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Print and digital Coronavirus resources available at: https://vaumc.org/coronavirusresources/.
coronavirus resources

April 28, 2020

To submit news items, email conference Director of Communications at MadelineWhite@vaumc.org.

Conference Vision

In 2017, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared the vision of the conference "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?
    Check out different webinar resources with "Crucial Crisis Conversations" or "COVID Season Conversations." More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
    Practice gratefulness. Find time each day to practice mindfulness and be grateful for large things such as family and friends and things as small as a cup of coffee or the sound of birdsong.
  • How can you serve this week?
    Learn more about how you can support United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) during the pandemic. More...
Welcome to the new e-Advocate
Please send any issues or concerns to communications@vaumc.org. If the formatting gives you trouble in forwarding (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
watching tv
Four things churches can learn from Netflix
Every single day, more than 117 million people collectively watch more than 140 million hours of shows and movies on Netflix. That's about 1 hour and 11 minutes per person per day. During the COVID-19 outbreak, binge-watching time has surged. Can you imagine if people spent that kind of time with your church? Most churches would probably run out of things for their church members to watch, listen to and read pretty quickly. More...
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New conference Calling 21 summer internships canceled
In compliance with Governor Northam's stay-at-home order through June 10 and in concern for likely extended distancing precautions through the summer, it is with sadness and longing for a pandemic-free future that the Calling 21 leadership team has canceled the summer 2020 internships. Interns have been offered the option to defer to summer 2021. The team will continue to find ways to support young adults and their call into ministry, as they consider how to do so safely. Thank you for your continued support of this vital ministry during challenging times.
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June dates canceled for All God's Children Camp
The leadership of All God's Children Camp made the decision to cancel the camp for the week of June 14-19. However, the other two weeks of July 26-31 at Occohannock on the Bay and August 9-14 at Camp Chanco will remain on the schedule. Please consider mentoring with the organization this summer. This summer more than ever, our kids need camp to help bring back some normalcy in their lives! More...
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Bonhoeffer, Thurman and more online at Wesley this Summer
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wesley Theological Seminary is now offering all its upcoming summer courses online. The semester runs from May 26-August 1, 2020, with courses starting throughout the semester. Summer 2020 registration is now open. Don't let anything get in the way of God's call - study online at Wesley Theological Seminary. Summer online course highlights include:
  • ST-231-OL Bonheoffer in Post Truth World - Dr. Timothy Snyder
  • ST-247-OL Howard Thurman, Mystic, Prophetic, Theologian - Dr. C. Anthony Hunt
  • RA-175-OL Biblical Storytelling - Dr. Tracy Radosevic
  • CF-133-OL Teaching and Learning in Christian Education - Dr. Jana Strukova
  • CM-239-OL Ministry & Self-Care - Dr. Matthew Braddock
  • PW-314-HB To Live, To Pray, the Jesus Way: A Deep Dive Into The Lord's Prayer - Rev. Gina Campbell
For more information or to register, go to https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/try-a-class-2/.
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Building The Beloved Community: Online Window on Wesley Webinar on April 30
The concept of The Beloved Community, popularized by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is an intrinsic part of how Wesley Theological Seminary has developed its student body and education. Learn from a professional faculty member panel on diversity at Wesley and how you can be a part of our community. To register, go to http://ow.ly/9YK550zp0r5. Got questions? Go to www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/explorewesley/ or contact the Admissions Team at (202) 885-8659, admissions@wesleyseminary.edu or set up a time to chat with Liz or Elijah at www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/contact-us-3.
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New conference website unveiled
You may have noticed a new conference website was quietly launched late last week. The Communications staff is thrilled to release this new resource and the new possibilities it allows for future communications and resources.
Look around the website at www.vaumc.org to familiarize yourself with the new features and the new layout. You will notice the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the website which will allow you to search the website for anything you might need.
Unfortunately, all the internal and external links had to be changed with the move to a new platform and host. Please be aware of this if you have shared documents from the conference website. You will need to redo links you have shared in the past.
If you have questions or concerns, please email communications @vaumc.org.
Please know that we are working speedily and diligently on any questions or concerns you may have. Please be patient with us during this process as we are continuing to update content and to process the technical aspects of the website.
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New COVID-19 Season Conversation
Examine our Wesleyan theology and faith in light of the current pandemic with "COVID Season Conversations” from the Director of Connectional Ministries. New conversations will be posted at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays every two weeks featuring a theologian or other faith specialist on issues related to staying connected in the COVID-19 pandemic with a brief presentation and time for discussion and questions.
On
April 29, 2020 at 10 a.m., Dr. Philip Wingeier-Rayo, Wesley Theological Seminary, Professor of Wesleyan Studies and Missiology, will speak about Mission Ministry through the COVID Season.
Join Zoom Meeting at https://zoom.us/j/95541151161 or call 1-301-715-8592 with Meeting ID: 955 4115 1161. More...
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Connectional Ministries Office continues multi-year alignment: Common Table makes structural, financial, staff changes
Beginning in 2018 and with a more intensive focus in the fall of 2019, the Common Table sought structural, financial, and human resource alignment to fulfill the conference vision adopted in June 2017. The Virginia Conference Common Table is now announcing an update to the Connectional Ministries Vision Alignment process as of March 2020. The process included a review of all current staff positions under Connectional Ministries. More...
counting abacus
Cabinet releases guidelines on online worship counts
"With the state-wide cancellation of all in-person worship beginning March 15, 2020, most Virginia churches have moved to electronic or digital forms of worship. We, the Cabinet, recognize during these unusual days that the ability to count per person attendance accurately as we have in the past is not reliable online given the current technology and various reporting data processes by online service providers." Learn more at the link about guidelines on how to fill out your online worship in EVC. More...
crucial crisis conversations
Join in for 'Crucial Crisis Conversations'
“Crucial Crisis Conversations” is a new webinar series that will share information pertinent to clergy, laity and local churches during the current pandemic from leaders at the Virginia Conference Center. You can view past conversations and more about upcoming webinars at the link. More...
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The United Methodist Credit Union offers assistance
If your church or UMC-affiliated organization wants to participate in the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but hasn't applied yet or hasn't found an institution willing or able to assistant you, please contact The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU). If you're not already a member, you can quickly become one and apply for this program using a convenient online application. If you have an urgent need, TUMCU can also help your church or organization with a low-interest bridge loan or line-of-credit while you await SBA funding. Please call Jomin Mujar at (804) 672-0200 for more details or visit their website. More...
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Stay the Course, Stay Strong: A Word from Bishop Lewis
Bishop Lewis shared a letter on April 14 encouraging the conference to maintain standards of a stay-at-home order for the foreseeable future. More...
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Join Conference Center Chapel services on April 29
Though the conference center remains closed until further notice, weekly online Wednesday services started back up on April 8. You can find the ZOOM link inviting you to the services on the conference Facebook page.
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FAQ document shared concerning recent Virginia Conference response, precautions to COVID-19
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document was shared March 16 in order to share important dates for the Virginia Conference to know in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please refer to this document going forward as all changes in precautions and important dates will be noted here. As more information is released by Bishop Lewis in the coming days and weeks, the conference website and this document will be updated accordingly. More...

General Church News

Impact of COVID-19 on United Methodist churches
The United Methodist Communications Research Team launched a study on March 26 to assess the impact of the coronavirus on local church activity levels, including ways churches are adapting and identifying interest in resources and tools to support local church during the crisis. More...
UMCOR COVID-19 Response Fund
Since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, UMCOR has been working with health boards, medical professionals, disaster management coordinators and faith leaders to prevent the further spread of this disease. Through the UMCOR COVID-19 Response fund, grants will be rapidly released to equip partners to assist vulnerable populations around the world impacted by COVID-19, including racial/ethnic and indigenous communities in the United States. Grants from this fund will be disbursed quickly and efficiently to address health concerns, food insecurity, water and hygiene limitations and other pressing needs. More...
Helping Native communities amid COVID-19 crisis
A Phoenix-based Early Response Team trained by the United Methodist Committee on Relief was quick to respond to a call for help from the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian reservation in the U.S., which has 174,000 residents and spans portions of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. By March 22, nearly 100 patients infected with COVID-19 filled the small clinics on the reservation and the two closest hospitals in Tuba City, Arizona, and Shiprock, New Mexico. Neither hospital was designed for trauma or serious illness. More...
Tentative General Conference dates publicized
After the pandemic-caused postponement, the new prospective dates for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference are Aug. 31-Sept. 10, 2021.
The Council of Bishops disclosed the proposed dates, including a Council of Bishops meeting starting Aug. 26, in an email to its members and other church leaders. The proposed dates also were discussed among delegates of at least one jurisdictional conference in late March. General Conference organizers have not confirmed the dates. More...