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One Matters: Churches honored for discipleship

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In a special online awards presentation, several BWC churches were honored for their discipleship with a One Matters Award on Oct. 26.

The denominational award, presented by Discipleship Ministries, honors churches that have moved from “zero to one,” bringing in one new member into their churches last year by profession of faith.

“With this award, we affirm Christ’s teaching that each ‘one’ is a life that matters -- to us, to the world, and to God,” said the Rev. Bill Brown, the BWC’s director of innovative evangelism.

The winner of the $1,000 prize was Elderslie St. Andrews UMC in the Baltimore Metropolitan District, which went from zero professions of faith in 2019 to two in 2020.

According to District Superintendent, the Rev. Wanda Duckett, the church is celebrated for its simple acts of invitation and intentionally getting to know one another. On the fifth Sundays of each month, the church does one-on-ones with each other, entering into meaningful conversations.

“As we build relationships with one another, God is opening us up to see new possibilities,” said the Rev. Denise Norfleet Walker, the church’s pastor. “We have learned that taking risks brings new vision. We are shifting from survival to what God wants to do with us. God seems to be saying: ‘I told you I’m not done with you yet -- take a risk and see what I will do.’”

Other churches honored with One Matters Award plaques include:

  • Indian Head UMC in the Washington East District, which went from zero profession of faith in 2019 to two in 2020 with efforts to reach out to people in the community with disabilities.
  • Susquehanna Charge in the Baltimore Suburban District, which went from zero professions of faith in 2019 to one at Hopewell UMC and three at Wesleyan Chapel in 2020.
  • Ryland-Epworth UMC in the Greater Washington District, which went from zero professions of faith in 2019 to one profession of faith in 2020. Their newest profession of faith is a 14-year-old girl, who began coming to church with her family two years ago. This year she has been very active and wanted to publicly profess her faith and be received into membership.

Special honorable mention awards were also given to Park Place UMC in Cumberland and Bedington UMC in Martinsburg.

By knowing that “one matters, these congregations embraced new ways of being disciples,” Brown said. “We celebrate their faith and their discipleship journey.”