News and Views

BWC to gather in May – as one, beneath the cross

Posted by Erik Alsgaard on

By Erik Alsgaard
UMConnection Staff

We are One: Beneath the Cross,” will be the theme that guides the more than 1,200 members of the Baltimore-Washington Conference when they gather for their

annual session Wednesday, May 30, through Friday, June 1, at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore.

Online registration for this time of holy conferencing opens at noon Feb. 28 on the conference website at

This year, a Pre-Conference Briefing
will be held Saturday, April 21, to allow participants the opportunity to become well-acquainted with issues coming before the May gathering. The first session will
be from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Jackson Chapel UMC in Frederick. The second, will be at St. John’s at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia from 1:30
to 4 p.m. The contents of both sessions will be similar. Lay and clergy members are invited to attend whichever location is most convenient. No registration is required.

Guided by Ephesians, 4:1-7, 11-16, this year’s session will focus more on celebrating discipleship and missional excellence and building ways to more faithfully live and serve as the body of Christ.

The conference begins with separate clergy and laity sessions beginning in the afternoon May 30. The presiding bishop, LaTrelle Easterling, will preach at opening worship that evening. A retiree luncheon and several workshops will also be held that day.

Ordination will be held in the evening on Thursday, May 31. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Conference will preach. The Memorial Service, to honor those who have died in the previous year, will be June 1. The Rev. Craig McLaughlin, of Mt. Zion UMC in Bel Air, will preach.

The Rev. Shively T.J. Smith, professor
the New Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary, will lead two Bible study sessions.

Throughout the conference, in a series of plenary sessions, members are expected to vote on the 2018 budget, learn about a new committee structure that will transform the BWC’s potential for equipping leaders and local churches for ministry, and consider several resolutions.

The resolutions will address a proposed new mission statement for the conference, respond to questions about the relationship between Africa University and the government of Zimbabwe, amend the BWC moving policy, consider gun violence, and address homosexuality and inclusion in the United Methodist Church.

Leaders of the BWC’s delegation to General Conference are also expected
to give a report on the work of the Commission on the Way Forward and the Council of Bishops and the 2019 called session of General Conference, which will address the denomination’s stance on homosexuality.

For those who register between Feb. 28 and March 14, the early-bird cost to attend is $129; the regular registration fee, for those who register between March 15 and May 2, is $139; and late registration is $189.

Those who register for meals, will note that the cost of meals at the session have gone down significantly with the move back to Baltimore. Breakfast is $22, lunch is $30 and dinner is $40.

On May 30, there will be a luncheon to honor retiring clergy and a dinner for those clergy serving in extension ministries.

During the registration process there will be a schedule of special meals participants can attend, including a Thursday lunch sponsored by the United Methodist
Men and United Methodist Women, a Thursday dinner sponsored by Baltimore Washington Area Reconciling Ministries and the Methodist Federation for Social Action, a Friday breakfast sponsored by Wesley Nexus and a Friday lunch hosted by Black Methodists for Church Renewal.

The last day to register and pay for special meals is May 2.

For those who wish to stay at the
hotel, located at 700 Aliceanna Street
in Baltimore, reservations can be made through the Marriott. e price of rooms has also gone down this year to $168 a night.

Parking at the hotel is $26 a day for self- parking and $46 for valet. The conference will be offering buses to the session.

As additional information unfolds about the 234th annual session of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, it will be shared at