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

February 16, 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?

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church will be offering a weekly devotion during the Lenten season which begins this week. Each Wednesday during Lent and every day during Holy Week, a 15-minute recorded devotion, led by a bishop and leaders from their episcopal areas will be released. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Be inspired by this article from a pastor who shared that faith can happen even during a roller derby. Learn more from influencer...
  • How can you serve this week?

How can you serve and volunteer in mission through Global Ministries? The Mission Volunteer office is hosting virtual “Mission Discovery Events” in March and June. Those who join will receive an overview of the ways to serve and can engage in conversation with the program directors. Click link for more information and registration link. Learn more...

Virginia News

joe daniels

Churches pair up with clinics to deliver coronavirus vaccine to those who need it most

The Washington Post-- Pastor Joseph Daniels folded his 6-foot-3-inch frame into the mobile coronavirus vaccine clinic outside Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast Washington on Wednesday and joked that he was no fan of needles. Before he knew it, a nurse wearing a face shield, a mask and gloves was applying a bandage to his upper arm. “Oh, okay,” he said. “That was easy.” Daniels was one of a handful of pastors, along with their spouses, who received a vaccination Wednesday morning as part of the city’s pilot program staging clinics at churches, part of an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and improve access to the shots in hard-hit neighborhoods where vaccination rates are low. “I’m grateful to be in a position to be a faith leader to send a very important and critical message to the faith community, particularly the Black faith community,” said Daniels, lead pastor at Emory Fellowship United Methodist Church in D.C.’s Brightwood neighborhood. “We need to educate ourselves about the vaccine and then go get it.” Read more...
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 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
covid connection washing hands

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. Leigh Anne Taylor, Lynchburg District Revitalization Coordinator, shares a reminder to wash your hands for 20 seconds, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taylor is joined in song by Yusang Chung, Jeongseung Lee and their daughters, Eva and Esther, as well as Maegan Mitchell and her daughter, Madilynne, to help demonstrate. Watch video...

United Methodist Men hosting upcoming Zoom events

Topic: Personal Prayer on February 16 (Zoom information below)

Join the VA Conference UMMen for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar about personal prayer on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST. Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer as a model for prayer. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
There are prayers of adoration, prayers of intercession, breath prayers, lectionary prayers, and corporate prayers. Much has been shared regarding different types and ways to pray. Is prayer a part of your daily life? Is prayer a part of your devotional time with God? Please plan to join in as the Rev. Wayne Snead, district superintendent of the Elizabeth River District, leads a discussion on personal prayer.

Topic: Dismantling Racism on March 16 (Zoom information below)

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.

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/.
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 for both events: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89824607164
Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

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.
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

View recording of General/Jurisdictional Conference Webinar

Facilitated by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Western Pennsylvania Conference and hosted Tyrus Sturgis, Director of Leader Communications at United Methodist Communications, delegates and other participants on February 13 saw presentations on General Church finances; the state of the Episcopal Fund; General Conference options; Jurisdictional Study Committee Report; and Episcopal election recommendation from the Council of Bishops. View recording...
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...
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.
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].
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.

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...
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.

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.

Commit to reading the Bible all the way through Genesis-Revelation in 2021. 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

Why continue wearing a mask?

In summer 2020, 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 2020 by Bishop Lewis to oversee how churches in the Virginia Conference could safely return to worship.

Even as vaccinations begin around the nation and world, the importance of wearing masks still remains a necessity.

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

General Church News

catholic um publication

Publication released from Catholics and United Methodists

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS -- Representatives of The United Methodist Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced the release of the results of its latest round of dialogue in the form of a two-part publication. This eighth round of dialogue was co-chaired by Bishop David P. Talley, Catholic Diocese of Memphis, and Bishop Peggy Johnson, resident bishop of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. The work entitled Catholics and United Methodists Together is now available. Learn more...
henry louis gates jr

‘Black Church’ film taps United Methodist sources

UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- The United Methodist Church has a supporting role in the new PBS documentary “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song,” which airs Feb. 16-17. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the host, writer and executive producer, begins and ends the film with a visit to his boyhood church, Waldon United Methodist in Piedmont, West Virginia. “The lessons I learned here, the power of faith, the importance of community, have remained with me and sustained me, the same way the Black church has sustained the African American people from the days of slavery to this day,” Gates says as he stands in front of the small, white-frame structure. The documentary also draws heavily on resources of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, based at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Read more...
doug powe

Take a different approach to Black History Month

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP --Doug Powe of the Lewis Center suggests congregations take a different approach to Black History Month this year. He outlines ideas to encourage church members to think more deeply about faith and race through relational engagement, interracial dialogue, and substantive study. Learn more...

One Last Word

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." - 1 John 4:7
love is 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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