Our BCM/D Family for April 18, 2024

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There’s a lot happening in Maryland/Delaware churches as the warmer weather is returning. We’d love to hear about your news and upcoming events! Send your information with photos to [email protected].  

CJ Matthews, the pastor of Bethany Church in Columbia, had the incredible blessing of baptizing his son Thomas earlier this month. Katie Matthews, CJ’s wife and BCM/D Disability Ministry Missionary, said, “CJ and I have always prayed for Thomas’s salvation. We fostered Thomas for several months and then adopted him soon after.”

CJ Matthews had the honor of baptizing his son, Thomas. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Church)

Katie said that while they always hoped this day would come, they were especially careful with their children because CJ and Katie are both church leaders. “We always wanted it (their faith) to be genuine and Christ-led, not ‘mom and dad led.’’

Thomas started asking to take communion earlier this year. Katie said, “He set up a meeting with our associate pastor and even scheduled a follow-up meeting. He prayed and prepared for the meetings and was very serious about his need to get baptized. We explained that he did not need to rush into baptism because it would not save him. If he wasn’t ready, he could have been baptized later. But he wouldn’t back down. He said if he truly was following Jesus, then he needed to take Jesus’s word seriously and obey Him by getting baptized. He said he wanted to biblically show other people that he was a Christian and that he was going to follow Jesus.

Katie said, “We have seen a drastic change in Thomas over the last few months. He reads his Bible on his own, journals and prays to God, and tries to share God’s word with others. He is still our hyperactive and funny kid but it has been a joy to see God use Thomas’s personality to point others to himself.”

Salaam Center
The Salaam Center in Baltimore had a dedication service on March 23 to celebrate the opening of the second floor of their new building. The center, located near the Baltimore immigration office, is designed to provide a safe space for immigrants from around the world to gather. They offer children’s programs, free classes, school supplies, annual holiday programs and more. Sponsors and volunteers gathered for the event and enjoyed snacks — hummus, fruit, crackers, and other Mediterranean-style goodies before taking a tour of the upstairs area and participating in a short prayer service.

The new space will be used for English as a Second Language classes (ESL) for missionaries; an area of rest for missionaries on furlough; counseling for clients in need of mental health and relational support and an office for Director Reda Narouz.

Director Reda Narouz stands in front of the Salaam Center. (Photo courtesy of the Salaam Center)

Through readings and prayer, those attending dedicated the second floor to be a beacon of hope, peace, and love of God for refugees.

Kettering Church hosts college students
Bucas Sterling, pastor of Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, hosted international college students during their recent “Alternative Breaks” missions assignment to Maryland. “Alternative Breaks” is a student-run service organization whose mission is to provide diverse, quality opportunities for participants in their local, national, and global communities to foster a lifelong commitment to social action and change. The service trips focus on a variety of issues, including poverty, homelessness, child welfare, and more. The University students from Korea, South Africa, India, and the United States dedicated their Spring break to serve on a volunteer assignment at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary to address environmental conservation.


Pastor Bucas Sterling with international students that Kettering Church hosted. (Photo courtesy of Kettering Baptist Church)

Joint Worship/Anniversary Service
North Glen Community Church (NGCC) & Iglesia Comunidad de Gracia, who both meet at NGCC in Glen Burnie, had a joint worship service on Good Friday.

Both praise teams sang simultaneously — in English and Spanish with words provided in each language.  Also, four members of NGCC and three from Iglesia Communidad de Gracia shared reflections on the seven last words of Jesus, with translators as needed.

The church was full. Paul Bachman, the pastor of NGCC, said, “I’ve been here 35 years, and I’ve never seen so many in one service,” Bachman said he has wanted a joint service for some time and was pleased to bring the churches together for the Easter season.

Roberto Mancia, pastor of Iglesia Comunidad de Gracia was also pleased. “It was very good. There was just enough room for everyone.”

The North Glen Community Church and Iglesia Comunidad de Gracia praise teams sang together. (Photo by Joe Flemming)

Following the service NGCC, had a dinner with American and Mexican food and a cake to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Iglesia Comunidad de Gracia. NGCC is the parent church.

Mancia began the church in 2019 with a few families with the encouragement of Bachman. “Then Covid came,” Mancia said. At times, he shared with just two or three people. But God has blessed them, and they survived the pandemic. The church now has 60 members adult members.

April 21 is the official anniversary, and Iglesia Comunidad de Gracia will have guest musicians who will play songs familiar to the countryside of Latin America. Following the service, the congregation will enjoy a meal together.