BWARM follows in the tradition of generations and generations of Christians working for greater justice in the life of the Church. Spurred by the church trial of Beth Stroud , an article in the Washington Blade titled“Methodists Don’t Welcome Gays,” the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, and responding to God's call to work for justice, United Methodists from around the Baltimore-Washington Conference began gathering in the fall of 2004.
Meeting monthly in its early years and now meeting quarterly plus an annual meeting, BWARM's presence reaches across the Baltimore-Washington conference. Below are highlights of some of our special events.
BWARM Education Conference - 2012
BREAKING OUR SILENCE: THE CHURCH RESPONDS TO BULLYING!
On October 6, 2012, United Methodists from across the Baltimore-Washington Conference joined for a day to examine the issue of bullying: what it is and how to respond to it. The day began with worship and Bible study. There were opportunities for conversation around tables, as participants wrestled with individual responses and the church's response to bullying in society in general and within the church.
Bullying takes place in many forms and over any reason of real or perceived difference, including race, gender, age, language, height, education, income, religion, and sexual orientation.
Representatives from the Tyler Clementi Foundation shared about their anti-bullying work. In the fall of 2010, Tyler Clementi started at Rutgers University and was a victim of cyber-bullying. Tyler had just begun sharing that he was gay as he was confronted with the reality that his roommate set up a webcam and told others to watch . Shortly after finding out what his roommate had done, Tyler ended his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Tyler's family set up the Tyler Clementi Foundation to "promotes safe, inclusive and respectful social, environments in homes, schools, campuses, churches and the digital world for LGBT youth and their allies."
After some participants agreed to continue exploring how to equip leaders and churches to prevent and respond to bullying, the day concluded with a communion service lead by Bishop Marcus Matthews.
BWARM Education Conference - 2010
On Saturday, October 16, BWARM held its bi-annual education conference, titled “Reconciling: Just Another Label?” The event, which was held at the brand-new Baltimore-Washington Conference Center in Fulton, Maryland, afforded opportunities for worship, study, and fellowship around the reconciling theme.
The day began and ended with stirring inclusive worship. Through the sharing of music, prayer, the spoken word, and Holy Communion, participants offered praise and thanksgiving for strides toward a fully blended church; at the same time, hearts and spirits were afire with hopes and prayers for continued inroads toward that ultimate goal. Dr. Philip Wogaman, the morning’s speaker, inspired participants to forge ahead in working to see that goal become reality.
Throughout the day, a variety of break-out sessions were offered around the day’s over-arching theme. Session topics included an overview of/response to the “killer” Scripture passages that are frequently used against LGBT persons and their inclusion within the life of the church; a look at the “Q word” as a label to be embraced; a report by a lesbian couple who have intentionally visited parish settings throughout the Baltimore-Washington Conference to sample their welcome levels; an interactive seminar helping participants to transform feelings of exclusion to empowerment and fulfillment; a panel of PFLAG representatives, speaking from the perspective of those who love and support LGBT family members.; and a presentation by Dumbarton UMC’s Playback Players.
It was a wonderful day of community and fellowship as many people from this denomination and beyond gathered to share and learn together around the dream of a fully reconciled church.
Helping Church Leaders Move from Fear to Hospitality
May 9, 2009 - Rev. Steve Clapp will share some of the significant learnings from the research project conducted by his church members about lgbt inclusion. That research has identified some of the fears and other attitudes that are barriers to these church leaders working openly and intentionally for full lgbt inclusion. Then he will share the successful strategies that have been utilized in pilot congregations around the country in overcoming those fears and creating greater hospitality.
Rev. Clapp is the president of Christian Community and the author or coauthor of over 30 books on congregational life. He has an M.Div. from Garrett Theological Seminary and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University. He serves as a volunteer minister at Lincolnshire Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
All God’s Children: Teaching Children and Youth About Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
February 14, 2009 - We have young people all around us -- daughters, sons, nephews, nieces, other family members, pupils, neighbors, parishioners -- and although we want them to develop affirming attitudes about sexual orientation and gender difference, we often do not know how to guide them in this process. We worry about what impact we have on young people. This workshop will help adults relate to children and youth around issues of sexual orientation and gender diversity. It will include practical ideas of how to model affirming attitudes about sexual orientation and gender difference with young people.
Workshop leader: A lifelong United Methodist, Melany Burrill has a master’s degree in religious education, was Director of Christian Education in a local church for 16 years, and has led comprehensive sexuality education workshops in churches for young people and their parents for more than 25 years. She has written a book to be published in 2009 on the theme of this workshop.
EXTREME CHURCH -- EXTREME HOSPITALITY
2008 BWARM Conference - Oct. 4
- Rev. Dr. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell gave the keynote address, on "Biblical Perspectives"
- Opening & Closing Worship (closing worship pictured above)
- Two sessions of concurrent workshops gave participants information to take back to their churches on topics including the language of hospitality, talking to children and teens about sexual orientation and gender diversity, inviting young adults back to the church, inclusive worship, talking to persons with whom you disagree, and assessing whether your church extends as wide a welcome as you think.
March 3, 2008 Monthly Meeting - Ministry with Young Adults
Is there a link between the United Methodist Church’s policies and practices toward LGBT persons and the decline of young adults in our churches? What are the issues facing ministry to both demographics? How can our churches engage in meaningful outreach to both populations at the same time? How would these ministries be different (or similar) than the ways we are already doing ministry? The presentation was led by Chett Pritchett: view his Power Point Presentation and another document with some additional resources.
Retreat - Creating a Culture of Peace
Jan 19-21, 2008 at Manidokan Conference Center - Sponsored by BWARM
B-WARM presented a three-day interactive, experiential workshop designed to train participants in the ethics, practice and techniques of using nonviolence to bring about personal and social change. This workshop is a national, spiritually-grounded program which has been adopted by The Methodist Federation for Social Action, Veterans for Peace, and other national and regional organizations. It is coordinated by Janet Chisholm at Kirkridge Retreat Center in PA.
In the workshop participants explored the nature of violence and nonviolence, how social change occurs, and how to build communities of trust. We learned about the spirituality and practice of peacemaking and plan concrete actions and peacemaking projects. This training is applicable to many areas of conflict: domestic violence, LGBT, racial and other forms of discrimination, community and school violence, environmental concerns, and other controversial issues.
Reconciling Convocation 2007
The ninth national reconciling convocation took place at Vanderbilt University from August 2-5, 2007. Visit the Reconciling Ministries Network for highlights.
Appointment of Transgender Clergy Person
In 2007, Rev. Drew Phoenix was reappointed to St. John's of Baltimore City, a growing congregation spreading the good news of "God's inclusive love for all creation." On May 24, Rev. Phoenix spoke at the plenary session to the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Read Rev. Phoenix's statement. In October 2007, the Judicial Council (the highest court of the United Methodist Church) upheld Bishop John Schol's rulings of law with regard to two questions on Rev. Phoenix's appointment. Read More
Hearts on Fire: Continuing the Journey
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Jimmy Creech gave the keynote address and there were ten workshops in this one day conference. View the conference brochure for more information.
2006 B-W Annual Conference
On Friday, May 26, 2006, the resolution to prohibit discrimination in receiving members into UM congregations passed the 222nd session of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference by a vote of 392-352! See story by Melissa Lauber in the Annual Conference's daily publication, "Conference Affirms Open Doors to Everyone" (it is the third story in the document). Read the resolution. Read Bishop Schol's response to two requests for rulings related to the resolution - scroll down to the Second and Third Rulings of Law.