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Learn more about three-stage return to in-person worship at Virginia Conference churches:
return to worship (1)

May 19, 2020

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

Conference Vision

In 2017, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared the vision of the conference "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?
    The arrival of a new pastor is a critical juncture in the life of a church.
    The COVID-19 crisis raises many questions about how to transition from one congregation to the next because of the unusual circumstances it creates. Learn more from Lewis Center for Church Leadership. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
    Share the names of youth with college campus ministries. More...
  • How can you serve this week?
    United Methodists can show love of their neighbors and relieve suffering by supporting the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s “Sheltering in Love” COVID-19 response fund. More...
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Notice sent out concerning Clergy Session at Annual Conference
The Virginia Board of Ordained Ministry shared an update to clergy concerning the Clergy Session of Annual Conference 2020. The statement shared, "In light of the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions and the need to keep our annual conference moving forward, the Bishop, in consultation with the Office of Clergy Excellence, Cabinet and the Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry, has decided to hold an Executive Session of the Annual Conference on Thursday, June 18. An Executive Session of the Annual Conference includes only clergy members in full connection with the annual conference (BOD ¶369.5). Considering it has been the practice of the Virginia Conference to invite all clergy members to attend, this decision to move into Executive Session was not made lightly. We ask for your grace, trust and understanding of the decisions that need to be made during these circumstances. Know that the executive session is for the purpose of voting on the minute questions or Business of the Annual Conference and for the fixing of appointments. There is no plan for this session to include formal worship or statements to the body. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate the rules in this unprecedented time so that we can approve conference membership changes to be in order for our denomination. If you have questions, please email those to Rev. Lindsey Baynham in the Center for Clergy Excellence at [email protected]." More...
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Connect youth to college campus ministries
Share the names of youth with college campus ministries. This is a great way for incoming college students to get connected quickly and build a sense of community and belonging. More...
in person worship
Learn more about easing of restrictions on in-person worship
In a letter from May 9, Bishop Lewis shared that a return to in-person worship would be phased beginning with "drive-in" worship for all churches under strict guidelines and the authorization of some "pioneer" churches to open on May 24 under strict guidelines. A workgroup of church leaders, medical professionals and legal professionals have prepared a comprehensive plan which includes: summary of plan, handbook, visual presentation and more for churches to plan on how to approach this phased return to in-person worship. More...
Learn more about Samaritan Offering
Older Adult Sunday and Older Americans Month, both celebrated in May, are great opportunities to remember and honor the older adults that have been important in personal faith journeys. Your gift to the Samaritan Offering supports residents of Pinnacle Living communities who have been blessed to be the “elder, older” among us, those blessed by longevity but who have outlived their financial resources. Samaritan gifts are not used for operational, capital, or administrative cost but are instead made available only for benevolent care. Your gift during the Samaritan Offering appeal or at any other time ensures someone’s personal security and peace of mind. There are two ways you can contribute to this special offering appeal right from your own home: sending a contribution by mail or making a gift online. Contributions can be mailed to: Pinnacle Living, 5101 Cox Road, Suite 225, Glen Allen, VA 23060. More...
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The United Methodist Credit Union still offering assistance
If your church or UMC-affiliated organization wants to participate in the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but hasn't applied yet or hasn't found an institution willing or able to assist you, please contact The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU). If you're not already a member, you can quickly become one and apply for this program using a convenient online application. If you have an urgent need, TUMCU can also help your church or organization with a low-interest bridge loan or line-of-credit while you await SBA funding. Please call Jomin Mujar at (804) 672-0200 for more details or visit their website. More...
camp rainbow
Camp Rainbow cancels summer sessions
After much prayer and discussion, the Core Leadership Team has decided to cancel the 2020 Camp Rainbow Connection (CRC) sessions. The leadership shared, "We recognize that information on this pandemic is changing every day. However, the majority of our campers and volunteer staff are at-risk for contracting COVID-19 and we feel it's in everyone's best interest to cancel. The ministry of CRC is vital and will continue, even though we cannot hold camp as we normally would."
The team is planning to host a fall event and is encouraging continued financial support of the ministry. For questions or concerns, please contact Stacy Roberts at [email protected].
covid season conversations
COVID-19 Season Conversations webinar
View the recording of the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, director of Connectional Ministries, and the Rev. Jennifer Collins, Shepherd’s Staff Ministries, Inc., conversing on the topic of “Care of Caregivers in the COVID-19 Season.” The recording is available at the link. More...

General Church News

Clergywoman also is nurse on COVID-19 front line
The Rev. Diane Dyson doesn’t wear a clergy collar. If she did, no one would see it these days because of everything else she has on. Her work garb for 12-hour-plus shifts includes an N95 mask, face shield, protective cap, gloves and floor-length gown. “I don’t want to whine but it’s hot and heavy,” Dyson said. “It’s nice to leave at the end of the day and get some fresh air.” Dyson is a United Methodist deacon and registered nurse who since mid-March has been caring for COVID-19 patients at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey. More...
Coronavirus hampers malaria efforts in Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic could hamper progress made fighting malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization warns. As nations work to stop the spread of the coronavirus, malaria control measures have been disrupted and cases have begun spiking in some regions, including Zimbabwe, where The United Methodist Church’s three mission hospitals report a sharp increase in malaria patients. A new analysis published by the World Health Organization predicts that deaths caused by malaria in sub-Saharan Africa could jump to 769,000 in 2020 — twice the number of deaths reported in the region in 2018. That would be under the worst-case scenario of suspending all insecticide-treated net campaigns and a 75% reduction in access to effective antimalarial medicines. More...
Plans vary to get annual conference business done
Even with COVID-19, United Methodist annual conferences around the world need to get business done by the end of the year.
The regional bodies of the denomination will get that done in a wide variety of ways: in-person meetings, virtual get-togethers and combinations of the two.
In-person annual conference meetings are the ideal for almost everyone. More...
Welcome to the new e-Advocate
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...