The past year saw a lot of transition within the Retreat and Camping Ministries staff with six people either joining the staff or assuming a new role on the staff. It is a privilege to work with the dedicated and caring staff and volunteers of our Retreat and Camping Ministries who work diligently to make this powerful ministry possible.
Some of the things that make retreat and camping ministry so powerful were precisely the things we could not do when the pandemic began; in-person, communal experiences, set apart from the distractions of day-to-day life. Our impact in 2021 was in finding creative ways to safety gather again, experience deep personal and spiritual connections, and help people grow in their love of God, self, neighbor, and nature.
This year, we hope to:
- Increase capacities and participation in summer camp while maintaining a COVID safety. goal of 75% of 2019 registration numbers for summer camp 2022.
- Complete three projects funded through UMCRM grants on leadership development, day camp expansion, and fundraising education.
- Continue to live into our long-range plan developed in 2019.
Chris Schlieckert, Director of Retreat & Camping Ministries
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)."
Our goals are to identify, equip, and engage leaders to build relationships and do justice to Hispanic Latinos in their community so that more first and second-generation Hispanic Latinos can love God and their neighbor.
Over the past year, we have made a significant impact. We have:
- Equipped laity in antiracism work. In line with the conference's commitment to being an antiracist church, the HLM committee created a curriculum called “The Root Causes of Racism in the Church. Classes took place between September 2021 and January 2022. These classes were required for lay missionaries. Other participants were lay and clergy from our conference and outside our conference.
- Hosted an outdoor event on August 28, 2021, to connect and engage the HLM congregations after not having in-person gatherings for more than a year. More than 100 people participated.
- Partnered with Quality of Life Retreats in planning and leading two HIV/AIDS retreats for Hispanic-Latinos in the fall of 2021 and in February 2022.
In 2022 we hope to:
- Partner with the National Plan on Hispanic-Latino Ministries to evaluate current strategy and contextualize the conference initiative of congregations working towards becoming 100 percent vital.
- Start a new cohort of laity to become Lay Missionaries and continue to train existing ones.
- Partner with the staff member responsible for Connected Engagement on planning the ethnic local church forum and retreats for young people on Justice as a Spiritual Discipline.
- Plan a Border Immersion for 2022.
Rev. Dr. Miguel Balderas, HLM Committee Chair
Dr. Emma Arely Escobar, Coordinator of Hispanic-Latino Ministries
Global Partnerships: In Mission Together Eurasia Committee
The In Mission Together Eurasia Committee (IMCEC) of the Baltimore Washington Conference links the 606 BWC churches with the 17 churches of the Black Soil District, which lies 350 miles south of Moscow, spans 400 miles and represents “the heartland of Russian Methodism.” The Conference also has a ministry relationship with the United Methodist Moscow Seminary.
Goals we have accomplished:
- When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the IMTEC built relationships with United Methodists in Ukraine and the Czech Republic to provide assistance to those affected by the war, especially refugees.
- An emphasis has been placed on praying for peace and remaining in contact with our covenantal partnerships in Russia, while especially holding in prayer the disenfranchised Roma people and congregations.
- Continue to relate to our misional partnership with the United Methodist Moscow Seminary, whose students are trained for ministry across Eurasia.
- Responded to the need to support Ukrainians in this crisis and have channeled funds that could not be used for their original purpose to meet immediate needs of Ukrainian refugees.
- Hosted one webinar for the BWC and open to the UMC that focused on “A Faithful Response the War in Ukraine” “A Faithful Response the War in Ukraine” with the Rev. Oleg Starodubets, DS for Ukraine; Rev. Julia Staradubets, a medical doctor in Ukraine Conference; Rev. Bill Lovelace, United Methodist Ministry to Migrants in the Norway Conference and former DS in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Southern Russia.
- Promoted an article on how to contribute to support Ukraine.
- Authored a commentary, "In the Face of War, We Claim Faith," by Rev. Charles Harrell, chair of IMTEC.
- Promoted contributions to the Moscow Seminary in Russia.
Before the end of 2022 we will:
- Explore ways to support refugee resettlement in the BWC region,
- Promote efforts at peace building in Ukraine, Russia and Eurasia.
Rev. Neal Christie, staff
Rev. Charles Harrell, Chair
Global Partnerships: Zimbabwe Area
With COVID-19 interrupting the Pastor’s School rhythm, support for this covenantal partnership has been redirected in the mission share allocation toward local congregations currently engaged in mission and ministry with Zimbabwe. The Wellness and Missions Board has awarded two Mission and Ministry Grants:
- Mashambanhaka Primary School in the Hanwa Primary School in Murewa/UMP District of the Zimbabwe West Conference. $30,000 for repairs to the Primary School buildings.
- United Methodist Munyarari Mission Medical Clinic Expansion and Revitalization $39,941.60 for essential health care education, medical care and spiritual formation.
Submitted by: Thea Becton and Neal Rev. Christie, staff
Commission on Archives & History, BWC Historical Society, and the Strawbridge Shrine
The purpose of these three ministries is 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 working diligently this year. Prior to our current staff’s arrival in the summer of 2021, the archives had been closed for 18 months and a backlog of closed church and other records had been placed in the museum space. By the time of Annual Conference, the entire backlog, along with additional records that have been acquired, have been sorted, preserved, and placed into archival storage.
By the time of Annual Conference, we will have concluded our First Annual Pilgrimage Week, highlighting six of our 16 sites (with 33 component sites) around the Annual Conference. We had both a digital and in-person pilgrimage experience through videos, teaching, and open houses for disciples to come and ground themselves in our foundations.
These pilgrimages (formerly called tours) and research visits have resumed this year, with a brief interlude in January 2022 due to high Covid-19 case numbers. We have provided pilgrimages to dozens of participants including UMW, UMM, confirmation classes, and Bible Study groups. The most popular one is the Baltimore Pilgrimage, which starts at Old Otterbein, proceeds to the Lovely Lane Museum, Lovely Lane Church, and concludes at Sharp Street Memorial. Another pilgrimage site includes the Strawbridge Shrine in New Windsor, MD, the site of the first Methodist class meetings. The Shrine opened for the season the first week of April and is in the process of raising funds for a Civil War era barn restoration on the property. Last summer, the barn was dated using dendrochronology—tree ring dating. We are currently in the development stages for a pilgrimage in Washington, DC, in collaboration with the Georgetown Cluster (Dumbarton, Mt. Zion, and the combined Mt. Zion/Female Union Band Cemetery).
Researchers with requests for clergy information, community building, private organizations, and even the State of Maryland have come to use our archives for their research. We engage with the General Board of Archives and History (GCAH) on mutual projects, and one of our Pilgrimage Week videos will be featured in a new study by GCAH. Local Church Historian School will occur online in September, and we will publicize this information as it becomes available.
Archives & History staff are frequently found out around the Conference providing lectures, preaching, consultation, and workshops for local churches on what records to keep, how to maintain them, object and artifact preservation, local church historical displays, and other related services. We also have supplies we can offer to local churches for this purpose, or micro grants for supplies to maintain archives at the local church. If your local church would like help with any of these areas, our staff is ready to assist you.
Our collection includes a large collection of the Baltimore Album quilts—quilts that were designed to promote Baltimore and Methodist history and heritage. Outside of the Maryland Archives, we have the largest private collection. We’ve had quilt experts come in for the first time in several years to re-fold and help maintain these quilts. We also have in our collection the “Mayflower Quilt,” a quilt that was hand-stitched in 1615, traveled across the ocean to what is now New England, and finally made its way into Dr. John Goucher’s collection before being donated to our museum. This is kept in archival storage.
In our work of organizing and updating our archives and the museums of our sites, we have come across objects and artifacts from our collection that we re-discovered. We found naturalization certificates at Old Otterbein, original manuscripts and history, original Bishop Asbury documents—including his last will and testament and final written words in a ledger just before he died. Many of these documents haven’t been touched in more than 60 years, based on the note system in the boxes. We are in the process of transcribing many of these documents to make them accessible to new audiences.
This year, Dr. Emora Brannan, the Conference historian, procured the stained glass window from Tremont Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts, which was donated and paid for by the Baltimore local chapter of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society. The Society was organized at the Boston Church. Now closed, the trustees of the current owners made the offer that the stained-glass windows, be returned to the conference that paid for them. The window was professionally transported and is awaiting stained glass experts to trim it down and frame it so that it can stand in our museum as a testimony to the work of these women.
An on-going project is using PastPerfect museum software to catalog our extensive collection. Doing this work will allow museum and archives staff to be more efficient in helping researchers, and may even be able to be shared or linked with other museums to aide in research.
Helping with our extensive work include several volunteers from local congregations. Several active and retired librarians are an integral part of maintaining our extensive library collections. We have also renewed a relationship with Goucher College. What is now Goucher College began as The Woman’s College of Baltimore, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. John Goucher, when he was serving as pastor of Lovely Lane. Beginning in the 1920s (but not completed until the 1950s) the school moved out of the city to the suburbs, where it remains to this day and has become coed. However, the school is interested in renewing those historical connections and we have worked with a Chinese history and language professor to translate some of our missionary banners; and a professor of Visual and Material Culture (Anthropology) to create an internship program, with a stipend, for qualified students. Our first intern began in March 2022. We anticipate that this program will grow and expand in the future.
Here in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, we always have something to celebrate. Old Otterbein kicked off our series of 250th celebrations last year. Among our officially recognized historical sites, 2022 brings 250th celebrations to Dumbarton UMC in Washington, D.C., Lovely Lane UMC in Baltimore, and Melville Chapel in Elkridge. If your church is celebrating a major anniversary this year or next year, please contact Archives & History for help, resources, guidance, and tracking. We have Communion liturgies, sample bulletins, artifacts, history, and subject matter experts ready to help you celebrate. Whether you seek our assistance or not, please save a copy of your bulletin/program, and any tokens or souvenirs you distribute for the Archives. You can mail them to us, BWC Archives & History, 2200 St. Paul St, Baltimore, MD 21218, or contact Rev. Bonnie McCubbin, to arrange pick-up. Please send any scheduling requests to Ms. Sabrina Tarver at
Respectfully submitted by
Rev. Bonnie McCubbin, Director of Museums & Pilgrimage/Conference Archivist
Rev. Dr. Emora T. Brannan, Conference Historian
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the Baltimore Washington Conference continues to carry out its responsibilities on behalf of the body of Christ as it relates to all conference properties within the bounds of our Conference. Much was accomplished and all necessary work took place despite restrictions caused by the ongoing pandemic. We give thanks to all who served this year for their faithfulness and expertise as we navigated through uncertain and occasionally unexpected waters. We would be remiss if we did not extend our gratefulness to Chair John Strawbridge who led us in 2021. During his tenure he led with grace and steadfastness, steering us in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world through excellence in property management.
Our work in 2021 included but was not limited to the following:
- We continued to fund new church starts from the proceeds obtained from the sale of closed churches. The funding plan provides 5% of the accumulated sale proceeds each year towards new church starts and new ministry grants. This funding strategy is intended to treat the proceeds similar to that of an endowment by supporting the long-term needs of these ministry areas. $250,000 was approved under this plan for spending in the 2022 budget.
- The Trustees worked with the Council on Finance and Administration and Conference leadership to follow the guidance of the UMC Ad Hoc Committee that was organized to review the developments in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings. It is anticipated that the bankruptcy court will complete their deliberations and make a ruling on the proposed BSA reorganization plan in mid-2022. Prior to the bankruptcy hearing, the UMC Ad Hoc Committee reached a tentative settlement agreement with the court that commits the denomination to pay into the survivor trust fund. The final terms of that settlement will be determined by the court.
- The Annual Conference approved a Trustee resolution that supports the creation of a Conference Cemetery Foundation that will oversee and fund the care of the historic cemeteries within the Conference. These cemeteries include Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore; Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Baltimore, and Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Keedysville, MD.
- The Trustees signed a 10-year lease with the non-profit organization Center for Watershed Protection, LLC for the smaller tenant space at the Mission Center. Modifications to the space are in progress and are expected to be completed in June 2022.
- The Conference Staff supported training for many local churches that applied for the FEMA Security Grants. This will be an ongoing effort by the staff.
- We worked closely with the Retreat and Camping Ministry staff as they pursued the West River Living Shoreline Project, the West River driveway paving and main walkway repairs and upgrades at Camp Manidokan to their IT network and Internet access.
- The Conference’s Loan Endowment that provides financial loans to support local church capital projects now has an available balance of $2.3 million. Current loan rates are 4.5%. A combination of market gains and reduced loan requests during the pandemic have contributed to the significant growth of the available funds.
As we move forward in what may be the one of the most challenging seasons in the life of the
Denomination, we are ready to work for what we believe is in the best interests of all.
Rev. Sheridan B. Allmond, Chair
This committee provides moving assistance for pastors of the Baltimore-Washington Conference by offering a streamlined process to help them move to new appointments or into retirement settings.
The Moving Committee has a team of eight district coordinators who provide the connection and link between the moving companies and each pastor being moved. These coordinators provide invaluable help and assistance for all of our pastors prior to and during the move of each pastor/pastoral family. The moving committee negotiates contracts for each year with three moving companies to insure the best services possible with as great of cost savings to the pastors and the Baltimore-Washington Conference. The committee is currently working on the initial set up for the moves to take place in June 2022. All moving related questions should be referred to the District Move Coordinators of their district in which the pastor is currently located.
Rev. Jeffrey A. Paulson, Chair
Commission on Communications
The purpose of the Communications ministry of the Baltimore-Washington Conference is to inform, equip and inspire the conference’s spiritual leaders. We do this in a variety of ways, focusing always on telling God’s story as it is being lived out in local churches and throughout the connection.
The pandemic has brought about a sea change in the way the church shares information, accelerating forces already at work in our culture. Most significantly, we discontinued the award-winning UMConnection, the newspaper of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Begun by the Commission, under the leadership of the Rev. Jim Skillington in 1991, the UMConnection was heralded throughout the mainstream Protestant church as one of the best religious newspapers in the nation. The paper reached its zenith in the early 2000’s under the leadership of the Rev. Dean Snyder. Throughout the past three decades, the paper continuously swept denominational awards and connected the people the Baltimore-Washington Conference with news and feature stories that brought the Gospel to life in significant ways. The end of this printed publication marks the end of an era. However, new ways of telling the church’s story and promoting the witness of United Methodists are being adopted in a number of innovative ways -- by video, through online newsletters, with webinars, in social media, and on the BWC’s website.
Another significant loss to the ministry of Communications was the departure of the Rev. Erik Alsgaard as managing editor. His vision, keen news sense, and ability to tell a great story are missed as he pursues an appointment in a local church.
This year, we celebrate the possibilities that accompany the affiliation between the BWC and the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, which introduces numerous opportunities for shared resources and ministry.
It is our intention to be open to the changing ways that God is at work in our midst and to tell the old, old story in new ways that are relevant and life-transforming.
To God be the Glory,
Melissa Lauber, Director of Communications
Jerome Jones, Chair of the Commission on Communications
Discipleship Council Report
Board of Ordained Ministry
The Board of Ordained Ministry serves on behalf of persons across the Baltimore-Washington Conference who have answered the call to representative ministry as licensed, commissioned, and ordained persons. In accordance with Paragraph 635 of the Book of Discipline, the Board stewards the processes to evaluating, and examining those who have offered themselves as candidates for ordained ministry as Deacons and Elders, while also providing the networks of support and accountability for all who serve in set-apart ministry. The Board seeks to create frameworks of exploration, support, and accountability to enable persons to answer God’s call, live into their vocation, and flourish in ministry.
During the time period from 1 July, 2021, through 31 March, 2022, the Board of Ordained Ministry has conducted examinations for those seeking provisional and full-member status, led the Residency in Ministry program for provisional members, held the License to Preach school, which this year hosted 18 students, continued nurturing a “Culture of Call” within our conference, and revised our policies related to continuing education and sexual and professional ethics. In addition, the Living Well program launched this year, with 16 participants and eight facilitators. The Living Well program creates space for intentional reflection, spiritual renewal, vocational assessment, evaluation, and collegial support.
The Board also launched the Gender, Race and Ministry project in January, which seeks to seeks to explore how one’s expectations, experience and satisfaction of ministry are impacted by one’s gender and race. The project included a survey to all active and retired provisional and full member clergy persons, with a follow-up opportunity to participate in an interview. We were delighted to have 300 persons complete the survey and anticipate concluding the interview phase this spring. The findings from the study will be shared later in the year. The Board has done internal work, through Intercultural Competency Training, review of our processes for candidacy, provisional service and examinations, and remaining attentive to our values as a Board, which include transparency, humility, openness to the Holy Spirit, deep listening and justice.
The Board of Ordained Ministry is currently comprised of 49 lay and clergy members drawn from across the conference. We thank Bishop LaTrelle Easterling for her leadership on behalf of our conference, and for her support and encouragement to the Board. I also thank all those who serve on the Board as well as those who serve on District Committees of Ordained Ministry. We, together, invite your prayers for our work and the whole church in the year ahead.
Rev. Dr. Amy P. McCullough, Chair
2020 General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation
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.
The postponement of the 2020 General Conference has meant that delegates and others interested in serving on denominational boards and agencies, have not been able to be nominated and elected and those elected in 2016 continue to serve General and Jurisdictional boards and agencies through the current quadrennium. However, the Northeastern Jurisdiction has led efforts to use this time to connect, especially with delegation heads. Further, among U.S. delegates, there have been grassroots-led efforts to consider a new vision for The United Methodist Church. Several delegation members, including the clergy and laity heads, have participated in these discussions.
The delegation spent much of its initial year becoming familiar with the legislation being considered at the 2020 General Conference. Briefings by representatives of denominational boards and agencies were held in 2019 and early 2020. However, our most significant work together continues to be discernment, training, and visioning on becoming an anti-racist church
In 2016, the NEJ Conference unanimously approved the “Call to Action for Racial Justice,” which several Baltimore-Washington Conference members helped create/develop/write “in recognition of the deep and lasting problem of racial injustice in our denomination, jurisdictions and country, and vowed to constructively address it.” In 2020, 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 the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference our vision statement, “A Church that Embodies Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism (IDEA).” Since November 2021, the delegation has been 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.
At this Annual Conference, the delegation is presenting a resolution, “Endorsing the Christmas Covenant.” Central Conference leaders from Africa, Europe, and the Philippines have proposed the “Christmas Covenant” legislation for adoption by the postponed 2020 General Conference and subsequent ratification by annual conferences. The Christmas Covenant would transform the existing Central Conferences into Regional Conferences and create a United States Regional Conference. It would increase the ability of each Regional Conference to adapt the Book of Discipline to fit its missional context.
Going forward, the delegation anticipates that our immediate work together will be twofold: (1) With the recent Judicial Council decision clarifying that legislation may be submitted up to 230 days prior to the commencement of the postponed 2020 General Conference, the delegation will be able to discern and submit legislation that seeks to dismantle systemic structures that have perpetuated racism and re-envision The United Methodist Church as a church where inclusion, diversity, equity, antiracism are realized; and (2) Through our individual and collective experience of anti-racism training and practice, we hope to define and share with The United Methodist Church processes to influence how delegates view and vote upon legislation and its “impact in potentially disenfranchising people and communities of color, the poor, and those who have been marginalized and have been oppressed in other ways.”
Ianther Mills (Clergy) and Cynthia Taylor (Laity)
Baltimore-Washington Conference Delegation Heads
We Rise United 2022 Report
The Baltimore-Washington Conference seeks to end racism in all of its forms so that all might be free – liberated from oppression and inequities that prevent abundant life. Through committing to be a church that is ever growing in its intercultural competence and embodying antiracism, this seven-year initiative launches us into a life cycle of antiracism work that both seeks to address the intent of the NEJ Call to Action and increase our capacity to build beloved community so that we can see all the people, deepen discipleship, live and love like Jesus, and multiply our impact.
Our five goals along with their progress markers are:
Goal 1. Increase by 10% per year the number of churches who are on a pathway to becoming an anti-racist church so that by 2022 all of our BWC churches are on a path toward becoming racial justice change agents. The following deliverable is required to achieve Goal 1:
Progress: At last year’s annual conference, we celebrated the 80% of churches who reported being on the pathway toward becoming racial justice change agents. We haven’t moved the needle significantly yet and invite church leaders to connect with us as we are strategically engaging persons in this work.
Goal 2. Each local church reports on its progress as related to the Call to Action (CTA) on Racial Justice and on its internal and external conversations annually at church/charge conference with 10% more churches engaged than the year before so that by 2026 100% of our churches are doing work to grow in their Inter-Cultural Competency (ICC) (traits of beloved community) throughout the conference. The following deliverable is required to achieve Goal 2:
Progress: (Please see the Discipleship Report), We’ve accomplished the first half of this goal and are inviting congregations not on a pathway toward racial justice do the work to grow in six actions of Beloved Community. These six actions are:
- Seek relationships because this is how Jesus lived (with an understanding that we are interrelated and interconnected people).
- Examine my own assumptions and perceptions so that I might avoid projecting my cultural values onto others.
- Listen for understanding because agreement is optional.
- Respect different forms of expression understanding that I may not really know what is going on.
- Assume positive intent as we are all moving onto perfection.
- Exercise cultural humility understanding that the world in which I was born is just one model of reality.
Goal 3. Using a validated assessment, we consistently onboard and develop DSs, staff, conference leaders and clergy consistently so that by 2022 all staff and by 2024 all active clergy leaders are working on growing a Gospel-centered, multicultural heart-set, mindset and skill-set.
Progress: As reported last year, we have strengthened the accountability structure so that residents-in-ministry, the Board of Ordained Ministry, District Committees on Ordained Ministry, DSs and staff are resourced to grow in their ability to embody inclusion, diversity, equity and antiracism.
Goal 4. By Spring 2022, each cross-racial/cross-cultural (CR/CC) appointment is equipped to engage in cross-cultural work from appointment through the first year with experienced guides so that both pastor and congregational leaders set goals and grow in ICC covenant (traits of beloved community).
Progress: In addition to orientation for all new CRCC appointments, the 2022 class of a Diverse Church by Design started with over thirty congregations represented. The deadline to apply for the next cohort will be shared at the required CRCC orientation.
Goal 5. Our institutional practices are just and inclusive regarding race/ethnicity, gender, ability, and other elements of diversity so that we see the six actions of Beloved Community Covenant practiced throughout the conference.
- Ongoing efforts to examine pay equity and policy and procedures across our Annual Conference–including BOOM’s Gender and Equity.
- We are in the process of identifying and reviewing BWC policies and practices to ensure that they embody our principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and antiracism.
- We received an Asian American Pacific Islander $10,000 grant from the General Board of Global Ministries designated to dismantle racism specific to those communities through public witness, education, outreach and action.
- BWC Church and Community Equity Grants for persons disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. $36,000 was distributed to congregations in seven of the eight districts.
- Human Relations Day Grant in the amount of $10,000 to continue building beloved community.
Additionally, we give thanks for:
- A Second People’s Supper: Brave Conversations About Racial Justice. This will launch in June and other brave conversation suppers are happening even now across our conference in local churches. Registration deadline for the conference-wide Brave Conversations is June 15.
- Congregations that are embodying and multiplying this work in and beyond their local communities with faithfulness, empathy, compassion and great resolve.
Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson, Executive Minister of Beloved Community