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

July 7, 2020

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?

It is never too early to talk to your children about race. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies can start detecting race-based differences at 6 months old, and children can begin to internalize racial bias by the age of 2. Talking to children about race is a vital step in laying the groundwork for them to recognize and understand equality, discrimination, and privilege, and the earlier parents are able to open that conversation, the better. Check out our list of anti-racist children’s books that feature Black characters and experiences to help inspire a conversation with children on race. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

United Methodists are working to dismantle racism as part of the church’s commitment to freedom and justice for all people. Congregations can work toward equality and equity for all by communicating intentionally with different racial/ethnic groups. Communicating multi-ethnically begins by actively listening to the different voices and experiences within the congregation and wider church – and to those of the communities, the church intends to reach. Learn more from Resource UMC.
  • How can you serve this week?

The Refugee Mask Maker Circle (RMMC) began as an initiative of NOVA Friends of Refugees to help struggling refugee families in the northern Virginia area. This group includes refugee seamstresses and one professional tailor on furlough whose families have been hard hit financially during COVID-19. RMMC started to help them get by, as well as offer an opportunity for them to help reduce the spread of the disease. You can order high-quality cloth masks or make a donation (through Saint George’s Episcopal refugee ministry in Arlington). 100 percent of donations are used to order masks from the mask makers, which are then given free to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, elder refugees and other nonprofits. Masks can be shipped anywhere in the country. More...

Virginia News

Prayer Wall (1)

Share prayers related to racial justice

In response to Bishop Sharma Lewis' Call to Action letter on May 29 to stop systemic racism, a task force was assembled by Bishop Lewis to begin work that will stem from her initial action steps. One of the first action steps is a Facebook group on the conference Facebook page titled "Prayer Wall for Racial Justice." On this wall, clergy and laity of the Virginia Conference can visit and pray for racial justice and reconciliation and share your written or video prayers or other creative avenues to be prayerful in this space. The group emphasized that prayer and action must go hand in hand to stop systemic racism. This virtual prayer wall can serve as a means of igniting prayer movements toward stopping systemic racism.
To learn more about the next steps in the conference on racial justice, visit At the link below, visit the Facebook group, join, share your prayer for racial justice, and share this group as a prayerful space with your Facebook community.

emily moore ac 2019 ordination

Save the Date for 2020 Ordination

The Center for Clergy Excellence asks that you 'Save the Date' for the 2020 Ordination Service. It will be live-streamed for the conference on Friday, July 10, at 11 a.m. The link for the service as well as a PDF bulletin for worship will be on their webpage at For any questions, please contact [email protected].

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Pinnacle Living has long history, and a place for you to serve

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, wrote about many factors he attributed to his own successful aging into his 80s including the importance of a good diet, feeling useful, and being active. Wesley lived to be a very old man in the 18th century! As Methodism spread to the American Colonies, this emphasis on health and wholeness led to the establishment of the first “home for aged persons” in New York City in 1850. The story of ministry with older adults that was to become Pinnacle Living goes back to the 1930s. After several years of study, a report was submitted to the Annual Conference in Lynchburg in 1944, asking that Bishop William Walter Peele appoint a committee with authority to incorporate a board for the “Home for the Aged” and what would eventually become Pinnacle Living was born. As the needs and expectations of seniors have evolved and shifted, Pinnacle Living communities have grown and changed, too. The mission of Enriching Life’s Journey lives out in five distinctive senior living communities across the Virginia Conference. From opportunities to serve as friendly visitors to Music Ministry group performances, they have volunteer opportunities for missional discipleship for persons of all ages. Pastors, Lay Servants and small group leaders are encouraged to contact Pinnacle Living chaplains to find ways to engage in the spiritual formation of residents. If you want to put your passion and call to support older adults into action, Pinnacle Living has a place for you to serve!

Contact Pinnacle Living to learn how to connect their talented, mission-oriented residents to your ministries. From sewing face masks to providing meals for those who are homeless, their residents love to give back to the community. The organization can also provide experts for a specific topics for a ministry presentation among their residents and team members.
For more information about the communities of Pinnacle Living, visit the link below or contact Martha Stokes, Director of Church and Community Relations, at (804) 474-8718 or [email protected].
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Talk to United Methodist Credit Union: PPP program extended to August

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). The SBA's PPP Loan Program deadline to apply has been extended to August 7, 2020. If you're not already a member, you can quickly become one and apply for this program using a convenient online application. Please call Jomin Mujar at (804) 672-0200 for more details or visit their website.


2020 Apportionment update shared in Treasurer's Office newsletter

Learn about update on 2020 apportionments and more from the conference Treasurer's Office in their Dollars & Sense newsletter.


Job opportunity available in Clergy Excellence office

The Advisory Team of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Appointive Cabinet are pleased to announce that applications will be received through August 9 for the Associate Director of Call & Candidacy in the Center for Clergy Excellence. This part-time (28 hours per week) position, beginning September 15, 2020, will focus on missional areas of call, candidacy mentoring, and District Committee on Ordained Ministry support. A detailed job description is available on the conference website.

2020 Annual Conference

Annual Conference 2020 will be virtual one-day event

June 29, 2020--The Bishop, Appointive Cabinet and the Annual Conference Planning team have continued to evaluate options while conducting extensive logistical work of planning for the 2020 Virginia Annual Conference. In a statement from June 29, the groups shares that the 2020 Annual Conference will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2020, in a virtual format.

church finances webinar gbhem

GBHEM hosts webinar on church finances

Are you concerned about your church's finances right now? Would you like some expert advice? Join the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) for their first virtual book club for a discussion with author and financial stewardship expert, Bonnie Ives Marden. "Church Finances: How to stay afloat and thrive—even in 2020!" is free and will be streamed live on their Facebook page and YouTube channel on July 9 at 11 a.m. CDT. Viewers are encouraged to pose questions in the comments of either platform.

reopening churches

Bishop Lewis thanks conference for perseverance during pandemic

June 29, 2020--Bishop Lewis thanked the conference for their perseverance during the pandemic and for their work as churches head back to in-person worship.

appointments FINAL

View 2020-2021 Appointments

The Clergy Executive Session of the Virginia Annual Conference met by Zoom on June 18. The 2020-2021 appointments were "fixed" by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis. The new list is available on the conference website for viewing.

local church historians school

Local Church Historian School offered to any UMC church

Are you, or someone you know, interested in caring for or improving your church's program of history? The General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church will be offering a Local Church Historian School in 2020 for church historians---or anyone interested in the story of their church. The Local Church Historian School curriculum will cover a wide range of skills necessary to become a "complete" church historian. Participating congregations will benefit from a new consciousness of their heritage and legacy and be motivated to study their unique stories and proclaim it to those around them. The online school will begin on September, 14, 2020. Plan now to use this opportunity to ensure that the heritage of each of our churches will be celebrated and that each church can receive the full benefit of its own amazing story. The only prerequisite for the Local Church Historian School is access to dependable email service. (Minimal computer skills are required.)

Register now...


Apply for website grant from United Methodist Communications

Church websites are a vital part of digital ministry. If your church doesn’t have a website, United Methodist Communications wants to help! Apply for a Website Development Package, which includes:
• One year of web hosting and domain name registration
• WordPress online training and support
• Predesigned templates
• Email accounts and storage

Read more

General Church News

Unsnarling U.S. and church racial history

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Methodism’s founder wanted to minister with Native Americans and abolish slavery. But decades after John Wesley’s death, a Methodist bishop was a slaveholder and a Methodist clergyman was responsible for one of the worst massacres of Native Americans in U.S. history. So what went wrong? United Methodist historians and other leaders led a livestreamed denominational town hall July 1 to explore their church’s complicated and sometimes suppressed record on race. Their aim: to help United Methodists turn away from past transgressions and join the denomination’s renewed push against the sin of racism.

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Native ministry fills need in Tulsa food desert

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--On the last Friday of the month, Tulsa Indian United Methodist Church opens its doors to provide food boxes for families in need. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people seeking help has doubled. “The food bank is vital. We’ve seen the numbers go up just in the first weekend that we stopped the church services and stopped allowing people to come into the church because of the coronavirus,” said the Rev. Larry Robinson, pastor of Tulsa Indian United Methodist Church. Oklahoma began “stay at home” measures in late March.

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Online worship makes evangelism less intimidating for many

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP--One apparent advantage of an online worship format is that people seem to be more inclined to extend and respond to invitations to check out church online. Virtual evangelism is proving easier, less intimidating, and more spontaneous than face-to-face evangelism.

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How Jesus became white — and why it’s time to cancel that

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE (RNS) - The “Head of Christ” has been called the “best-known American artwork of the 20th century.” A painting by Warner E. Sallman, it depicts a gentle Jesus with blue eyes turned heavenward and dark blond hair cascading over his shoulders in waves. The New York Times once labeled Sallman the “best-known artist” of the 20th century, despite the fact that few recognized his name. “Sallman, who died in 1968, was a religious painter and illustrator whose most popular picture, ‘Head of Christ,’ achieved a mass popularity that makes Warhol’s soup can seem positively obscure,” William Grimes of the Times wrote in 1994. The painting, which has been reproduced a billion times, came to define what the central figure of Christianity looked like for generations of Christians in the United States — and beyond. As protesters around the United States tear down statues of Confederate heroes and demand an accounting for the country’s long legacy of racism, some in the church are asking if the time has come to cancel so-called white Jesus — including Sallman’s famed painting.

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One Last Word: Turn words into action

lake junaluska july 4
Floating lanterns cast beautiful glimmers of light on the water this Fourth of July
at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina.
return to worship (1)
Learn more about three-stage return to in-person worship at Virginia Conference churches:

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...
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