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To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].

August 10, 2021

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

The Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol spurred a new Courageous Conversations resource from Discipleship Ministries. It is designed to help United Methodists talk about Christian nationalism while maintaining civility. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
Become a difference-maker. Want to affect change in your neighborhood, city, and the world? Start with the basics of worship, prayer, and small groups. Watch this video from the UMC...
  • How can you serve?

United Methodist health facilities in many African countries are supporting the well-being of mothers and children by promoting the benefits of breastfeeding. #worldbreastfeedingweek
How can you help serve with this Abundant Health Initiative?

Virginia News

wesley at VT

Vandal replaces Pride flags with Confederate flags at Virginia Tech campus ministry building

Early Friday morning, staff at the Wesley Building at Virginia Tech noticed that their Pride flags were replaced with Confederate flags. The Rev. Bret Gresham told WSET in an interview on Monday, August 9 that this is not the first time the flags have been torn down over the years, but the first that they have been replaced with the Confederate flag. The campus ministry is working with police and remains focused on "making Wesley a safe and affirming place for all people. This hate crime goes against all that we believe, and we want our LGBTQ+ community to know that we will always love, support, and embrace you with open arms." Watch news story...
be a champion umfs

Join UMFS for upcoming campaign day

Mark your calendar and join UMFS on Thursday, August 19 for the Be A Champion Giving Day. The Be A Champion Campaign is the first comprehensive renovation of the historic UMFS Richmond campus in over 60 years. With your help, the organization can provide more educational spaces and treatment resources to create bright futures for at-risk children and families statewide. Ready to help? Click here to learn more about the campaign...
alexandria panel

Alexandria church hosting panel discussion on COVID-19 effect on city

Washington Street UMC will host a panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 in the community on Sunday, August 15. This will look at how community members can support the responsive effort in the area. This panel also provides an opportunity for Alexandrians to listen to community leaders speak on the impact the pandemic had on the city’s residents, and how these affect the community as a whole.

The event will also feature a recent video produced by Rising Hope Mission Church, where local community members talk about the impact of COVID in their lives. Rising Hope's Pastor Kameron Wilds will be part of the panel conversation. Learn more...

First recipients of Servant Sister Scholarship Announced

From a pool of qualified and impressive candidates, the Servant Sister Scholarship Team, in partnership with the Clergywomen’s Collective, is happy to announce the first two recipients of this annual award.
Talina Sarmient Beck is a student at Wesley Theological Seminary and a certified candidate in the deacon track in the Virginia Conference. Alyssa M. Densham serves as Associate Pastor of Discipleship at the Kingstowne Communion in Alexandria. A certified candidate in the deacon track, this fall she will begin her final year at Wesley Theological Seminary, pursuing her M.Div. Click here to learn more about the recipients and the scholarship.
wesley latinx course 2022

New 2022 Latinx course about faith in the public square offered at Wesley Seminary

Are you a Latinx pastor or are you serving a church with a strong Hispanic/Latinx community representation? Wesley's newest D.Min. track - "Faith and the Public Square in the U.S. Hispanic/Latino Context/Fe y la esfera pública en el contexto Hispano/Latino" - will be of interest to you.
"Faith and the Public Square in the U.S. Hispanic/Latino Context/Fe y la esfera pública en el contexto Hispano/Latino" - will begin in May 2022. The program will feature short, intense residencies with most work completed online. In addition, students must complete a project seminar and two elective courses for a total of 30 credit hours. Anticipated date of graduation for the first cohort is May 2025.

Some upcoming courses and instructors in the program: “The World is my Parish: Mission & Evangelism in the Wesleyan Tradition” with Dr. Phil Wingeier-Rayo; “Latinx Liturgy and Worship in the Public Square” with Dr. Irving Cotto; “Community Engagement in an Urban Context” - Dr. Lorena Parrish. For more information, go to the link or email The Rev. Dr. Chip Aldridge at [email protected]. Apply now at this link...

Save the date for August Mentor Palooza

Mentor Palooza is a training event facilitated by the Center for Clergy Excellence for Virginia Conference UMC's mentors for the current year. This includes candidacy mentors, local pastor mentors, provisional mentors, and district mentor coordinators.

The morning will begin with plenary training and then transition into small groups specific to your area of mentoring. This training is required for those who are new to mentoring and/or for those who will be mentoring/assigning mentors this coming 2021-2022 year.

Register your attendance at this link and information on the Zoom meeting Tuesday, August 17 (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) will be sent closer to the event date.
faith with intention event

United Methodist Women holding September Young Women's event

The Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) Young Women’s Event "Faith with Intention" will be held Saturday, September 11, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. via Zoom. This is a time just for young women ages 18 to 40 for spiritual refreshment and growth; participants do not need to be a member of UMW, The UMC, or of any church.

Sponsored annually by the UMW, and normally held in-person over a 24-hour period with a registration fee, this year there is no charge for the three-hour Young Women’s Event via Zoom.

The retreat leader, Pastor Ashley Isernhagen, will use John 15 to help attendees develop and grow in discipleship through intentional practices, such as developing a faith timeline, spiritual exercises for discernment, meditation, and discipleship mantras. Please register by September 8. For questions, please contact Marlene Dakita, Virginia Conference UMW Mission Coordinator for Membership, Nurture & Outreach (MNO), at [email protected] or 703-244-4524. Learn more...
lay servant ministries

Join summer Lay Servant courses in August 2021

Join the Lay Servant Academy Online Training Day on Saturday, August 21. New this year will be both full-day and half-day course offerings. All courses are designed for equipping laity for the work and mission of each person’s calling. Instructors for each course include both clergy and laity who are ready to give practical and relevant resources that will be useful in various ministry areas. Lay Servant Academy is for all of the Virginia Conference laity who feel called to ministry or who currently serve the church and would like to grow in their servant leadership.

View the course descriptions and other information here.

Register at this link:

For more information or for questions, you may contact Tianna Durbin, Director of Lay Servant Academy, at [email protected].

Rappahannock River District offering fall virtual Lay Servant Training

The Rappahannock River District is pleased to offer another Virtual Lay Servant Training this fall. These classes will be held via Zoom and are open to all districts.

The classes will be held on consecutive Saturdays (September 18, 25, & October 2). The classes offered include:
  • Basic (8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.)
  • United Methodist Heritage (1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
  • Called to Preach (8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.)
Registration should be submitted no later than September 13, 2021. Learn more...

Lay Servant Training is a leadership development program for any and all laity in the UMC. It can help anyone who is interested in learning more in their pursuit of being a better leader and servant for Christ’s church. If you are a Lay Servant, you must attend the ENTIRE course in order to receive credit for certification or recertification. Recertification is required every three years for both Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Speakers.
agc 5k

Participate in 5k for All God's Children Camp

All God's Children Camp will be holding its 2nd Annual Virtual 5k fundraiser. You can run/walk this race anytime on August 21 or any date and time that suits you. Click the link to register and help support the camp. For more information, contact Lori Smith at [email protected].
culture of renewal

Board of Ordained Ministry shares resource to clergy

The Board of Ordained Ministry Clergy Effectiveness Team has been working with Rebekah Simon-Peter on launching Creating a Culture of Renewal in Virginia. Their hope is that this is one resource to offer clergy to move forward in healthy, life-giving ways in order to respond to their call.

Creating a Congregation of Renewal (CCR) is a three-year, cohort-based program that has been done in several other annual conferences as well as on the Eastern Shore in Virginia. It seeks to reaffirm call, recognize leadership strengths, foster communication skills in the midst of the innate differences in congregations, and equip clergy for uniting congregations around a common vision.

In addition to costs paid by the Board of Ordained Ministry through a grant from the Congregational Development Team, here is how the cost breaks down:
• $1800 from the congregation--$600/year for three years
• $1800 from your personal investment--$600/year for three years—you could include this in your Accountable Reimbursement Funds and get the tax advantage
• $2400 from Clergy Development funding if you apply--$800/year for three years (

If you have questions, please talk with the Rev. Alex Joyner ([email protected]), the Rev. Drew Willson ([email protected]), or the Rev. MiKang Kim ([email protected]), all of whom have experience in the program.

To register, go to this link and click on the yellow bar that says “Click here to register and read our commitment and cancellation policy.” Then choose the September 14-16 retreat date drop-down and choose the Virginia rates. Contact the CCR organization directly with more questions.
church service

UMPH Extending Permission to Use Resources for Online Worship through December 31, 2021

The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through December 31. In this challenging time for churches, the publishing house aims to ensure access to essential worship aids and the use of the Common English Bible for online worship and studies. Read more...
AC offering FB cover

Local churches urged to help conference reach offering goal

As of June 30, the Virginia Conference has reached the $53,800 mark with $146,200 left to go to reach the overall goal of $200,000 for the 2021 conference offering.

With every local church joining this effort toward the conference offering goal, the conference will have a bigger impact in addressing food insecurity in the Commonwealth and continuing global outreach through the Partnerships of Hope. You may use the Annual Conference video or share the online donation link. The VAUMC Treasurer’s Office will continue to receive offerings until August 31.
dom wesley

New Doctor of Ministry in Digital Ministry course starting at Wesley Seminary

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many churches to innovate with digital technologies and ways of being the church. Even as we anticipate a return to “normal,” some ways of being in ministry will be forever changed. Recognizing this, Wesley Theological Seminary has created the new Doctor of Ministry in Digital Ministry, with classes beginning May 2022. This 30-credit D.Min. track will refine ministerial skills and theological reflection of innovative leaders seeking to “lean in” to this transformation and embrace digital ministries.
This program will require a project seminar and two elective courses. For more information, please contact the Rev. Dr. Chip Aldridge at [email protected].
loans and scholarships

GBHEM offers student loans

Need a student loan? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) offers loans for United Methodist students. GBHEM will walk beside you through every step of the application, payment, and loan management process. The UM Student Fall 2021 Loan application opens on May 13, 2021, and closes on October 14, 2021. For more information...

PRG Team update

July 30, 2021--

Virginia Annual Conference,

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new recommendation regarding mask-wearing. First, we would like to remind all our churches that the CDC functions as an advisory board and the Governor encourages Virginians to follow the CDC guidelines. Second, we allowed fully vaccinated members to unmask in our transition from Healthy Church Teams (HCT) to Post-Covid Re-Entry Group (PRG). Therefore, unvaccinated members should be wearing a mask in all functions of the church. We still believe that the best practice is for everyone, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear a mask at public gatherings.

According to the new CDC guidelines, it says, "wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission." Churches and their PRG team should observe the transmission rate within their community and decide whether or not to ask fully vaccinated members to wear a mask.

The PRG team's recommendation on mask-wearing has been consistent. Asking fully vaccinated members to mask does not negate the efficacy of the vaccine. Instead, it shows how we need to continue loving and protecting everyone. The best-proven method to prevent further loss and protect each other from this variant is by having everyone fully vaccinated. We ask each church to continue encouraging everyone eligible to be vaccinated to get the shot.

At this time, the Bishop and Cabinet appreciate the local church's effort on setting parameters to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keeping their community safe. We ask each PRG team to utilize the resource below and other resources, such as the PRG page, CDC, and VDH, to make safe and sound decisions.

Thank you for your leadership.

In Christ,

Bishop, Cabinet, & VAUMC PRG Team

For more information please contact, the Rev. Seungsoo 'RJ' Jun, Associate Director of Serving
(804) 521-1137, [email protected]. Visit and for more information.

General Church News

phillipines covid response

Florida church reeling after six members die within 10 days amid spike in cases

THE WASHINGTON POST--Division over the decision to get the COVID-19 vaccination in one Florida church has led to six members dying over 10 days. The church is now hosting a vaccine drive. Read story...
catholic podcast

Popular Catholic podcast now available on YouTube

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE--Ascension Presents, the largest Catholic YouTube channel in English in the world, is now offering its popular podcast The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz). This podcast began in 2021 and became overwhelming popular within only two days of its launch. Learn more...

One Last Word

Get Them Talking is a series of resources from United Methodist Communications to help families start conversations about issues of faith. Click here to learn more
Please send any issues or concerns to [email protected]. If you have issues with the formatting trying to forward (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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