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To submit news items or events, email conference Director of Communications at [email protected].

January 12, 2021

Conference Vision

"to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

new succulent
  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

If decluttering is one of your goals for 2021, consider how a spiritual declutter might transform your life. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

General Commission on Religion and Race: Plan to join on January 19, join the I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist. writers and editor Rudy Rasmus in a robust discussion moderated by M. Garlinda Burton. In the book, 10 Black women and men explore life through the lens of compelling, personal accounts. They are leaders whose lives are tangible demonstrations of the power of a divine purpose and evidence of what grace really means in the face of hardship, disappointment, and determination. Learn more...
  • How can you serve this week?

Your support to Global Ministries supports the training of pastors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and cultivate communities of faith. Learn how to help...

Virginia News


Conference Center closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The conference center in Glen Allen will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 18. The staff will be back at work on Tuesday, January 19.
shenandoah university

Shenandoah University event center to serve as large vaccination site

WDVM- Shenandoah University is turning its athletics center into a large scale COVID-19 vaccination site. Starting this week, the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center at Shenandoah University will serve as a mass vaccination site. The athletics center will be open for about 12 hours each day for vaccinations, with hopes of vaccinating anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 people per day. The university has partnered with Valley Health to start vaccinations for group 1B which includes frontline workers, people over the age of 75, people living in congregational living facilities like homeless shelters and correctional facilities, and teachers. Senior Vice President of Shenandoah University Mitch Moore stated that the Wilkins Center had been built with three objectives in mind: to house practice and training spaces for the university’s athletic teams, to serve as a convention or large community event space, and to have the capacity to become a place of refuge in the event of an emergency. “This is not unusual and something that has been planned for since the building was conceived,” Moore stated. Read story...

Join United Methodist Men webinar on intentional discipleship

One of the most important things you can do in the process of “making disciples of Jesus Christ” is to engage men of all ages and backgrounds in ministry. The most effective tools we have available are the men who are currently involved in our various church ministries. How can we more effectively utilize these men to reach younger men?

Please plan to join the United Methodist Men tonight, January 12, at 6:30 p.m. for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar to learn about The Wesley Challenge from David Bean, No Man Left Behind from Todd Hoar, and Wesleyan Building Brothers (WBB) from Johnnie Draughon.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/komBF24v0

The next Love, Learn, and Lead webinar is Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 PM EST. The Rev. Wayne Snead, District Superintendent of the Elizabeth River District, will lead a conversation on personal prayer.
Webinar recordings will be posted on our website https://vaumc.org/UMM.
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Take part in conference Chapel service each Wednesday

You are invited to join the staff at the Virginia United Methodist Center for Wednesday morning chapel services. The services are conducted on Zoom and run from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. each Wednesday morning. The service features guest clergy and laypeople from around the conference.

This week, January 13, the Rev. Drew Ensz, Director of Arise, United College Ministries in Northern Virginia, will lead chapel.

The following Zoom meeting link will be used for all chapel services.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 949 3801 3018
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+13017158592,,94938013018# US (Germantown)
8558801246,,94938013018# US Toll-free
dr fauci

Watch recorded discussion with Dr. Fauci about COVID-19 vaccine

In partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health, and the VCU Massey Cancer Center, faith leaders and all Virginians were invited to a virtual discussion on the COVID-19 vaccine with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci on Friday, January, 8, 2021 as part of “Facts & Faith Friday."

If you missed the event, you can view the recorded webinar at the link. If you want to skip ahead, Dr. Fauci begins his presentation at the 37th minute. As well, Bishop Lewis asks a question at the 1 hour and 17-minute mark.

Facts & Faith Friday's began in March 2020 as a weekly call led by Robert Winn, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center, with African American clergy in Virginia to address the disparate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community. The call has evolved to address high rates of cancer and other health issues in diverse communities.
um day

Mostly virtual United Methodist Day 2021 is Jan. 18-Jan. 22

United Methodist Day at the General Assembly will look a little different this year. Some changes are required by the safety protocols employed by the state due to COVID-19. Other changes are in order to best use and share the resources with participants.

This year, United Methodists will learn to expand United Methodist Day to advocate more than just one day to protect the vulnerable of our state and nation from January 18, 2021, 12 p.m. through January 22, 2021, 5 p.m. To register, visit the link. Cost is $20 and $5 for students. There are scholarships available for those who cannot pay.

The Conference Legislative Network (CLN) is partnering with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) and their “Day for All People 2021 Advocacy Week” for a week of workshops, services opportunities, prayer vigils, and so much more.

In early January, various resources including videos, book and movie suggestions, websites, and other resources are being shared.

Join on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, Martin Luther King Day, for time with Bishop Sharma Lewis as the guest speaker, and then spend part of the afternoon in service. Tuesday through Thursday will include workshops, meeting with state senators and delegates.

Tuesday will feature Governor Ralph Northam as the guest speaker. Friday, January 22, is United Methodist Day at the General Assembly with planning opportunities for sharing and reflection, an opportunity to take part in a Prayer Vigil (both in-person and virtual opportunities), and more.

For more information contact the Rev. Barbara Lewis at [email protected].
umfs autism story

UMFS Kinship Care family featured in the Washington Post

United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) kinship care parents Chris and Naomi Sicks were featured in the recent Washington Post article, “An Autistic teen found a forever family because of a persistent aunt. But too few children in Virginia get that chance, a report finds.” Kinship care is a powerful approach in which youth in foster care are paired with relatives or close family friends. Click here to read the article and learn more about their journey. A wide body of research supports the notion that children do best with kin and that family connections are vital to healthy child development, a sense of belonging, and to preserving a child’s cultural identity and relationship to their community. Unfortunately, Virginia ranks last in the nation for kinship care. UMFS is advocating for the expansion of kinship care in Virginia and is working hard to support kinship placements and families like the Sicks family. Click here to learn more about kinship care at UMFS. Read story...
wesley seminary

Wesley Doctor of Ministry in Soul Care for Pastors, Chaplains and Clinicians; New Track Begins this May

2020 may be over, but it has taken a toll on everyone, particularly for those called to care for the souls of persons and congregations: pastors, chaplains, and clinicians. Why not commit to self-care in 2021 and renew, refresh, and support your essential ministry in care and counseling by starting your Doctor of Ministry in Soul Care for Pastors, Chaplains, and Clinicians at Wesley?

A new Soul Care cohort begins in May 2021. Deadline to apply is February 15. For more information, contact the Rev. Chip Aldridge at [email protected] or call 703-736-1549. View the course schedule at www.wesleyseminary.edu/doctorofministry/soul-care/. To apply, visit www.wesleyseminary.edu/apply/.
sprin training

2021 Cross-racial/Cross-Cultural Ministry Spring Training

Pastors with brand new cross-racial/ cross-cultural (CR/CC) appointments, pastors with continuing CR/CC appointments, SPRC chairs, and lay leaders of CR/CC churches, bishops, district superintendents, conference staff – any and everyone who will be impacted by the new/continuing CR/CC appointment should attend this virtual event hosted by the North Texas Conference. The webinar dates are April 30-May 1, 2021. Learn more...

Join the 2021 Bible Challenge

Bishop Lewis has encouraged the clergy and laity of the Virginia Conference to read the Bible in a year since 2017. Each year has featured a different way of reading.
  • 2017- read the Bible straight through
  • 2018- read the Bible chronologically
  • 2019- read the Bible in a blended style; a mixture of Old Testament readings and New Testament each day.
  • 2020-read the Bible with a thematic reading plan
  • 2021- read the Bible straight through from Genesis –Revelation
Join in 2021 and commit to reading the Bible all the way through Genesis-Revelation in one year. You can access the daily readings by visiting the conference website or BibleGateway.com.
Reminder: the 2020 Bible Challenge will finish up on January 13, 2021. You can still access the readings at the conference website.

Tips on reading the Bible daily:
  1. Set aside a specific time and place each day. Set your schedule and then stick to it. Mornings are great, but feel free to use any time that works consistently with your schedule.
  2. Get a good study Bible to help to illuminate the meaning of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text.
  3. Choose a translation to use during your reading.
  4. Say a short prayer to God before you begin, asking the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding.
  5. Dive in and enjoy the richness of God’s Word! Apply God’s Word to your life. Bible study should be practical and applicable. These seven steps will help you begin a journey in becoming a “lifelong learner” of God’s Word.
bright spots

Look out for 'Bright Spots' video series

'Bright Spots' is a video series that highlights where God is working in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view the videos on the conference Facebook page or on the conference YouTube page. So far, the video has covered a church helping their members make their home sacred places, a 'Hope tree' that is an uplifting spot for the entire community, and a long-term care facility that just received its first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Email [email protected] if you have a 'Bright Spot' we should feature. View the video series...
va roots

New video series curriculum focuses on race relations

On May 29, 2020, Bishop Sharma Lewis asked the question, “When do we as children of God in the second largest annual conference in The United Methodist connection decide to have the crucial conversations and examine our own experiential and inherited stories of race and racism?” The Race and Race Relations Subgroup of the Bishop’s Cabinet began work to help answer that question.
The Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship curriculum is a first step to address racism in the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This series includes videos and interviews that acknowledge and document Virginia’s role in forming and continuing race prejudice and racial discrimination embedded in laws, customs, and institutions, including the church.
This resource is a work in progress with three sessions currently with more to come in the next few months. The resource includes a participant’s guide, facilitator’s notes, a one-minute introductory video for each episode, and 12-14 videos when completed.
The small group study encourages participants to listen, learn, and engage in healthy dialogue about history, race, and discipleship. The goal is for all clergy and laity to acknowledge racism as a sin and take action to dismantle racism in our families, houses of worship, our community, and the workplace.
Learn more and access curriculum and videos at www.vaumc.org/racerelations.
lewis moxley masks

Pandemic update: Why continue wearing a mask?

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a document, a resource shared with the conference by Dr. George Moxley of the conference's In-person workgroup, which is a consensus statement designed to provide national guidance for the public on wearing face coverings to decrease the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was developed by the AAMC Research and Action Institute in conjunction with leading experts in public health as part of The Way Forward on COVID-19: A Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic released by the AAMC on July 29, 2020. View the document.

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis talked with Dr. George Moxley, VCU Health, about the continuing work Virginia United Methodists must do, such as wearing face masks, as the nation and world continue to manage the effects of COVID-19. Dr. Moxley is one of the medical professionals on the In-person workgroup which was formed in April by Bishop Lewis to oversee how churches in the Virginia Conference could safely return to worship.

This video has English, Spanish, and Korean subtitles. Part 2 is also now available. Stay updated on how the Virginia Conference churches are going back to worship by visiting: vaumc.org/return/. Learn more...

General Church News

Assault on U.S. Capitol dismays United Methodists

UNITED METHODIST NEWS --Throughout the evening of Jan. 6 and into the early morning, the Rev. Alisa Lasater Wailoo was texting with members of Capitol Hill United Methodist Church who were under siege at the U.S. Capitol.

The Capitol Hill church, at Fifth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, is about five blocks away. Many members also live in the neighborhood and know someone who works at the building, the pastor said.

United Methodists both near and far were disturbed by the actions of a mob that forced its way into the U.S. Capitol as Congress was starting to fulfill its constitutional role by certifying the election of the next U.S. president. Read more...

Grappling with postponed General Conference

UNITED METHODIST NEWS --Organizers have yet to determine whether the pandemic-postponed General Conference can go forward as planned on Aug. 29-Sept. 7 in Minneapolis. In the meantime, the Commission on the General Conference has decided not to reopen the usual process for accepting petitions — that is, proposed legislation — to The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body. That could have implications for the ability of General Conference delegates to have access to some big legislative proposals — including one outlining a potential denominational split — ahead of the assembly. The Book of Discipline, which contains the laws General Conference approves, says that petitions can be submitted until 230 days before General Conference. That would make Jan. 11 the deadline based on the late summer 2021 dates for the postponed General Conference. Read more...

Missionaries cope with coronavirus challenges

UNITED METHODIST NEWS --As Chanmony Ek goes about her missionary work in South Africa, more than 6,000 miles from her home in Cambodia, the threat of the coronavirus leads to dire thoughts. “What if I get infected by COVID-19 and my situation got worse? I might die here, plus my family is not going to see me a last time,” Ek wrote in an email to UM News about the stress of the pandemic. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has 350 missionaries serving in 70 different nations, said the Rev. Judy Chung, executive director of missionary service. The highest numbers are located, in order, in Africa, North America and Asia. “We did offer to evacuate our missionaries back in March when we didn’t know exactly what the reality would be,” Chung told UM News, adding that just a few evacuated. She said most wanted to “stay in place to be engaged in mission.” Read more...

Ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Day under COVID

RESOURCE UMC --The COVID-19 pandemic continues and though the new vaccine offers new hope, it will take time to administer it to enough people before it is safe to stop following protective guidelines. We can safely assume that Americans will need to continue to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing well into 2021, which means congregations need to plan their events for the coming year with these guidelines in mind.

Martin Luther King Day is on Monday, January 18, 2021. Americans have set aside this day to honor the memory of this great civil rights icon and social prophet. For many congregations the weekend before MLK Day is a time of celebration, community outreach, and continued advocacy for justice. Many churches may not be able to observe the holiday in all the same ways they might have pre-COVID. There are, however, still many ways they can honor Dr. King’s memory and witness in 2021 while still keeping their community members safe. Read more...

One Last Word

and let us Consider
The use of face masks is one way that United Methodists can continue to show their care and concern for all of their neighbors as the nation and world continue to grapple with COVID-19. Thank you, Virginia Conference, for showing your ‘Faces of Care.’

Learn more from a two-part series in which Bishop Lewis talked with Dr. George Moxley, VCU Health, about the importance of wearing masks.

Learn more about the three-stage return to in-person worship at Virginia Conference churches: https://vaumc.org/return/

Please send any issues or concerns to [email protected]. If the formatting gives you trouble in forwarding (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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