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

January 26, 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?

Learn more about Syracuse University Ph.D. student Jin Zhao’s groundbreaking work with the Asian Mental Health Collective which engages more than 52,700 users worldwide. As leader of the Listeners Program, Zhao helps to break down cultural and theoretical barriers for Asian American therapy. Read article...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Mass migration to virtual education creates space for innovation, especially at Duke University. A class of accelerated nursing students learned about postpartum and newborn assessment through a virtual escape room. See how Dr. McMillian-Bohler made this online adventure possible. #umschoolsinspire Learn more...
  • How can you serve this week?

Learn more about the Abundant Health Initiative launched by Global Ministries in 2017. Since the launch, Global Ministries has invested more than $26 million in 50 countries and mobilized millions more in partner in-kind contributions to reach 1 million children and adolescents with health interventions in thousands of communities across Asia, Africa, North America, and Latin America. Global Ministries’ staff evaluates monthly data collected from United Methodist health centers across the globe. By understanding the “big picture” based on data carefully recorded by trained health professionals, the Global Health unit can design comprehensive interventions to fill the gaps in service that, left unchecked, lead to ill health and death for children and babies. Learn more and give to the Advance...

Virginia News

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New videos added to Cabinet race relations curriculum

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.

Videos 4-6 have now been added to the curriculum. Learn more and access curriculum and videos at www.vaumc.org/racerelations.
gbhem aid

GBHEM offering financial assistance to qualified students

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is offering financial assistance through their spring loan application. The application is open to qualified students through May 5. Learn more...

GBHEM also offers a general application for all GBHEM scholarships.

Back to In-person Worship Work Group provides Ash Wednesday resources

Given the continuing pandemic restrictions, churches and worship leaders are exploring different methods for observing Ash Wednesday on February 17 this year. 2021 The work group notes that the Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments is recommending that “no gatherings in any indoor venue take place for either Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday in the United States.” Find resources...
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Bailey Scholar application deadline is Feb. 8, 2021

Do you know a high school senior discerning a call to ministry? Whether they feel called to be a pastor, a youth minister, a music minister, a religious studies professor, a faith-based nonprofit leader, military or hospital chaplain, Randolph-Macon College’s Bailey Scholars Program could help them (a) afford college and (b) find a supportive community for vocational discernment as they grow in college and prepare for seminary.

At the link are two fliers in the right column to share with your youth group, in your church newsletter, on social media, etc. Randolph-Macon College is the oldest continuously operating Methodist college in the United States, and is committed to nurturing a new generation of leaders both in the UMC and across denominational lines too. Application deadline is Feb. 8, 2021. If you have questions, email [email protected].

Hear from missionaries around the world with Global Ministries

Join Global Ministries on February 4 at 7 p.m. as they explore the transforming work of United Methodist missionaries serving around the world. During this Zoom call, you will be able to meet in a small group to hear a presentation from a single missionary during the call. Find out more about these missionaries below, or at www.umcmission.org.
  • Ho Yan Lee is serving as a Peace Process Accompanier with the Centre for peace & Conflict Studies in Cambodia.
  • Juarez Goncalves is serving as the Conference Coordinator for Latino Ministries & Church Developer for Brazilian Ministries with Igreja Metodista in the United States.
  • Clara Biswas is serving as the Director for Street Children Ministry in Cambodia.
  • Brenda Nguwa is serving as the Coordinator for Youth Ministry & Social Outreach Programs with Gereja Methodist in Indonesia.
Registration is limited. You will get a confirmation email once your registration is accepted. If the limit is reached, you will get priority for future events. Register now...
tumcu logo

TUMCU offering PPP loans again

The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is proud to have helped hundreds of United Methodist churches and related organizations receive critical funding through the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program. So many churches and faith-based organizations are struggling to keep their doors open and their ministries alive - and this program can help. TUMCU is ready to assist members in securing these forgivable loans as quickly as possible. Because of the extended timeframe of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA is sponsoring another round of PPP funding, and TUMCU would like to assist as many ministries as it can. To this end, TUMCU has just opened the online portal to these new PPP funds and ask that you share this information with a trustee, finance committee member, pastor, or COM chair at your church. Since some of the rules have changed since the first round of loans (including some eligibility changes), please check out their PPP information page.
meet new employees

Meet new Connectional Ministries staff through video

While we have introduced the conference to the new Connectional Ministries staff, the Communications Office would like you to see more of their personalities as well as know their faces. Please reach out to our new staff to welcome them to the conference office. On our YouTube page, the first video is a short intro video for all our staff. The individual introduction videos get to the hard questions such as, "What is your go to karaoke song?" or "What would your superpower be?" View videos...
wesley seminary

Learn about upcoming opportunities at Wesley Theological Seminary

      New Track begins May 2021 for Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary

      The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on us all, 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: February 15, 2021. For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Chip Aldridge at [email protected] or call 703-736-1549. View the course schedule: https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/doctorofministry/soul-care/. To apply: https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/apply/.

      Wesley Merit Scholarship Deadline approaches!

      Do you know someone who is delaying attending seminary for financial reasons? Wesley wants to help! A wide range of merit scholarships are offered by Wesley Theological Seminary that can cover from 25% to 100% of a four year Masters of Divinity degree. To be considered for scholarships for degree programs starting Fall 2021, applications must be submitted by February 1, 2021. For more information, contact Admissions at [email protected], (202)885-8659 or learn more at https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/financial-aid-and-tuition/scholarships/.
      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.

      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.
      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

      Hanging tough, moving forward

      UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- 2020 had it all, unfortunately, when it comes to natural disasters. Wildfires, derechos, hurricanes and tornadoes battered the lives, homes and churches of United Methodists. Running concurrently since March was the coronavirus, deadly in its own right and complicating rescue and recovery efforts. “The struggles in some ways brought people closer together,” said Roland Fernandes, the top executive of United Methodist Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. “You’re supposed to change and adapt and I think that people have shown a lot of resilience.” Read more...

      Virtual worship is here for good

      UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- Her journalism training in college became particularly relevant when the coronavirus pandemic struck, said the Rev. Amy Wilson Feltz of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in El Paso, Texas. The rise of COVID-19 last March prodded many churches, including St. Paul’s, to improve or start from scratch what they offered on the internet. “I did have the basic knowledge of video editing and graphic design and photography and things like that,” Feltz said. “I graduated many moons ago from (Abilene Christian University), but the basic knowledge was helpful.” The Rev. Mark Nakagawa, the West District superintendent in the California-Pacific Conference, said the coronavirus offered “a Kairos moment for the church.” “Kairos” is a Greek word meaning a right, critical or opportune moment. “For the church, (COVID-19) has brought the future to our doorstep and it has compelled churches to make changes they’ve been meaning to make for decades,” said Nakagawa, who is also currently serving as the administrative pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. “At the same time, it has given churches opportunities to be creative in ways that we never thought we would have to be.” Read more...

      Retired pastor starts online ‘Doubter’s Parish’

      UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- The golf course doesn’t beckon to the Rev. Martin Thielen in his retirement from United Methodist ministry. Nor does woodworking or tending a vegetable garden at his Cookeville, Tennessee, home. What Thielen likes to do is write — especially for readers with doubts about Christian faith. He’s been in their shoes. Still is. “I’m very much a lover of Jesus, but I struggle with some of the traditional beliefs myself, and I certainly struggle with institutional religion,” he said. Thielen, 64, last month launched Doubter’s Parish, a website where skeptics and what he calls “thinking Christians with questions” can read his writings and contact him. The apostle Thomas, as in Doubting Thomas, is the site’s patron saint. Its touchstone verse is Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Thielen is a former Tennessee Conference megachurch pastor and a published author. His 2011 book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” has been a hit by religion book standards, selling about 50,000 copies. Doubter’s Parish is a retirement project and a labor of love, offering free access to Thielen’s sermons, essays, blog posts, book excerpts and a novel he wrote about a pastor’s faith crisis. “Through the years, I’ve always had a heart for doubters,” he said. “I’m not trying to be Mr. Answer Man, but I do want to be a voice for those that struggle.” Read more...

      One Last Word: Praising my Savior all the day long!

      this is my story
      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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