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

May 5, 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?
    Find new podcasts to listen to at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
    In honor of Teacher Appreciation week, find ways to encourage and support our teachers!
  • 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...
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Common Table makes reductions in conference staff
On May 1, 2020, the Common Table made several staff changes in order to meet the Conference’s operational needs and to focus on fiscal management and stewardship. More...
Report shared with conference on in-person worship
A "Back to In-Person Worship Workgroup" was created to oversee how churches would safely return to in-person worship following the stay-at-home order. The workgroup shared a report detailing this work following Governor Northam's message on May 4 that Virginia will soon head into Phase 1 of reopening. More...
prayer
Invitation to conference-wide day of prayer, May 7
A prayer group at Trinity UMC in Richmond has been gathering to meditate on Scripture and pray for the life of the world in the early mornings. During the coronavirus pandemic, this group extends an invitation to all to participate in the conference-wide day of prayer, Thursday, May 7. According to Hilary Coakley, a member of the prayer group, “We believe that when we pray and cry out, God will listen to our prayers and deliver us from all our troubles.” More...
park view mission
Woman donates her stimulus check to Lynchburg food pantry
Shannon Brennan said she luckily didn’t have a need for the $1,200 stimulus check and gave it all up to the Park View Community Mission, a ministry in the Lynchburg District. “Park View takes care of a lot of people in this community, including some former students of mine,” Brennan said. More...
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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...
wesley seminary
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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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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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...
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...
covid season conversations
View past COVID-19 Season Conversations webinar
Examine our Wesleyan theology and faith in light of the current pandemic with "COVID Season Conversations” from the Office 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. 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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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

Helping out creatively during the pandemic
When the coronavirus shut down the world, the engineers at Asbury United Methodist Church got busy.
So did a bagpiper, two pastors and a licensed counselor. While United Methodists around the globe are working to feed the hungry, make face masks and give people attention while they are stuck inside, some are helping in ways that are more unusual. About 16 members of Asbury United Methodist Church in Columbus, Indiana, are engineers, including the Rev. Dave Blystone, Asbury’s pastor. Cummins Inc., a prominent engineering firm, is based in the city.
Asbury’s engineering group, Mission Columbus, has helped with disaster relief and renovated buildings for a homeless shelter and drug treatment center. More...
Bishop Harvey makes history as first Hispanic woman to be COB President
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Area has made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman to be president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. She is also the first woman of color to lead the more than 128 active and retired bishops of the one of the largest denominations in the world.
Bishop Harvey assumed the mantle of office last week as the active and retired bishops from around the globe gathered in a virtual meeting April 29 to May 1. More...
Publishing house laying off about 70 workers
The denomination’s oldest and largest agency, The United Methodist Publishing House, is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be laying off about 70 of its 296 employees in June. The Rev. Brian Milford, president and publisher, said sales levels are predicted to be 40% to 50% lower in 2020 over the same period in 2019 because of trends that began before the coronavirus and because congregations have suspended in-person worship during the pandemic.
When churches will reopen in 2020 and return to regular activities is still unpredictable, the publishing house said in a news release. The United Methodist Publishing House is self-sustaining and receives no general church funds, operating on earnings from sales. More...
Bishops told connection key in pandemic fight
United Methodist bishops initially expected to spend this year’s spring meeting preparing for a General Conference that possibly would split the denomination.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the denomination’s lawmaking assembly and put any plans for separation on hold. For the time being, United Methodists are doing ministry together even as quarantine requires they worship apart.
That global church connection could be critical in overcoming the hardships brought on by the disease, Bishop Kenneth Carter said during his final address as Council of Bishops president. “One of the implications of COVID-19 is that we are indeed together as a connection,” said Carter, who also leads the Florida Conference. “And in a season of trauma we claim our strengths — connection, mission, good news of grace.” More...