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January 4, 2022

BIbleChallenge2022

Join in the 2022 Bible Challenge

Bishop Lewis invites you to join the 2022 Bible Challenge. In the new year, join the conference to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (daily reading list provided at conference website).
Be on the lookout, starting in January 2022, for new ways to interact with the Bible and fellow participants as well.
Get readings and stay updated on the challenge at: https://vaumc.org/2022biblechallenge/.

How can you take part in learning, influencing, and serving this week?

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Learn more about The African American Methodist Heritage Center which preserves the history of Black Methodists...
  • How can you be an influencer?
“The Work of Christmas”
When the song of the angels is stilled/ When the star in the sky is gone/ When the kings and princes are home/ When the shepherds are back with their flock/The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman, activist and theologian
  • How can you serve?

Migration doesn’t always involve crossing country borders. Sometimes finding safety within country borders is the right choice for an individual or family. For both routes, UMCOR ensures that those on the move are welcomed within new communities. Learn more...

Virginia News

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United Methodists reach settlement in Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Case

December 21--United Methodist leaders have reached a settlement in the matter of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) pending bankruptcy proceedings. Upon final court approval, the settlement would resolve any claims of sexual abuse that may have occurred in congregation-sponsored Scouting programs.
Under the terms of the settlement, United Methodists would raise and give $30 million over a three-year period into a fund that will be utilized to compensate survivors, and United Methodist congregations that charter Scout troops and packs would be released from all abuse claims involving Scouting activities. A team has been formed to identify strategies and materials that may be used to raise the funds. The church would also agree to work for the healing of survivors and recommit to work toward ending sexual abuse of young people. Through the General Commission on United Methodist Men, United Methodists will work with the BSA to continue to ensure Scout safety and grow Scouting ministry as part of its mandate through The Book of Discipline. “We are sorry for what occurred and are praying for all those who experienced harm through Scouting activities. We are committed to the protection of children and youth, and the United Methodist Council of Bishops will be working with the church, the Survivor Working Group and BSA to address policies, programs, and procedures in order to keep Scouts safe from abuse,” said Bishop John Schol, chair of the UMC leadership team created to support the United Methodist chartering organizations in the bankruptcy matter. The settlement follows months of mediation by an Ad Hoc committee of bishops, chancellors and general agency employees that has been advocating for United Methodist interests. Learn more...
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Support UMCOR in upcoming streaming event

Three connectional gaming channels are joining forces to raise money for UMCOR and communities impacted by the recent tornadoes. Methodist Gaming, CheckPoint Church, and Crossfire Podcast and Gaming will be hosting a 24-hour stream on twitch.tv starting this Friday, January 7 at 7p.m. (EST) and concluding on Saturday, January 8 at 7pm (EST). All proceeds will be donated to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Support the cause by checking out their stream on Twitch!
student connect

Scholarships available for United Methodist students

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) is accepting scholarship applications for the 2022-2023 academic year between January 1 – March 1, 2022. Students who are members of The United Methodist Church and planning to attend a United Methodist-related school, college, university, or seminary full-time are eligible to apply. More information on eligibility criteria, the application process, and FAQs can be found at www.umhef.org/scholarships. Applications and supporting materials must be submitted/postmarked no later than March 1, 2022.
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Bi-District Training Day open to Virginia Conference

The Alexandria and Arlington Districts will host its annual Bi-District Training Day (BDTD) on January 15, 2022. This year’s event will take place virtually, and registration is open to all of the Virginia Conference.
At BDTD speakers offer training sessions and workshops in a multitude of ministry areas to help attendees learn and grow. This year’s event will feature the Rev. Michael Beck, author of Fresh Expressions in a Digital Age: How the Church Can Prepare for a Post Pandemic World and Contextual Intelligence: Unlocking the Ancient Secret to Mission on the Front Lines. Bi-District Training Day will be online only in 2022, with a wide variety of topics. Choose from 66 workshops — including three live sessions with Michael Beck and five live Zoom lunchtime conversations for networking and fellowship. Prerecorded content from more than 50 speakers will be available. Learn more...
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Virginia Beach community and local church raise money for family of local woman killed in armed robbery

A community of neighbors, friends, church family, and even strangers gathered at Haygood Shopping Center on December 20 to honor the memory of a 65-year-old woman killed during a robbery in December.
People gathered in the parking lot of the gas station where Annie May Smith was killed as the Rev. Beth Givens of Haygood UMC led the community in a moment of silence beside Smith’s husband of 46 years, Steven John Smith, and their grandchildren. Read more...
UMVIMJan8

Upcoming UMVIM training in January 2022

UMVIM Team Leader Training Event will take place at Harmony UMC, 380 E Colonial Hwy, Hamilton, VA 20158. The date is Saturday, January 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (gathering time 8:30 to 9 a.m.).
The cost will be $10 to cover lunch, payable at the event. An online training manual will be provided upon registration. Conference rules stipulate that all first-time leaders must attend a Conference Team Leader Training Event prior to leading a team. Registration and attendance are open to anyone, whether leading a team or not. To register or for more information, visit https://vaumc.org/umvim/.
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Bishop Lewis, Dr. Hyo Lee, hosting trip to Greece and Turkey

Bishop Sharma Lewis and the Rev. Dr. Hyo Lee are hosting a Greece and Turkey trip, Nov. 7-18, 2022. Four CEUs will be awarded for the first 32 participants. For more information, contact Dr. Lee at (540) 336-9297 or email hyolee@vaumc.org. Learn more...
DecemberTornado

Virginia Disaster Response Team shares information related to recent Midwest tornado outbreak

December 14--The Virginia Conference Disaster Response team is working closely with neighboring conferences to assess the need and where we can help. Today, the Conference Disaster Response Coordinators for both the Kentucky/Tennessee annual conference are in Mayfield, KY. A status update via the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), will be shared with the conferences as information becomes available.
View more from the conference Serving Ministries Office and Disaster Response Team statement...
United Methodist Day 2

Register now for a day of advocating on January 27, 2022

Members of the Virginia Conference have been change-makers in the Commonwealth for 30 years through United Methodist Day at the General Assembly. The next advocacy event will take place on January 27, 2022.

At the event, participants meet with their delegates and senators to discuss issues that are relevant to the United Methodist faith with direction from our partners at Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP). One of the ways that faith is put into action is by advocating for the least, the last, and the lost at the General Assembly and this year participants will spend time reflecting and celebrating all the ways our advocacy has changed the political landscape in our Commonwealth for the better. Come and join in to continue the legacy as change-makers here in our Commonwealth. Register here.
Learn more about the event...
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New videos released from Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship curriculum

The Race and Race Relations Team introduced the Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship curriculum and videos in 2020. The newest three segments are centered on segregation and desegregation in the Methodist Church, public schools, and nonviolent protests. The topics include:

• The Central Jurisdiction (a racially-segregated body of the Methodist Church from 1939 to 1968)
• Massive Resistance in Farmville, Virginia
• Bloody Monday, nonviolent protests and police brutality in Danville, Virginia in 1963

For more information and to view the videos currently offered, visit the Virginia Conference website at https://vaumc.org/racerelations/. The direct link for the curriculum and videos is at https://vaumc.org/racerelationsvideos/. Korean and Spanish translations of the curriculum will be posted as soon as possible.
For more information or for questions, contact the Rev. Dr. Charles F. Ledlum-Bates at rrds@vaumc.org.
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Help celebrate Heart Havens Month in February

Help Heart Havens share its message of inclusion and empowerment across the conference. The organization empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live and thrive in their community and depends on the support of churches during February to sustain its mission as they do not receive any funding from conference apportionments. Please contact them now about participating in Heart Havens month and to receive the best resources to celebrate. Contact them at 804-237-6097 or sara.becker@hearthavens.org.
ClergywomenAdvent

Servant Sister Scholarship Endowment honors and celebrates ministries of women

Work began to establish The Servant Sister Scholarship Endowment to honor and celebrate the ministries of women in the Virginia Conference by financially supporting the theological training of future clergy sisters in 2019. All women committed to ministries of Word, Worship, and Witness, who are candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference, and who demonstrate potential for developing creative ministries for a more just world are eligible to benefit from this endowment.

Thanks to the generosity of over 50 contributors from across the conference to date, the first two Servant Sister Scholarships were awarded for the fall 2021 semester. Talina Beck and Alyssa Densham, both students at Wesley Theological Seminary, received grants of $1,000 toward tuition. One expressed her gratitude saying, “This scholarship made the impossible possible.”

Now, the Servant Sister Scholarship Board of Directors is looking to the future with hope to be able to continue this level of support going forward. Here is where your influence matters. Please consider a gift of $500 or $1,000, but no gift is too small. This could be given in honor or memory of a clergywoman who has served you, or simply an outright gift, an expression of your own gratitude for the sacrifice someone made on your behalf.

Checks should be written to VA UM Foundation, with Servant Sister Scholarship in the memo line. Mail to The VA UM Foundation 10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060. Learn more...
Calling21_2019

Intern, host church applications now live for Calling 21

Intern and host church applications are now live for Calling 21. Calling 21 is a young adult, local church internship program. It is a partnership ministry among the Virginia Conference Center for Clergy Excellence, the Cabinet, and Shenandoah University. The purpose of the program is for college students to explore their calling. For questions, email the Rev. Meghan Roth Clayton at MeghanClayton@vaumc.org or the Rev. Crystal R. Sygeel at CrystalSygeel@vaumc.org. Learn more about the program...
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All God's Children Camp needs your help!

The dates for All God's Children Camp have been set (June 19-24, Richmond area; July 24-29, Chesapeake/Eastern Shore area; and August 14-19, Richmond area) and now the camp needs volunteers to act as camp mentors. Please consider volunteering a week of your time to help make it possible for kids to enjoy a week of camp and engage in all that camp life. This is also a great way for groups such as Sunday school groups, Sr. High youth groups, or other small groups to be in mission together.

As a ministry of the Virginia Annual Conference, All God’s Children Camp (AGCC) is a weeklong overnight camp for children ages 7 to 12, with an incarcerated parent. Campers have an opportunity to participate in all the physical activities the camp has to offer such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, Bible study, along with a conflict resolution/self-esteem building class. AGCC is built on the basis of a one-to-one mentoring program where campers have an adult who walks alongside them for the week cheering them on, building them up, and encouraging them daily.

Learn more about the camp at the link. For more information, contact Lori Smith at lttlelori@gmail.com or 571-245-9591.

General Church News

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2021: A Year in Photos

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties about the future of the denomination, United Methodists continued to live out their faith and serve their communities in 2021. Photographers from UM News documented a year in the life of the church worldwide. See more...
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Filipino leaders push to elect new bishops

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--A year after extending its bishops’ terms, the Philippines Central Conference Coordinating Council is pushing for a special session to elect new bishops — with or without the General Conference in 2022. However, United Methodist leaders in the Philippines acknowledge that such a plan potentially faces hurdles under the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book.
In the meantime, the coordinating council at a recent meeting acknowledged the need to extend the incumbent bishops’ terms again. Read more...

One Last Word

Amanda Gorman, the 23-year-old poet whose reading of her own “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration made her an international sensation, posted a new work and accompanying video Wednesday on Instagram to mark the end of 2021. “New Day’s Lyric” is a five-stanza, 48-line resolution with themes of struggle and healing. From a PBS article interview, an excerpt:

“What was cursed, we will cure.
What was plagued, we will prove pure.
Where we tend to argue, we will try to agree,
Those fortunes we forswore, now the future we foresee,
Where we weren’t aware, we’re now awake;
Those moments we missed
Are now these moments we make,
The moments we meet,
And our hearts, once all together beaten,
Now all together beat.”
Please send any issues or concerns to communications@vaumc.org. If you have issues with the formatting trying to forward (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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