Worship Attendance

For the May Messenger – April 7 – 87 – April 14 – 89 – April 21 – 91 – April 28

Fasting Prayer on May 4, 2024

On the first Saturday of each month, we encourage you to fast as we pray for Bethesda United Methodist Church (BUMC) and its ministry. You can choose to skip a meal or two or fast for an entire day according to your health condition.

  • Please pray for all mothers and women who act as mother figures in our lives. May they continue to represent the love of God to children with patience and strength.
  • Let us also pray for all the graduates who have achieved a significant milestone in their lives. May God bless them with wisdom and guidance as they plan for their future. Let us also express our gratitude to those who have supported them this far.
  • Let us pray for our veterans and soldiers who diligently serve our country and keep us safe. May God grant them strength and protection. Let us also pray for the families who have lost their loved ones in military service, that they may find comfort and peace in their hearts.
  • Please pray that BUMC and Georgetown Hill Early School finalize their facility-sharing contract with God’s guidance.

Confirmation Sunday, June 2

We are excited to announce that on June 2 at 10:00 a.m., eleven faithful, bright, and delightful confirmands will be joining Bethesda United Methodist Church during our Sunday service. These young members have been studying about God, church, faith, mission, calling, and service since September 2023. We invite and welcome you to join us in celebrating and welcoming our new members.

Confirmation Class Party: by Invitation Only

  • When: June 2, 2024, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Rollins Congressional Club, 1621 Martha Terrace Rockville, MD 20852.

Questions? Please contact Rev. HiRho at hrpark@washmorefeet.org

Honoring Our Guiding Lights - Calling All 2024 Graduates!

On Sunday, May 12, we’re setting aside time to celebrate our dedicated learners – the 2024 Graduates! Whether you are stepping up from high school, accomplishing your college journey, or ascending the graduate school pinnacle, we are eager to honor you. So, please provide us with your name or your graduate’s name, the institution of graduation, and the degree earned. We need the information by May 5th, 2024. Send your details to julio@washmorefeet.org. We can’t wait to spotlight your hard-earned achievements on May 12. Let’s commemorate this milestone in your life together! Be there – we look forward to celebrating with you!

BUMC Scholarships

BUMC is awarding scholarships to selected graduating high school seniors this spring. The scholarships are awarded based on the student’s participation in service activities, both church and community-wide. While the Scholarship Committee will ask for a copy of the applicant’s transcript, grades are not the primary criteria.

Any high school senior actively involved with the church is encouraged to apply. The deadline is April 30th, and the recipients will be announced on Graduate Recognition.

If you’re interested in applying, email Dana Sippel at dana@glassmanwealth.com for a copy of the application.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Ah, it is the month of May, which brings thoughts of the end of the school year for some and the beginning of summer vacation plans for many others. It is also the month in which we celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) to the tapestry of life. Like all Heritage Months, I believe the historic and continuing contributions made by the AANHPI community should be recognized, embraced, and celebrated not just for one month, but throughout the years. The Federal Asian Pacific American Council has declared the theme for 2024 as “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation.”

Bethesda United Methodist Church is blessed to have Dr. Rev. HiRho Park as our Lead Pastor, who embodies the 2024 AANHPI theme. Her academic and spiritual credentials are as impressive as her work ethic and energy. Through her church-wide innovations, she has led BUMC out of the depths of COVID isolation and has challenged all of us to reimagine the Church for the era in which we live. Her sustained efforts have resulted in an increase in membership while helping to guide the church, along with lay leadership, through some tough financial times. She has broadened the BUMC worship service by inviting a variety of different pastors to deliver sermons on issues of concern and bringing in a very cool Korean drum ensemble. She is open to suggestions about the church and works hard to improve her own pastoral efforts. She is a leader and an innovator.

BUMC is further blessed to have a number of congregants from the AANHPI community who also bring their gifts to the history, heritage, and culture of the church.

Sadly, as blessed as we are to have a diverse AANHPI community, we must be aware of and fight against the xenophobia, hate, discriminatory insults, and criminal attacks against the AANHPI population, which have increased yearly since the COVID pandemic. Attacks against any minority population are not only dangerous for that population but also dangerous for American society as a whole. Let us not only stand against Asian-based racism, but also embrace the gifts and contributions made by the AANHPI community to our church and to society.

Whose You Are is More Important Than Who You Are

My godson will graduate from high school at the beginning of next month. I am proud of his accomplishments and can’t wait to see who he becomes. He is already an outstanding student, musician, and person who tries to follow God fully. As he goes on throughout his life, I know he will accomplish many things and succeed in many ways, and I can’t wait to see it all. But I hope he always remembers that it is more important to remember whose he is than who he is.

If I could give him any advice, I would give him the advice I received at my high school graduation. At that graduation, my pastor from First United Methodist Church in Paragould, Arkansas, gave this commencement speech, and he told us not to concentrate on who we are but to remember whose we are. He told me and the other graduates to remember that we are children of God above all else. And I want you to know that, too.

In a world that tries to make us forget our worth or tells us to measure our worth by one of many worldly standards, we can quickly end up feeling that we have too much of this and not enough of it. We do not fit in the way we wish we would or are not living up to the standards we want to achieve. And sadly, no matter how hard we try, we will let people down, and we will never entirely be who we wish we were.

But living knowing that we belong to God challenges us to live our lives not worried about ourselves or our imperfections but to follow the God to whom we belong wholly, and boldly trying to do God’s will. It challenges us to stand against injustice, to be voices for the voiceless, and to embody hope in the face of despair. Our divine identity propels us to live not for ourselves alone but for the common good, reflecting God’s love in every word and deed.

So go out knowing who you are and, more importantly, who you are, as Dr. Seuss asks and answers, “Will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).” My prayers are with my godson and all of you, and I am thankful for who each of you are, and whose you are. I, too, believe you will succeed; it is probably even more than 98 ¾ percent guaranteed.

-Dr. Shaw Brewer

Teaching English Conversation at Huree University for a Summer Mission

BUMC supported Huree University with a Christmas offering by awarding scholarships to students. Huree University is a Methodist-affiliated information technology school in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Mongolia is part of the United Methodist Church’s provisional annual conference.

Details:

  • What: Teaching Summer English Conversation Learning Academy
  • When: One month, either July or August. The exact dates depend on your schedule. Please note that the famous Nadaam Festival takes place in July.
  • Room & Board: Accommodation in an apartment will be provided.
  • Food: You will be responsible for covering the cost of your food.
  • Transportation: A car will be provided.
  • Tour: An English-speaking tour guide will be recommended. You will be responsible for paying the fee.

*For your reference, Mongolia’s currency exchange rate is $1:3,450 MNT, making it incredibly affordable.

If you feel called by God to serve in this capacity as a short-term missionary from BUMC, please contact Rev. HiRho at hrpark@washmorefeet.org.

Shred Event

Vacation Bible School is June 17-21

Preparations are underway for BUMC to host another VBS for children in the community from June 17-21. Below is a list of supplies needed to make it happen. Donations can be dropped off in the narthex. We are also looking for additional volunteers during VBS week. If you can help, please contact Dennis@washmorefeet.org. If you haven’t registered your preschoolers or elementary-aged children yet, there’s still time! Visit BUMC’s website or the VBS registration site to sign up.

Teacher Appreciation Sunday

We have many talented teachers for adult and children’s Sunday School, Kids With Purpose, and Confirmation. We will honor these dedicated volunteers during the service on Sunday, May 19. Children and youth, along with their teachers, should meet for games at 9:00 a.m. in Greenwich Park (across from the church parking lot), including the popular “teacher trivia.” In case of rain, we will meet in Fellowship Hall.

Willing to bring supplies?  We can use:

Disposable table cloths
Fabric markers
Pillow stuffing
Lots of popsicle sticks
Light blue paper plates
Lots of red, yellow, and orange tissue paper
Plastic water bottles
70 pie pans
Chex mix
Raisins
M&Ms
Little pretzels
Snack size zip lock batteries
Hand sanitizer
Wipes
Paper towels
500 plates
1000 cups
1000 napkins
paper towels

Foster Care Ministry Needs

The foster care ministry at BUMC is in need of donations of children’s clothing in sizes 2T to 14.

Recently, the BUMC Foster Care Room was renovated by Boy Scout Jack Gormley for his Eagle Scout Project. Jack and his fellow scouts re-plastered, painted, and set up new clothing racks and shelves. Due to an increase in requests for clothing for foster children, we need to restock our supplies. We provide clothing for infants through teens up to size 14, specifically requiring boys and girls clothing in sizes 2T, 3T, 4T, and 5T, including short and long sleeve shirts, shorts, pants, pajamas, sweaters, jackets, coats, and shoes. We do not need infant clothing at this time. Additionally, we can accept donations of books and toys. All donations should be new or nearly new and in excellent condition. Items can be placed in the bins located in the BUMC Narthex or the hallway outside the Foster Care Room. For a tour of the renovated Foster Care Room, visit its location in the BUMC basement across from the elevator on the left side. For inquiries, please contact Janet Edmonds at j.edmonds@erols.com.

BUMC Rummage Sale

Join us for Bethesda United Methodist Church’s annual Rummage Sale (All Church Yard Sale) on Saturday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It’s a fantastic opportunity to recycle unwanted items and discover hidden treasures for your loved ones and home. Proceeds will support BUMC’s Foster Care Ministry and Social Justice Outreach initiatives.

Donations can be dropped off in the BUMC Narthex from Monday, May 6 to Friday, May 10 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. We are seeking volunteers to assist with sorting and organizing donations during this period. Please note that we are unable to accept donations of baby cribs or heavy furniture.

BUMC volunteers are also needed to help with setting up and moving items outside on the morning of the sale, Saturday, May 11 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

To further support us, please share the following announcement on your Neighborhood or School List-Serve:

“CHURCH YARD SALE on Saturday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Bethesda United Methodist Church, 8300 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814 (Corner of Huntington Parkway and Old Georgetown Road). Come explore a variety of items including jewelry, toys, games, artwork, books, kitchen wares, tools, electronics, clothing, and more. All proceeds will benefit BUMC’s Foster Care and Social Justice Ministries. For more information, contact Janet Edmonds at j.edmonds@erols.com.”

Thank you for your support!

Lift and Shift: Survey Results

In the summer of 2023, the BUMC Church Council decided to explore modifying our worship schedule. The idea was that perhaps a different worship schedule format would increase our worship attendance, making it more convenient for our worship community. A scan of local churches was conducted, lay leaders were asked to discuss possible options with their constituent committees, and a group met to take in all feedback from the groups and develop a possible plan across all areas of worship. As a result of the feedback, it was decided to “Lift and Shift” our worship times one hour earlier beginning in January 2024. Announcements were made in the Messenger, in the Sunday morning Announcements, and in the weekly emails.

The plan was to analyze worship attendance figures from fall 2023 (September – December) and spring 2024 (January – March). Additionally, the council asked that a survey be created to help us to understand the impact on the programs being offered because of the time change. Because emailed surveys have very low response rates from the congregation and because mailing and receiving paper surveys was not considered to be a feasible option, a pulse survey on a single “typical” worship day was planned. It should be noted that the congregation was also continually requested to offer comments or suggestions to the Worship Committee Co-Chairs beginning in January.

In early April, an analysis was conducted to determine if moving the worship service to 10:00 am impacted attendance to the worship service or other Sunday morning programming. Fall and spring attendance numbers were analyzed, and a survey was provided to all in attendance on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at either church or Sunday School. Sunday School attendees were provided surveys to complete, and the congregation was provided with surveys during the offering period of worship. Those worshipping online at 10:00 am were provided a link to submit their responses.

The analysis of attendance numbers (when available) compared “typical” worship dates for fall 2023 and spring 2024. In-person church attendance showed a 19% increase. KWP showed an increase as well. Children’s Sunday School attendance including nursery usage was unchanged. PTR showed a slight decrease. Online participation was not used in the attendance comparisons, as the analysis was looking at engagement on Sunday mornings only, and the online worship numbers are not limited to the Sunday morning worship hour.

A total of 75 surveys were completed for April 7, 6 online, and 69 on paper. It should be noted that 2 paper surveys were completed by online worshipers as they could not navigate the online link. 73% of respondents responded only for themselves, while 27% responded for their entire family. 57% of respondents were over the age of 50. 33% of respondents were 60-74 years of age. 8% were young adults. Those responding for their household included children. An analysis of the survey results showed the following:

67% of respondents reported worshiping ONLY in person, 8% reported worshiping online only, and 25% reported worshiping in both formats. 89% of respondents reported that their frequency of attendance at worship had not changed or had increased since the move to a 10:00 am worship service. 3% of respondents said their attendance had changed, but not because of the time change. 8% reported worshiping less frequently because of the time change.

It is of interest that 45% of respondents do not attend Sunday School. 73% of all respondents reported that their attendance/non-attendance in Sunday School had not changed or their attendance had increased. 6% reported their attendance had changed, but not because of the time. Only 14 individuals reported that their frequency had changed due to the time change.

34% of the respondents participate in the music ministry of the church. 39% are not involved in any worship ministries/opportunities. 96% report that the time change did not affect their involvement in church offered worship opportunities.

82% of individuals indicated that they knew about the time change beforehand. 18% reported that they did not know. It is interesting that all the individuals who indicated they did not know about the time change also indicated that they get their information from at least one communication stream, with the majority getting at least 3 of the communications streams.

The survey responses support the analysis of our attendance numbers that show the move to an earlier worship time did not have a negative impact on worship attendance. Overall, the general impression is that Sunday morning worship appears to be increasing. The increase in worship attendance is higher than the decrease in the Sunday School numbers seen in PTR.

May Mission Monday

Our May Mission Monday will take place on Monday, May 6, 2024. We will be collecting individually wrapped meat and cheese sandwiches, as well as baggies of trail mix, that morning between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. in the Huntington Parkway Parking lot. These items will then be taken to Martha’s Table in Washington, D.C. to be distributed by McKenna’s Wagon at several locations that evening. If you are unable to come Monday morning, contributions can be left in the kitchen refrigerator on Sunday, May 5. Please make sure to mark the bags for Mission Monday.

In addition, we will be collecting non-perishable food items for our Little Free Pantry at BUMC. Thank you for helping us provide food for those in need in our community.

Radiate Love: Pride Sunday Celebrations Unveiled!

June 9th is an exciting day in our church calendar as we celebrate Pride Sunday! We’ll experience a musical treat at our morning service, thanks to the Rock Creet Singers for their extraordinary talents.

Following the service, join us at the Pride Festival from noon to five on Pennsylvania Avenue! We warmly invite volunteers to assist from 10 to 5:30. It’s a fantastic opportunity to express support and camaraderie within our community. Remember, your presence makes a world of difference.

For volunteer information or queries, kindly get in touch with Dennis at dennis@washmorefeet.org. Let’s come together to make this Pride Sunday memorable!

If Our Livestream Goes Down...

Occasionally, our live stream system encounters issues that require us to shut down the worship stream and start again. Unfortunately, we cannot restart on the same YouTube link. Restarting the stream will create a new one.

If this occurs, we will strive to notify you in the chat before the livestream goes down. Please allow us a few minutes to restart the live stream. Once it’s up and running, you can find the new stream at the top of washmorefeet.org/livestream.

Rummage Sale

Bethesda United Methodist Church’s annual rummage sale, also known as the church yard sale, is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This event is an opportunity to recycle items you no longer need and find treasures and bargains for your loved ones and home. The proceeds will support the BUMC Foster Care Ministry and other Social Justice Outreach activities.

Donations can be dropped off at the BUMC Narthex between Monday, May 6, and Friday, May 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help sort and arrange donations during this period. Please note that donations of baby cribs or heavy furniture will not be accepted.

BUMC volunteers are also needed to assist with setting up and moving sale items outside on the morning of the rummage sale, starting at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.

Additionally, you can help by posting the following announcement on your neighborhood or school list-serve to spread the word about the sale to those who enjoy a good bargain:

“CHURCH YARD SALE on Saturday, May 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Bethesda United Methodist Church, located at 8300 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814 (Corner of Huntington Parkway and Old Georgetown Road). Join us to discover second-hand treasures such as jewelry, toys, games, artwork, books, vases, kitchen wares, glassware, tools, sports equipment, electronics, videos, computer games, children’s and adult clothing, shoes, Christmas treasures, and small furniture. Proceeds will benefit the church’s Foster Care and Social Justice Ministries. For more information, please contact Janet Edmonds at j.edmonds@erols.com.”

Thank you for your support!

BUMC Scholarships

BUMC is awarding scholarships to selected graduating high school seniors this spring. The scholarships are awarded based on the student’s participation in service activities, both church and community-wide. While the Scholarship Committee will ask for a copy of the applicant’s transcript, grades are not the primary criteria.

Any high school senior actively involved with the church is encouraged to apply. The deadline is April 30, and the recipients will be announced on Graduate Recognition Sunday, May xx.

If you’re interested in applying, email Dana Sippel (dana@glassmanwealth.com) for a copy of the application.

Cookout at Locust Grove

Children, youth, and their families are invited to join us at the Locust Grove Nature Center (7777 Democracy Blvd) on Saturday, April 20, from 5:00–6:30 p.m., for fellowship around the campfire. Enjoy some time hiking, playing, visiting, and eating hot dogs and s’mores with other Bethesda United Methodist Church families. There are benches, but feel free to bring portable chairs, as well as frisbees, soccer balls, and other outdoor toys.

Listening Session on the Conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza area

with Michael E. O’Hanlon, May 5, 11:15 am – 12:30 pm

“Understanding the Goals—and Grievances—of the Key Actors and Peoples of the Middle East:  An Historical Perspective (from an Amateur!)”
Michael Edward O’Hanlon is an American policy analyst currently serving as director of research and senior fellow of the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution.