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September 14, 2021

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

SAVE THE DATE! The first YOUTH event for the youth of The United Methodist Church took place in 1988, and since the early 1990s Discipleship Ministries has organized the YOUTH event every four years. The tradition will continue with YOUTH 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida, from July 25-28, 2023. They said, "We believe that the young people who come to YOUTH 2023 will set an example for the church itself – demonstrating how to come together in Christian fellowship and celebrate our shared call to grow as world changing disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter the obstacle." Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
The Gospel has the power to transform lives, and Christians have the most influence when they are engaged in their surrounding communities. Learn how 15 churches in the Charlotte, NC area have partnered to provide COVID-19 vaccines to their neighbors:
  • How can you serve?

Church and Community Workers (CCWs) are commissioned missionaries of Global Ministries, who, in response to God’s call, are devoted to uplifting the poor and disenfranchised in rural and urban areas throughout the United States. They work to change the social inequities of poverty, racial injustice and domestic violence. As the name implies, CCWs take the church into the community and bring the community into the church. They normally serve in a project for six to 10 years. Learn more...

Virginia News


Invitation to share COVID-19 questions with Dr. David B. Agus

Do new, emerging variants of the coronavirus mean we go back into shutdown mode? Is the mu variant of the coronavirus deadlier and more contagious than the delta variant? What will COVID booster shots look like and should I get one?

Over a year later, questions still abound about COVID-19 and its impact on our way of life.

Bishop Sharma Lewis is hosting a second round of questions and answers with Dr. David B. Agus, professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering; and the Founding Director of the Ellison Institute.

You are invited to submit questions you would like answered by Dr. Agus.

Please submit your COVID-19 questions to [email protected] by Sunday, Sept. 19, and every effort will be made to address them all.

You may re-watch the first sit-down interview with Bishop Lewis and Dr. Agus here

Close up of an expense form with calculator and pen.

Legal Expense Oversight Workgroup shares report

On June 18, 2021, the Virginia Annual Conference approved a motion by the Rev. Janine Howard to create a Legal Expenses Oversight Workgroup. The motion calls for the workgroup to review the current agreement for services with the Conference Chancellor, to recommend control measures on expenditures for legal services, and report back to the annual conference within 90 days of the motion’s approval. The report is now available. Read more...

From the Bishop: An Update on the UMC and the Boy Scouts

Bishop Lewis addresses the $850 million settlement involving the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and its local councils regarding approximately 84,000 child sex abuse claims. This would be the largest settlement in a child sexual abuse case in U.S. history. Bishop Lewis said, "I call upon all of us to pray for the survivors and their families. This tragedy is a reminder to be vigilant, update your Safe Sanctuary Policy, and continue to review your policy to ensure the congregation is following the policy." Read her letter to the conference here...

Facilities Use Agreement for Boy Scouts

From Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries: As mentioned in Bishop Lewis’s September 8, 2021 letter, The United Methodist Church must re-evaluate its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) given their pending settlement of 84,000 child sexual abuse claims in the bankruptcy court. The BSA’s unwillingness to include sponsoring organizations (that is charter groups like United Methodist churches) in the settlement of the claims with child sex abuse victims is very disappointing.

It is important that we re-assess our relationship with the Boy Scouts. An initial step, as discussed in the September 8, 2021 letter, is for churches to enter into a facilities use agreement with the Boy Scouts through December 31, 2021. The template for such an agreement is attached (pdf). Read more...


Bishop Lewis names the Rev. Scott Davis as Director of District and Cabinet Support

Bishop Lewis announced effective Sept. 8, 2021, the Rev. Scott Davis as the new Director of District and Cabinet support. Read more...

Video addresses FAQs about COVID-19 vaccine concerns

The Virginia Conference partnered with the Virginia Department of Health and HCA Virginia to answer frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Watch and share video

Prepare now for Dec. 3-5 Youth Retreat!

Youth Min Chat - Learn about the Virginia Conference upcoming Youth Retreat, theme, and how to register. Rebuilding plans for the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) will also be shared. Join with others across the conference every second Wednesday of the month at 11:30 a.m. - Sign up here

Register for the Youth Retreat - Register here

Visit the Youth Event web page - Click here

Sept. 29 PRG webinar: Preparing for our churches to heal; All Saints Sunday

Advent is a time to present hope to the world. Immanuel, Christ with us, brings hope to the lost and weary. How is your church preparing for Advent? We will invite other churches to share their Advent plans, as we also listen to the conversation between Rev. John Obang and Rev. Tony Arnold of their experience of ‘Online Discipling.’ Learn More...
Future of First Church Final Flyer 1200x630

Duke hosts interactive seminars, 'The Future of First Churches'

Duke Divinity School's Office of Wesleyan Engagement is hosting a free two-part interactive lunch time seminar with Bishop Ken Carter and Rev. Dr. Audrey B. Warren entitled "The Future of “First Churches”: Foundations, Partnerships and Legacies." This event is geared toward clergy and laity serving churches that have historically found themselves at the geographic and spiritual center of their community regardless of whether the church is called “First Church.” The first session will be held November 8, 2021, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., and the second session will be held February 22, 2022, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm.

Dr. Warren and Bishop Carter will build upon the work presented in their 2020 book Fresh Expressions of People Over Property and in supplemental materials to dream about the future of “First Churches.” The first session will focus on important ways that “First Churches” have served their communities and the roles that they have played. It will also plant the seeds to imagine ways that these churches can continue to be agents of transformation. The second session will build upon the first session and lay the groundwork for envisioning the future of First Churches. Read more and register

Wesley Seminary hosts 'Moving Toward Wholeness: Traumatized Texts and Bodies," Oct. 29

Save The Date: Wesley Theological Seminary will hold a virtual conference, “Moving Toward Wholeness: Traumatized Texts and Bodies” on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Eastern.

To facilitate recovery and resilience, the conference will explore the intersections among trauma studies in psychiatry and psychology; ancient experiences of trauma in the Bible; and vicarious, minority, and gender trauma today.

Learn more now and register free at

Wesley invites congregations to apply for The Source Collaborative

The Source Collaborative, a Wesley initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., seeks 10 UMC congregations who wish to thrive and grow in their community and context.

The Source Collaborative will help selected churches identify their own markers of thriving and empower them to create and implement a congregational change strategic plan with the help of a coach. Following a one-year community learning and self-assessment process, a grant and an additional year of coaching for implementation will be provided.

Application deadline is October 1, 2021. Click here to apply

For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Beth Ludlum at [email protected].

Responding to Hurricane Ida, flooding in Tennessee

Please remember that any work related to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will start only after all the first responders leave the area. There will be more specific calls to help in the coming weeks and months. The Virginia Conference strongly advises against any self-deployment to these areas. The work of recovery will continue in the coming months and years, and Serving Ministries invite your church to be part of this long journey. Learn more
Silhouette Of Refugees People With Luggage Walking In A Row

Resources to help Afghan refugees

As the world witnesses the humanitarian crisis occurring in Afghanistan, the Virginia Conference is providing the resources to help aid your understanding and ability to care for refugees. Read a letter from Bishop Lewis, download a packet of guidelines, and fill out a form on offering assistance. Read more...

Resources to help Haiti in its effort to recover

As the world witnesses the humanitarian crisis occurring in Haiti, after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that crippled an already vulnerable nation, the Virginia Conference is providing the following resources to help the church’s effort to assist the Haitian people. Learn more...

Special and Sustaining Grant Applications for 2022

Applications are now available for the 2022 Common Table Special Grants and Sustaining Grants for local churches and ministries. Forms may be found at The deadline to receive complete applications (must include all supporting documentation and be signed by the District Superintendent) is October 15, 2021. Questions may be directed to Bev Myers at [email protected]

General Church News


United Methodist Men Give Day is October 18, 2021

The General Commission on United Methodist Men (UMM) wants you to join them as they transform lives of men and youth around the world. UMM offers resources and training to help local churches develop places where men can “coach men and youth to THRIVE through Christ." UMM is unique in that it receives only part of its funding from the general church. That is why they will be holding Give Day 2021 on Monday, October18, 2021.Everyone can be a part of this important mission work of United Methodist Men. If you would like to make a donation before Give Day, or have questions, UMM staff is available by calling 866-297-4312. To Give: Text: UMMEN to 44321; or donate online
Photo courtesy of the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Finding light in the darkness of 9/11

UMNS - United Methodists suffered, helped and suffered some more in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which happened 20 years ago. United Methodists responded to the tragedy in various ways, including setting up places where people could grieve and helping workers find new jobs. The experience also scarred the helpers, and many underwent counseling to help them cope. Read more...

COVID-19 vaccination named missional priority

UMNS - A United Methodist leadership body declared increasing vaccinations against COVID-19 a denomination-wide “missional priority.”

The Connectional Table’s move aims to make the fight against the coronavirus as much a focus as previous denominational initiatives to combat malaria and Ebola.

The leadership body also hopes to bolster current United Methodist efforts to counter misinformation and get more shots in arms.

“With more than 4 and half million deaths and counting worldwide from COVID-19 and vast disparities in vaccine distribution, there is a clear need for a massive and sustained effort to address this tragedy,” said the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, the group’s chief connectional ministries officer.

The 64-member Connectional Table acts as a sort of international church council that works to harmonize ministry and resources across general agencies and other church entities. Part of the group’s purpose is to coordinate the program life of the church with Gospel mandates, the denomination’s mission and global needs in mind. Read more...

Leveraging faith to walk through grief

UMNS - Frank Luchsinger had upset his granddaughter. She asked him if she would see him this Christmas, and his response startled her.

“I said, ‘Well, if God lets me live that long, yeah, maybe, who knows?’” recalled Luchsinger. “That messed her up, and my son told me they had to talk her in off the ledge. She thinks that I just … want to die and be done with it.”

Frank hasn’t been his old self since his wife of more than 50 years, Marlies Luchsinger, died of pancreatic cancer on March 12, 2020.

“I’m not past it,” he said, trying to maintain his composure.

Luchsinger and his longtime friend Dave Allen are reluctantly going through the experience of living longer than their lifelong companion. It’s a challenge, and either can whiplash from wisecracks to tears at a moment’s notice.

With their trust in God and United Methodist faith, they are working through the grieving process. Both couples were longtime members and volunteers at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. Read more...

One Last Word

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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