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Virginia Conference news from 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference - July 13, 2016

SEJ Conference elects five bishops before dinner on first day
All five bishops were elected before the dinner break at this year’s Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) Conference being held July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina. The new bishops will replace five bishops who are retiring from active service. Thirteen clergy were nominated by their respective delegations or other bodies to be considered as candidates for bishop. (The Rev. Ted Smith was endorsed by the Virginia Conference.) Jurisdictional Conference will also assign bishops to lead each of the 15 conferences in the jurisdiction, including the Virginia Conference, for the 2016-2020 quadrennium. Those assignments will be announced Thursday evening, July 14.Theme of the conference is Hope and Unity in Christ, based on Hebrews 6:18-19a. The Virginia Conference sent a 44-member delegation (half clergy and half laity) to Jurisdictional Conference. It is tied with the North Georgia delegation for being the largest. Jurisdictional Conference began at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, with opening worship and will end on Friday, July 15, with the Service of Consecration for newly elected episcopal leaders. More ...

Sharma Lewis elected bishop on first ballot at SEJ Conference
On the first ballot taken at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, the Rev. Sharma D. Lewis, district superintendent in the North Georgia Conference, was elected the first African-American woman bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. She is also the first African-American woman elected bishop in the denomination since 2000. She received 258 votes out of 362 valid votes cast.

David Graves elected bishop on fourth ballot
The Rev. David Graves, senior pastor of Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., was elected a bishop by delegates at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Graves was elected Wednesday, July 13, on the fourth ballot. He received 221 votes out of 345 valid votes cast.

Leonard Fairley elected bishop on seventh ballot
The Rev. Leonard Fairley, district superintendent in the North Carolina Conference, was elected a bishop by delegates at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Fairley was elected Wednesday, July 13, on the seventh ballot, receiving 246 of 369 valid votes cast.

Lawson Bryan elected bishop on tenth ballot
The Rev. Robert “Lawson” Bryan, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala., was elected a bishop by delegates at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Bryan, 66, was elected Wednesday, July 13, on the tenth ballot. He received 256 of 369 valid votes cast.

Sue Haupert-Johnson elected bishop on tenth ballot
The Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson, district superintendent in the Florida Conference, was elected a bishop by delegates at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Haupert-Johnson, 54, was elected Wednesday, July 13, on the tenth ballot. She received 230 of 369 valid votes cast.

You can watch SEJ Conference via live streaming
You can watch live streaming of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at http://www.lakejunaluska.com/plan_an_event/meeting_services/streaming/. Streaming began at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, with opening worship and will end on Friday, July 15, with the Service of Consecration for newly elected episcopal leaders, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Click here to watch live streaming of the conference. More ...

SEJ bishops hold prayer vigil in response to recent tragedies
In a faithful response to recent tragedies in the country, bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction held a Hope and Unity Prayer Vigil the night before the official opening of Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska. More ...

SEJ bishops issue statement in response to tragedy in our nation
Before beginning the first business session of this year's Jurisdictional Conference, Bishop Jonathan Holston, leader of the South Carolina Conference, read a statement from the SEJ College of Bishops calling on United Methodists to be advocates opposed to racism and gun violence. "We are called to serve as advocates for our beliefs and in this particular context to clearly be advocates opposed to racism in any form and in firm opposition to gun violence," the statement said. Click here to read entire statement.

SEJ bishops issue pastoral letter prior to opening of Jurisdictional Conference
The Southeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops issued a pastoral letter on July 12, the day before the official opening of the 2016 Southeastern (SEJ) Jurisdictional Conference, calling on United Methodists in the SEJ to follow processes the denomination's polity has in place while working to either change or maintain the church's current position on human sexuality. The bishops criticized those "acting in nonconformity to our church's legislation about marriage and ordination standards," calling them "not with the bounds of our church's polity." [Several annual conferences meeting this year voted not to comply with current Discipline restrictions on ordination of homosexuals and conducting same-gender marriage services.] "We recognize the pain felt both by those advocating for and those opposing change," the bishops' letter said. "We also view the acts of nonconformity as a violation of our covenant and as divisive and disruptive." Click here to read entire letter.

Two Virginia Conference clergy elected to SEJ committees
Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) Conference delegates voted to approve nominations from the SEJ College of Bishops for members of SEJ committees for the 2017-2020 quadrennium. The Rev. Ed Walker, pastor of Mt. Olivet UMC, Arlington District, was elected a member of the SEJ Committee on Appeals. The Rev. Tammy Estep, pastor of Haygood UMC, Elizabeth River District, was elected an alternate member of the SEJ Committee on Investigation.

3 Communications staff members reporting from Jurisdictional Conference
Linda Rhodes, conference director of Communications; Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor and news associate; and Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, are attending the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference July 13-15 in Lake Junaluska. Watch for e-Advocate reports, articles and pictures on the conference website, blog posts, video features and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. To follow their coverage, go to the conference website at www.vaumc.org, the conference YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/vaumcvideos, the conference Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vaumconf, the conference Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/VAUMC, and the conference Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/virginia_umc/. To follow or participate in conversations about Jurisdictional Conference on social media, use hashtags #sejumc16 and #VAUMC.


For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly magazine — now available in both print and digital formats. Click here to subscribe. Or call the Communications office at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or email Advocate@vaumc.org. For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org


 

 

 

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