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

February 9, 2021

Conference Vision

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

new succulent

Virginia News

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Here are some creative ways United Methodists are observing Ash Wednesday during the COVID-19 pandemic while staying healthy and social distancing. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Black History Month isn't just the celebration of Black voices, it's also about turning up the volume on those that remain oppressed. In the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM')s "Leading in Crisis" series, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling - BWC Bishop provides perspective on what it is like as a Black leader in ministry. Hear more...
  • How can you serve this week?

Did you know that The Advance through General Board of Global Ministries offers ways that you can support missionaries and ministries in specific areas of service, in a certain part of the world, or with projects you are passionate about, such as evangelism, education, migration, women and children, community development and so much more? Explore the ways United Methodists can make a difference today: https://umcmission.org/about-the-advance/.

Virginia News

district alignment

Update shared about District Alignment

February 8, 2021-- Bishop Lewis shared an update on District Alignment through video and a letter. This work has been formed around the question, “How can districts most effectively order themselves for the adaptive challenges of the 21st century?” Learn more about the proposed recommendations and the District Alignment Team (DAT). View link for video, letter, FAQs, feedback form, and other resources. Learn more...
appointments 2021 FINAL

District Superintendent retirements, other appointments announced

Bishop Lewis announced the appointments of district superintendents starting on July 1, 2021. Other changes were also announced. Learn more...
gc 2021 webinar

Learn more in upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conference Information Webinar

Facilitated by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Western Pennsylvania Conference and hosted Tyrus Sturgis, Director of Leader Communications at United Methodist Communications, participants and viewers will see presentations on:
  • The state of General Church finances (General Council on Finance and Administration)
  • The state of the Episcopal Fund
  • General Conference options
  • Jurisdictional Study Committee Report
  • Episcopal election recommendation from the Council of Bishops (Bishop Cynthia Fierro-Harvey)
Delegates will participate via Zoom and will receive their invitation from jurisdictional secretaries.
Everyone else may view the live stream at www.ResourceUMC.org/USJurisdictionalWebinar. Learn more...
covid connection

New video series shares education, positivity during ongoing pandemic

The Return to In-Person and the Mission & Ministry Workgroups, two teams formed by Bishop Lewis during the pandemic to safely return United Methodists to worship and the life of the church, are now sharing a video series titled "COVID Connection." This video series will seek to educate and inform as well as share positivity as the pandemic continues. In this video, the Rev. Alex Joyner, Eastern Shore DS, shares resources and ideas for Ash Wednesday. Find the resources he mentions at this link: https://vaumc.org/return/. Watch video...
rmc convergence

Learn more about Convergence program at Randolph-Macon College

Excitement for Convergence: A High School Youth Theology Institute at Randolph-Macon College is heating up! Don’t let your current 9th, 10th, or 11th-grade students miss out on this phenomenal opportunity to explore the connection between Christian faith and mainstream science in a virtual classroom, laboratory, and outdoor experiences with Convergence 2021.

Convergence 2021 will be held June 21-22, June 28-29, July 7, and July 25 – 28. All sessions are designed as stand-alone events, and participants are encouraged to join in as many sessions as possible. Visit convergence.rmc.edu. to view this year’s schedule and topics. Thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, all participants will benefit from a reduced cost for individual sessions or $265 per camper for all four sessions. Additionally, participants who complete all four sessions and are accepted into Randolph-Macon will receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college.

Though last year’s in-person Convergence program was canceled due to COVID-19, the program brought 87 outstanding students from Virginia Conference congregations to Randolph-Macon’s virtual classroom. To nominate a participant, please click here to fill out the nomination form. When the nomination is received, the Convergence Staff will contact your nominee with further information. To apply for Convergence, please click here.

For questions or additional information about the program, please contact Rev. Kendra Grimes or Jamie Grant at [email protected] or (804) 752-7374.
mlk wesley seminary

SAVE THE DATE: 2021 Wesley Theological Seminary Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture, Thursday, February 18, 2021, 4:30 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Wesley Theological Seminary is pleased to invite all to hear this year's guest lecturer, Allissa V. Richardson, PhD, assistant professor of journalism at The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism (USCAnnenberg) in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Richardson's focus of research is on "how African Americans use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism — especially in times of crisis." Richardson’s research is informed by her award-winning work as a journalism innovator. She is considered a pioneer in mobile journalism (MOJO), having launched the world’s first smartphone-only college newsrooms in 2010, in the U.S., Morocco, and South Africa. She is the author of Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism (Oxford University Press, 2020). A question and answer period will follow the lecture during the Dean's Forum, moderated by The Rev. Dr. Asa Lee, Associate Dean for Community Life and Director of African American Church Studies. Learn more...
wesley seminary

Application deadline February 15, 2021 for Wesley Doctor of Ministry in Soul Care for Pastors, Chaplains, and Clinicians

      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/.
      Annual Conference 2021 (1)

      Annual Conference 2021 will be virtual event from June 18-19

      Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, together with the Annual Conference Planning Team, announced the 2021 Virginia Annual Conference will be a virtual event held June 18-19.

      Business of the Annual Conference will be limited, due to economic constraints, only to Friday, June 18. The conference will again be using Lumi Global as the platform vendor.
      Worship services and time for district-based service opportunities will be conducted on Saturday, June 19.
      The theme for 2021 is “United as One” with the guiding Scripture of John 17:20-23 (NRSV). The official logo and more information coming soon. Learn more...

      dismantling racism umc logo

      Dismantling racism will be topic of March 16 United Methodist Men-sponsored Zoom event

      The Southeastern Jurisdiction recently sponsored an online training session for over 400 elected delegates on issues affecting the United Methodist Church including funding for the episcopacy (bishops), whether a General Conference will be held this year, and Dismantling Racism.

      According to Andrew Kissell, jurisdictional president of United Methodist Men (UMM) and a lay member of the Virginia Conference, “United Methodist bishops are still working hard to learn, lead and love in this regard and will not back down from confronting this virulent strain of exclusion we call racism or white supremacy.” Kissell said one of the speakers at this jurisdictional event shared with him how the UMM can help.
      On the day of the violent events in the nation’s capitol January 6, the Council of Bishops endorsed a letter from Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference condemning “…all the forces that led to the unprecedented insurrection today — forces of hate, of white supremacy, of distorted self-interest, and abuse of power.'”
      As explained at the jurisdictional event, more than anyone else, it was individual United Methodist men who complained about this letter from the Council.
      Kissell encourages the UMM to help "by boldly promoting dialogue on race; by becoming allies for change; and by recognizing that as lifelong learners we may be of much greater help when we actively listen to the victims’ stories of hate and exclusion.”
      Join the Virginia Conference UMM for a Zoom forum on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. that will be moderated by Kissell. Learn more about the event at this link.
      Guest speakers will include:
      • The Rev. Reason Chandler, Jackson St. UMC, Lynchburg;
      • The Rev. Brenda Laws, Greenbackville Charge, New Church
      • The Rev. Larry Jent, Grace UMC (Hartwood), Fredericksburg
      • The Rev. Jeff Mickle, Alexandria District Superintendent

      Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89824607164
      Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164

      Fellowships across the Commonwealth are also using a Virginia Conference video and curriculum series on Race Relations to explore the injustices of systemic, institutional racism available at https://vaumc.org/racerelationsvideos/.

      join us cropped

      Join the weekly Chapel Service at the Virginia Conference Center

      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, February 10 will feature the Rev. Debra Lucas, pastor of Harmony (Hamilton) in the Winchester District.

      February 17, Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Lindsey Baynham, director of the conference Center for Clergy Excellence, will lead worship.

      The following Zoom meeting link will be used for all chapel services.
      Join Zoom Meeting:
      Meeting ID: 949 3801 3018
      One tap mobile
      +13017158592,,94938013018# US (Germantown)
      8558801246,,94938013018# US Toll-free
      intentional growth center

      Apply for grant funding education programs increasing pastoral and congregational effectiveness

      The Intentional Growth Center (IGC) exists to provide funds for educational programs that increase pastoral and congregational effectiveness in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

      The purpose of IGC is to provide grants that make possible programs for increasing Christian Discipleship and Church Leader Development for clergy and laity of all denominations, but with primary attention to persons of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. The deadline to apply for a grant from the Intentional Growth Center is February 15, 2021, midnight ET. Grants are expected to be awarded in May of 2021. Don't miss this great opportunity to further your organization's mission and ministry.

      For more information and the online application, visit:
      su youth theology institute

      Nominations and applications open for Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute

      Is there high schooler in your life who is ready to learn about how their faith in Jesus Christ calls them to live and be in the world in a way that seeks justice, all while earning college credit that they can carry with them wherever they go after high school? Nominate and encourage them to apply for the Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute (SUYTI). SUYTI is a two-week, credit-bearing program for any young person who is currently in high school (that is, any student who will be a rising sophomore through recent high school graduate this summer). Through a daily rhythm of worship, academic study, experiential and service learning, and (of course) sabbath rest, students will learn to become stronger Christian leaders and return home equipped to be change-agents for the reign of God. The 2021 Institute will run from July 18-31, 2021 on Shenandoah University’s main campus in Winchester. Thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment, students will have all that SUYTI has to offer (room and board, program expenses, and three college credits) at a cost of only $200 per student. However, 2021 will be the final session, so now is the perfect time to apply! To nominate a student or to apply, visit www.su.edu/youththeology. For more information, contact Ian Urriola, Director of the SUYTI, by calling (540) 665-5453 or emailing [email protected].
      heart havens logo big

      February is Heart Havens month

      The Virginia Conference has designated February as Heart Havens Month, one of six special offerings throughout the year. There are seven Heart Havens homes across the conference, where men and women with a developmental disability are empowered to be full members of the body of Christ, and active participants in their communities.

      The theme for Heart Havens Month this year is "A Different Perspective." Heart Havens' goal is 100 monthly Heart Havens donors. Please help out the organization by sharing their video, graphic, or Bishop’s prayer for Heart Havens during a worship service this month?
      If you would like a virtual speaker for Sunday morning worship or a UMM/UMW or another small group meeting, please contact Jennifer Boyden at 804-506-8667 or [email protected].
      Access worship resources for the month here.
      va roots

      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.

      Deadline nears for communications ministry scholarship and fellowship

      Persons interested in pursuing a career in religious communications are encouraged to explore education support offered by United Methodist Communications. Eligible parties have until March 15 to submit their applications for scholarship and fellowship consideration.For 80 years, United Methodist Communications and its predecessors have led the church in telling inspirational stories of God's work in the world through The United Methodist Church, reaching new people, supporting local churches in vibrant communications ministry, equipping leaders and delivering messages of hope and healing. Assisting the next generation of communicators is an important way that the agency fulfills their mission. Learn more...

      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. The work group noted 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...
      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.
      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

      umc music

      Clergy record free music videos for Lenten season

      UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- Two Korean United Methodist clergy came together to record free hymns and special music for use during the Lenten season and on Easter Sunday. The Revs. Yohan Go and Juhee Lee of the New England Conference worked with musicians to record 47 songs and make them available on Google Drive for any church that needs music to use freely. All of those songs are from United Methodist hymnals, so any church with a CCLI license can use them for its online worship without worrying about copyright. In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, most churches halted in-person worship and replaced it with online services. Read more...
      umc vaccine

      Churches inject energy into vaccine access

      UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- Each weekday since the year started, older adults have poured into a United Methodist church in southern Indiana. They don’t have to wear their Sunday best, but they all have to roll up a sleeve. Community United Methodist Church in Vincennes, Indiana, is working with its county health department to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. The church has moved its food pantry and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings so its recreational center can serve as a daily clinic. “Anything we can do to help the community to get through the COVID and help relieve some of the stress and the worry, that’s what we want to do,” said the Rev. Darren Williams, the church’s pastor. “Everybody at the church is all for it and very excited to help.” Read more...
      rev bob long

      Blind man’s memoir sparks Advent sermons

      UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- Clergy who come across good sermon material have been known to exclaim, “That’ll preach!” The Rev. Bob Long found worthy fodder for not one but five sermons — his entire 2020 Advent and Christmas Eve series — in “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend,” the recent memoir of a blind philanthropist named Sanford D. “Sandy” Greenberg. Long’s “Light of the World” sermon series proved a hit with his church, 8,000-member St. Luke’s United Methodist in Oklahoma City. And it gave Long a new friend: Greenberg himself, who got in touch from Washington, after learning that he was being preached about in Oklahoma City. The Rev. Bob Long, senior pastor, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. “I looked down at some emails and I saw one that said, ‘Sanford Greenberg,’” Long recalled. “I thought, ‘What in the world? Who would be sending me this?’ I never imagined it would actually be Sandy.” Read more...

      One Last Word

      dear god
      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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