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October 19, 2021

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Youth Ministry in an Era of Pandemic and Over-Parenting is an online event hosted by The Institute for Youth Ministry, featu
  • How can you be an influencer?
Learn how one pastor is o
  • How can you serve?

October is as a time to plan f

Virginia News


Make it Matter One-Day Youth Rally will replace Youth Retreat; registration is open

After careful consideration regarding the current COVID climate, the Dec. 3-5 youth retreat has been shifted to a one-day rally. The rally will be on Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. Learn more...
Click here to register by November 29.

In honor of 'Pastor Appreciation Month'

A Message of Appreciation from Conference Lay Leader Martha Stokes

I received my first pastoral visit when I was 5 or 6 years old. My father, along with my grandparents, had been counting the offering down

Wesley Design Fellowship for Young Adults Includes $8,000 Stipend to Innovate In Ministry

Wesley Theological Seminary announces its new Wesley Design Fellowship, a one-year, cohort-based experience that includes community formation, spiritual direction, graduate-level courses, and hands-on experience leading innovation. Open to young adults (ages 23-29) interested in leading new ways to connect young adults with the whole church, each fellow will earn an $8000 stipend and four graduate academic course credits. Application deadline is February 1, 2022. For more information or to apply, go to #innovate #design

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

Photograph of Capt. Pratt and students at the Carlisle Industrial School, black and white photographic print, 13 cm x 21.5 cm. Capt. Richard Henry Pratt served as the head of the Carlisle Industrial School, where Native Americans were sent. Photograph circa 1900 (undated). Pratt died in 1924. Courtesy of the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Traumatic Legacy of Indigenous Boarding Schools

Commentary by the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Board of Church and Society
I serve on a team for the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace of the World Council of Churches. For more than six years, this international multifaith team has traveled to different parts of the world, listening and learning from people and communities whose voices are often marginalized and ignored.

Their stories are traumatic and sometimes tragic. This year, via Zoom, we sat and listened to stories of Indigenous communities in North America, including those in Standing Rock and Minneapolis in the U.S. and Winnipeg, the Toronto area and the Artic Circle in Canada. The vision, strength, and courage of these communities as they address the issues of land and dispossession, gender violence and racial violence is remarkable.

On a June morning during this year’s pilgrimage, our hearts were broken. As we sat together for devotions by Archbishop Marc MacDonald of the Anglican Church of Canada, we heard of the recent discovery of the 215 bodies of children in unmarked graves in land close to a residential school on Turtle Island, a traditional Native territory.

The news of the unmarked graves was a “gut punch to the community,” said MacDonald, the first national Indigenous Anglican bishop. He then told us, “We are now grieving as we listen patiently and provide space to hear the deep sorrow of the survivors of the residential schools.” Read more


Registration open for MARCHA Online event, Nov. 19-20

MARCHA is the Hispanic/Latino caucus within the United Methodist Church. MARCHA will host its yearly encounter online, live, via Zoom webinar and meetings. The gathering will include times of worship, celebrations, learning, networking, and strategic conversations as the present and past as a movement is celebrated. The group will discern the next steps in the journey of advocacy for peace with justice for all. Register

Mt. Bethel countersues conference leaders

UMNS -- Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church has filed a counterclaim in response to a lawsuit filed by North Georgia Conference trustees.

In the legal filing, attorneys argue that conference leadership is blocking efforts by the Marietta, Georgia, congregation to disaffiliate under denominational law and is instead seeking to retain church property.
Conference leaders “orchestrated a pastoral conflict with Mt. Bethel, and then proclaimed a sham ‘closure’ and take-over of the local church,” the counterclaim says.

“Mt. Bethel is a thriving 10,000-member Cobb County congregation with substantial assets.”
The church is asking for the court to direct the conference to let the church vote on disaffiliation and is seeking further damages determined by a jury. Read more

One Last Word

Special thanks to clergy and leaders
of the Virginia Annual Conference.

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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