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October 5, 2021

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Hispanic Heritage Month, or Mes de la Herencia Hispana - ¡A Celebrar! is celebrated Sept. 15-Oct. 15. You can make it meaningful. Migrants and immigrants from Central and South America and their descendants make up the largest minority in the United States. This minority group has not only been able to maintain and thrive with its customs and cultures, but it also has been a powerful and influential force in this country. It does not matter where in this country you go, you will find people, restaurants, signs, or decorations that remind you that Latinos are found in every nook and cranny. Click here for more ways to celebrate.
  • How can you be an influencer?
When our passions and the needs of the community around us converge, God calls us to act. Learn how one pastor's love of fishing is making a difference.
  • How can you serve?

You can make a direct impact on the people who are suffering through a crisis. Sometimes an individual donation may not seem significant, but when members of 1,100 churches join in the effort, it can make a substantial impact. Please visit the following sites:
UMCOR Global Migration
VAUMC Haiti Disaster Relief
UMCOR Hurricane Disaster Relief
Or send your donations to the Virginia Conference treasurer's' office, PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058.

Virginia News


Bishop Lewis presents check from Annual Conference Offering to Feed More

Thanks are extended to all the churches that participated in the 2021 Annual Conference Offering. Some 222 churches donated to this year's offering. Foodbanks and Partnerships of Hope will be the recipients of the $90,000 that was collected. "The goal was not reached but the impact will go a long way," said the Rev. RJ Jun, associate director of Serving Ministries.

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis (second from right) and the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers (right), assistant to the Bishop and director of Connectional Ministries, visited Feed More, headquarters of Federation of Virginia Food Banks, to share the collective offering of $45,000 on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Thank you, Virginia Conference!

Saying 'I appreciate you' to pastors

No matter how humble or unassuming they may be, most people get a warm glow inside when someone says “thank you” for what they’ve done or expresses appreciation simply for who they are. Clergy and others who fill pastoral roles are no exception.

October is Pastor (or Clergy) Appreciation Month with the second Sunday designated as Pastor Appreciation Day. It is a time to say “thank you” to the people who may be most visible as preachers and teachers, but who, in reality, are on-call 24/7 standing with congregants and others to offer spiritual and other support in times of confusion and transition, times of heart-wrenching sorrow and times of overwhelming joy. They laugh, cry and pray with those whom they shepherd and serve.

Established as a worldwide recognition time in 1992, the call to honor the contributions of pastoral leaders can be traced back to Paul, who advised congregations to give “double honor” to the elders who managed the affairs of the church well, “especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17, NIV). Learn ways to say 'I appreciate you.'

Dying congregation finds ‘New Life’ with merger

What happens when two pastors with a passion for sharing the Gospel sit next to each other at the district Christmas party? God presents the vision for a new congregation! The fruits of that vision took shape, as the congregation at New Life at St. Andrew’s UMC, Alexandria District, broke ground for a new church building on Sept. 26. 2021.

Dwayne Stinson, Associate Director of Influencing for the Virginia Conference, shares how a congregation of two has risen to 60 and is still growing with ground broken for a new facility. Learn more...

Obstacles don’t stop Virginia man from walking to raise funds for UMCOR

GLOBAL MINISTRIES -- Heart issues, cancer and swelling limbs cannot ultimately defeat a Virginia man determined to walk the Appalachian Trail’s 2,198 miles to raise funds for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Pennsylvania’s Mission Central supply depot. His commitment typifies the dedication of United Methodists who support the international disaster relief agency, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

In February 2018, Jimmy Dillon of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was attending his home church of Zion United Methodist Church in Seaford and listening to the Rev. David Magruder deliver a sermon about Jesus going into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights.

Instantly, Dillon said he realized his calling was to go into the wilderness and bring awareness to UMCOR. When the sermon was over, Dillon told his pastor about his plans and where the Lord was leading him. “He was 100 percent behind me,” Dillon said. “Two months later I was on my way.” Read story....
A video is also available that features Dillon on the trail. View here...

Granddaughter of well-known missionary talks about his life in new video

The Virginia Conference Historical Society has shared a video prepared by E. Stanley Jones' granddaughter, Anne Mathews-Younes, for presentation at the Fall 2021 meeting of the trustees of the Historical Society. It is provided with her permission. At the end of Mathews-Younes' talk about her grandfather's life and work, there is a slide show of photographs. Watch video...

Buxton hosts Clergy Collaborative Worship Planning

Every second Tuesday at noon starting Oct. 12, the Rev. Dr. Larry Buxton, retired, will lead clergy in a time of visioning and planning for the upcoming liturgical season. Buxton brings a passion for worship and years of ministry experience. He desires to create a place for pastors to collaborate and plan worship experiences and services together. 0.5 CEUs are available for those who attend at least five sessions. To join in go to this link on the following days and times:

Bishop Lewis will be guest speaker for Oct. 12 United Methodist Men Zoom webinar

Mark your calendars now, and please join us on Tuesday evening, October 12, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on inclusion with Bishop Sharma Lewis.

Bishop Lewis will be sharing the need for more ethnic involvement within UMM, larger cluster UMM fellowships, and a potential relationship between UMM and the Pan-Methodist movement.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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Wesley Digital Ministry

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] or go to


Laity Sunday - Oct. 17, 2021: Rise Up! And Revive God's Gift

From Martha Stokes, Conference Lay Leader

Laity Sunday is a special Sunday defined by General Conference “to celebrate the ministry of all Christians” (The Book of Discipline – 2016, ¶ 264.2). Traditionally observed on the third Sunday in October, Laity Sunday is one way we express the deep conviction that all are called to participate in God’s mission and live this calling through the ministry of the church. Ministries of the laity include lay leaders, lay servants, lay speakers, lay ministers, lay missioners, deaconesses, home missioners, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, The Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis, missionary service, and so many other significant forms of ministry.

The Laity Sunday themes for this quadrennium come from 2 Timothy 1:1-14 (NRSV). In this passage we hear a call to rise up and revive God’s gift that first lived in those who have loved and passed it on to us. We hear a call to rise up and recognize and reveal the grace in Christ that destroys death and brings life. As we rise up and remain committed to sound teaching with faith and love, we also rise up and retain the good thing placed in our trust by the Holy Spirit.

The 2021 theme is Rise Up! And Revive God’s Gift (2 Timothy 1:3-7). Click here for materials from Discipleship Ministries. Or the liturgical resources for the third Sunday are beautifully worded and may fit well with your worship plans. Click here to view.

You might also want to look at other resources following the Common Revised Lectionary for Year C, Proper 22(27) – Seventeen Sunday after Pentecost – which includes the 2 Timothy 1:1-14 passage.

General Church News


Conversations address going separate ways

UMNS -- With The United Methodist Church facing a proposed split, multiple groups have events planned to help churchgoers discern where they might feel most at home.

The proposed split comes after decades of intensifying debate over LGBTQ inclusion. Now the question before many: Do they want to stay with The United Methodist Church or seek out an alternative?

This fall, a number of groups have planned online or in-person events aimed at helping churchgoers discuss and discern which direction they and their congregations might choose. The groups include those who hope to stay United Methodist and those hoping to set up a new, more theologically conservative denomination. Learn more...


Program preaches that real men respect women

What is a real man?

“Guys should not cry,” Bob Pickett said. “Anger equals strength. Guys who are physically weak aren’t as good as other men. Men should always be able to provide for their family, and a good job proves your masculinity.”

Catching on yet?

Pickett, who heads the United Methodist Men ministry in the Rappahannock River District in Virginia, is reeling off some assumptions that can lead to trouble in men’s relationships.

Such attitudes can cause misunderstandings and even tragedy. Examining them is part of the AMENDing Through Faith program, developed to combat domestic violence by United Methodist Men and the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. It is available nationally.

Domestic violence in the United States went up 8.1% percent after lockdowns were ordered during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. It’s feared that the resurgence of the coronavirus could cause that to happen again. Read more...

Native American museum makes debut to thousands

The Native American experience during and after colonization has been told before, often inaccurately. For examples, seek out most Hollywood Westerns.

The First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City aims to get it right, at least the Oklahoma part. The $175 million, 175,000-square-foot facility is an effort to cover the history of Oklahoma’s 39 federally recognized tribes. Its grand opening weekend Sept. 18-19 drew thousands to get a first look.

The Rev. Chebon Kernell, a United Methodist elder and executive director of the denomination’s Native American Comprehensive Plan, attended a groundbreaking for the museum more than 15 years ago. It has faced numerous delays, mostly around funding, through the years. 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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