The work of the United Parish of Bowie is overseen by an elected, volunteer Board* of church members. The Board disseminates the Board Corner to let parishioners know what the Board is doing.
Much of the work of the Board during spring and summer 2020 has been to grapple with adjustments to meet the challenges of the corona virus pandemic.
- In person Sunday worship was replaced by worship via zoom.
- Two weekly prayer meetings, also via zoom, have been added: Tuesdays at 7:00 PM and Thursdays at 1:00 PM.
- Pastor Chris screened a children’s story on several Wednesdays.
- Pastor Chris and members of the Board reached out by telephone each week to regular members and attendees.
The Board decided to cancel a number of church activities which were scheduled to take place during this period:
- Mission trip to Mars Hill
- Mission with Christmas in April
- Lenten services with dinner, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday
- Church in the Park
- Buddies Outing
The Board agreed to re-formatting of several other church activities:
- Art & Music Camp
- Adult Christian Education
In June, The Board surveyed the congregation through an on-line survey and a Town Hall meeting (via zoom) to find a balance between risk aversion and the spiritual impact of in-person worship. The Board also referred to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Presbytery, the UCC, and the Maryland Department of Health. At each of its meetings the Board reconsiders the decision to hold off on resuming in-person worship.
The Board also decided that, while the church building is not open for worship, it also would be closed to groups which intermittently use the building. The Board did approve the reopening of the building, however, with special precautions, for the child care center.
To address financial unknowns during the pandemic, the Board approved submission of:
- An application for a Small Business Administration loan in accordance with provisions of the Paycheck Protection Act
- An application for a three-month waiver from contributions to the Pastor Pension Plan administered by the Presbytery’s Board of Pensions. The Board attended an e-meeting with Martha Reisner, the consultant to the Board of Pensions, to discuss the Biblical foundations of the pension program.
- Several upkeep projects for cost savings such as replacing a tired telephone system, modifying lighting in the parking lot, and installing a hot water heater timer.
Pastor Chris and members of the Board continue to participate in church activities in the broader community.
- Erma Barron represents UPB before the United Church of Christ.
- Board members take turns attending meeting of the Presbytery with Pastor Chris.
- Pastor Chris is active in a new group “Showing Up for Racial Justice”, and led prayer at its vigil in the park.
- Pastor Chris is part of a group working to create a Prince Georges County division of “Build the Bridge.”
The Board approved two brief vacations for Pastor Chris, declaring a “snow day” for one Sunday, and leading worship with a guest preacher for another Sunday he was on leave.
In August we were excited to approve the baptism of Ting Chin and to welcome him, Sherita Williams and Irene Havas into membership in the church. In August, the Board accepted Elsie Carroll’s resignation from the Board for medical reasons.
The Board thanks those who have trained themselves on technical aspects for carrying on worship and church missions virtually: Pastor Chris, Dina Bickel, Linda Caler, Russ Doughty (especially, music), Diane Eades, Sue Kennedy, and Mike Mehl.
*The Board members are: Erma Barron, Mary Bird, Elsie Carroll, Sharon Doughty, Sue Kennedy, Cathie Lambert, and Herb Sheppard. Moderator: Rev. Chris Deacon