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October 11, 2022

To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].
Events (1)
  • November 2-4- Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
To view local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at To submit an event for inclusion submit this form.

Resource Spotlight: Share appreciation for your pastor in October

October is Pastor Appreciation Month and there are many ways a congregation can celebrate their pastor this month. Some ideas can include:
  • Provide a bag or basket and encourage members to contribute a card of appreciation to the pastor. Young children, meanwhile, could create art or a drawing.
  • Write a special prayer for your pastor that the entire congregation reads together in worship. Deepen the intention by having each member of the congregation commit to ongoing prayer for the pastor and their family during October and beyond.
  • Encourage people to simply tell the pastor what they appreciate about them—and to not underestimate regular words of affirmation.
  • Have the leadership team schedule time with the pastor(s) to ensure regular vacation days and time for professional development over the next year. Deepen the intention by discussing a future plan for a possible renewal leave as provided for clergy in the Book of Discipline.
  • Provide an experience—dinner, theater, train ride—for the pastor(s) and their family to enjoy together.
Read more ideas from the Minnesota Conference...

October Challenge: Share your Bright Spots

OCTOBER CHALLENGE: Have you ever noticed that when you focus on the negative, all you can see are more negative things around you? But when you focus on the positive things in your life, it makes you more aware and open to other 'bright spots' in your life. The conference Communications Office challenges every clergyperson, every lay leader, every mission chair, every church to look around this month and to submit a good news story to the Communications Office to share.

From personal stories of connection, to ministry events to community outreach, the Communications Office wants to hear from you! How many of these ministries and stories of connection could lift and inspire other United Methodists around the Virginia Conference and connection?

Send emails to [email protected]. Your story may be featured in an upcoming newsletter or video.

A Bright Spot: Cameron UMC, Alexandria

Joe Fisher, Lay Leader

"Our church building, Cameron United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is now home to seven diverse congregations. The parking lots are full every Sunday (Saturdays, too) and smiling faces are everywhere.
"Prior to COVID, as our church attendance was declining, we realized we had lots of unused space in our church building. In seeking ways to make use of this space within our ministry, we discovered many congregations needed space to worship. Some were using public spaces (schools, parks, etc.) and paying high rental costs, but those were often closed on the high holidays of Easter and Christmas. By moving to worship within our church, they saved money and had reliable access to worship spaces and times for other activities, such as Bible study and special events.
"The other congregations are diverse. One is Ghanaian, several are Hispanic, one is Armenian Orthodox, and several are Evangelical. Two are as large as our congregation, while others smaller. Collectively, they are reaching and bringing people to Christ that would not normally be attracted to our traditional United Methodist worship. As a “Christian campus,” we have participated in each other’s worship services, come together on Work Days to keep up the property, and celebrated special events within individual congregations.
"In addition to using our space for our own worship and Christian education, we try to be a good neighbor within our community. We provide space to local HOAs for their meetings, host an NA group, the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, and provide classroom space for local small business education. Our hope is that if people come into our church for other activities, they might be inspired to return for worship.
"Our pastor, the Rev. Oliver Box, has been the key coordinator of this “space” ministry. He often jokes that “property management” should be a major new and mandatory study area in seminary. He saw our unused space as a potential ministry and was willing to innovate with ways to use it to God’s purpose. By bringing diverse congregations into our church – giving them their own worship space – they are attracting and bringing people to Christ that we would not have been able to reach easily across cultural and racial lines."
cameron umc

Virginia News

cleaning buckets

Join the Cleaning Kit Conference Challenge

In a September 8 letter, Bishop Lewis shared that VAUMC Disaster Coordinator, the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, had received an urgent call from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) requesting cleaning kits. UMCOR Supply Depots are already close to disbursing all their stored cleaning kits to impacted areas. In 2017, the Virginia Conference responded to a similar call and collected 4,676 cleaning kits, estimated at $350,700.
Lewis challenged the conference in her letter sharing, "Together, as the Virginia Conference, let us once again step up as the church. The VAUMC Annual Conference Kit team proposes to hold another event on November 10, 2022, with our goal to collect 4,677 Cleaning Kits by November.
"This is one more kit from our previous collection in 2017. Our goal can be easily reached if every church contributes four (4) kits or 585 kits per district. We ask all churches in the Virginia Conference to be “United as One” in this opportunity to share the hope of Jesus Christ."
For more information, please visit, or contact Serving Ministries at [email protected].
You may also make a financial donation by visiting
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Send in your Cleaning Kit stories!

As your church joins the Virginia Conference Cleaning Kit Challenge, be sure to share your progress and your story of collecting Cleaning kits to [email protected].

We look forward to celebrating and showing the work and effort the Virginia Conference has achieved together to help in future disaster relief recovery.

You can view the 'Share Your Bucket Story" page HERE.
Open Enrollment concept. White lightbox on a gray office desk

Open Enrollment runs Oct. 10-31

The open enrollment period for 2023 elections in the Conference-sponsored benefit plans began on Monday, October 10, and ends on Monday, October 31. During this period, a new Unity Web online benefits enrollment system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for eligible clergy and lay employees to make 2023 plan elections. To access the information page for open enrollment, which includes a brief video and instructions for the open enrollment system, CLICK HERE.
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Bailey Scholars application is open at R-MC

Young people are searching for meaningful vocations as they make plans after high school. Do you know someone considering a call to Christian ministry? Whether it’s a call to preach, mission work, faith-based non-profit leadership, music ministry, youth ministry, chaplaincy... the Church needs young leaders who are prepared to guide us into the future.

Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA is the oldest continuously operating Methodist College in the U.S. and is committed to nurturing a new generation of church leaders. Our Bailey Scholars program awards a half-tuition scholarship for the first two years followed by a full tuition scholarship for a student’s final two years at R-MC. Bailey Scholars also benefit from two internships (one for academic credit and one for a $3,000 stipend) and a weekly meeting with other pre-ministerial students.

Please share this information with young people and youth ministers whom you know. Learn more at The application deadline for next year’s incoming class is March 1, 2023. Contact R-MC Chaplain and Pre-Ministerial Program Director the Rev. Kendra Grimes at [email protected] for more information.
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Credit Union introduces 'AdoptionAssist'

The upfront expenses in the adoption process itself keep a lot of people from even considering adoption from the potential legal expenses, travel, lodging, agency fees, medical costs, and counseling during the adoption process can sometimes cost thousands of dollars.
"AdoptionAssist" is an innovative, low-interest line-of-credit (LOC) that prospective adoptive parents can use to fund many adoption expenses (Current Rate – 6.95%). During the adoption phase and for a full year after - no payments are required. After that, AdoptionAssist will convert to a simple, low-interest fixed loan.
CEO Jim Eads said about the program, "As the father of two adopted children myself, I'm particularly gratified that the credit union has the opportunity to offer this kind of assistance. We also feel it’s part of our Christian mission to help any of our Members that may be considering adoption." Learn more...
dillard forum

Free Richmond church event focuses on food issues in U.S.

The 2022 Dillard Forum is excited to bring Dr. Norbert Wilson to Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Avenue, Richmond, VA 23229 on November 6-7. This Forum will focus on food issues in our country and will address equity in access to food, food waste, and the ramifications of our choices in what we eat. This event is free to attend, and all are welcome!
Dr. Wilson is the Professor of Food, Economics, and Community at Duke Divinity School and is an ordained vocational deacon in the Episcopal Church USA. With several degrees in agricultural economics, he has spent his career involved in food policy with the underlying premise that food is a basic human right. Mark your calendars now for this important event!

  • Sunday, November 6 @ 7 p.m. in Trinity’s Sanctuary: U.S. Food Security: We Must Do Better
  • Monday, November 7 @ 12 noon via ZOOM: Discussion and Q & A

    Register in advance for this meeting being held on Monday, November 7 @ 12 noon:
    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
  • Monday, November 7 @ 7 p.m. in Trinity’s Sanctuary: Charity and Justice: Old Ways to Address Contemporary Food Insecurity
Professor Wilson’s research touches on several food issues, such as access, choice, and food waste. He continues to work on food safety and quality issues in international trade and domestic food systems. Wilson is an ordained vocational deacon in the Episcopal Church USA. Additionally, his work is moving to explore equity in food access. He has published in AEA Papers and Proceedings, World Development, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Public Health, Food Policy, Agricultural Economics, and other publications. Before joining Duke Divinity School, Wilson was a professor of food policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (2017-2020). He was also a professor of agricultural economics at Auburn University (1999-2016). While at Auburn, Wilson served as a deacon at St. Dunstan’s, the Episcopal Student Center of Auburn University (2011-2016). He was an economist/policy analyst in the Trade Directorate (2004-2006) and the Agriculture Directorate (2001-2002) of the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) in Paris, France.
UMFS Offering_Mackenzie

UMFS December Offering supports high-risk children

United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is grateful for the faithful support of local churches in the Virginia Conference. Your generous gifts help children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students get the support they need to thrive.

Your support through the UMFS offering has helped children like Mackenzie. Mackenzie experienced severe trauma as a young child. Her behavioral and mental health challenges continued to escalate. When she was 13, Mackenzie came to UMFS and began a healing journey that would change her life. Today she has a stable home and a job she enjoys. Mackenzie shared that “I never would have thought I’d be where I am today.” Your support through the UMFS December offering will help more children like Mackenzie get the help they need to achieve a brighter future. You can access UMFS bulletin inserts, short videos, images, and more at Please contact Jill Gaynor ([email protected] or 804-254-9463) with any questions. Thank you for your support!
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October 25 Continuing Education event to be held at Randolph-Macon College

Who Cares? We do! Clergy are invited to Randolph-Macon College for a half-day retreat to explore the theme of Caring on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. Dr. Maria Fleshood (LPC, MDiv, DMin, and former international missionary) will lead the event. Presentations will include Clergy Self Care, Caring for your Congregation, and Congregations Caring for their Community. The third presentation is free and open to the public as R-MC and DMUMC’s annual Ira Andrews Lecture. Registration for this in-person retreat is $20 and .5 CEUs are available through the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. More details and registration information can be found at
clergy convocation

Lay, Clergy Leaders welcome to Richmond Hill Clergy Convocation on Oct. 20

Please join the Richmond Hill Community for a power packed Clergy Convocation, with a panel of dynamic voices on Thursday, October 20:
• Bro. Marcel Boyd, Executive Leadership Team at Liberation
• Sis. Amy Foley, Founder and Executive Director of Camp Hope Worldwide
• Rev. Dr. Kimberly Ridley, Senior Pastor at The Light Community Church
• Rev. Dr. Corey Widmer, Lead Pastor at Third Church
“Giving voice to the voiceless, regularly signifies that the historically underrepresented, disadvantaged, or vulnerable gain opportunities to organize, increase visibility, and express themselves by leveraging the strengths of information, media, and communication technologies”. — Molly Callahan, Northeastern University. Suggested $10 donation for lunch immediately following noon prayers. Register here...
news update

Reminder about October 29 Called Annual Conferences

As a reminder to the Virginia Annual Conference members, on Saturday, October 29, 2022, two Special Annual Conferences will be held:
At 9 a.m, an Annual Conference will convene for the sole purpose of closing church property using Paragraph 2549.3.
At 9:30 a.m., an Annual Conference will convene for the sole purpose of ratifying the disaffiliation of local churches seeking to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church over matters of human sexuality using Paragraph 2553.
Next week, further information, including an agenda, will be shared concerning the Special Annual Conferences as well as an upcoming webinar opportunity (prior to October 29) to submit questions concerning the Annual Conferences.
Voting credentials will be shared with Annual Conference members the week of October 29.
All Annual Conference-related information will be posted on the Virginia Conference website at
Questions concerning the two Special Annual Conferences may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers at [email protected].
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VAUMC invited to be in partnership with missionary

Some churches are already in a covenant relationship with a Global Ministries missionary. Other churches have not yet found a way to include any level of “ends of the earth” support in their budgets. What about your church? Have you found that personal connection with a missionary, where your congregation can get excited about supporting God’s mission “to the ends of the earth”? The Virginia Conference currently partners with seven missionaries serving various parts of the world. You can find a list of them on the Serving Ministries Missionaries page. A good way to connect with a missionary is to find a common area of ministry concern and service.
Churches in the Virginia Conference have the opportunity to be in a relationship with Global Ministries missionary Jennifer Moore. She serves in the Balkan country of North Macedonia. Jennifer is responsible for leadership and program development for ministries with children and youth in the Macedonian District. Does your church work with children and youth (in your church or in your community)? If so, this is a connection to which you can relate!
Jennifer will be in the United States and available to speak in your congregation from November 5 through December 20. (She will also be available for online Zoom visits and presentations from October 1 through 15 and January 14 through February 28.) Learn more...

There's a lobster in my office: Blog on Christian Innovation

As lobsters grow, they must periodically shed their current shell to accommodate their larger bodies. The lobster has all the resources it needs to form the new shell. It starts by withdrawing nutrients from the old shell, and slowly grows bloated with water that separates the lobster’s body from its shell, and which eventually cracks the shell. Then the lobster must slowly withdraw its eyes, claws, and legs from the old shell, and squeeze its body backwards out through the opening. It finally pushes itself out of the last bit of shell with its tail. The lobster is most vulnerable at this point. Even as it pumps nutrients through its body, it takes several days for the new shell to harden, but once it does, the lobster has room to grow again.
Imagine the lobster as a metaphor for the church, trapped in a shell (you pick what that shell represents!), unable to grow, perhaps bloated because it’s pulling all its resources inward. It is not until the church takes the vulnerable step to leave that shell, to risk exposure to the outside environment without the protection of bricks and stained glass, that it is able to grow again. Learn more in blog from conference Influencing Office...
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How can your church help during disasters?

With disasters like the summer flooding in Kentucky, Virginia Conference clergy and laity want to help. Learn more in a recent blog post on what is needed following these disasters. Learn more...
race relations

2022-2023 grant program releases from GCORR

The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) is proud to announce a new cycle of the CORR Action Fund (CAF) grant program that will support creative initiatives that will transform the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the world. The 2022-2023 grant program will provide up to $10,000 to fund projects that increase intercultural competency and support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity, and systemic equity leading to action.
UMC churches and other UMC entities are invited to apply for funding by submitting a proposal that:
• demonstrates bold and innovative thinking,
• reaches more people, younger people, and more diverse people,
• results in long-term change that could be replicated in other local churches, districts, conferences, or other entities within the UMC, and
• utilizes existing GCORR resources.
The CAF grant program was established by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church for the empowerment of diversity, inclusion, and racial justice work both inside and outside the Church.
Applications are now open. This grant application cycle closes November 15, 2022. Learn more...
Grants from around the connection can be found at the conference website. Learn more...
facing the future

Online event for pastors serving cross-racial, cross-cultural, and multicultural contexts

After a brief hiatus during the pandemic, “Facing the Future” is returning. Facing the Future is the premier conference for anyone engaged with or discerning cross-racial/cross-cultural ministry. You will learn skills to support the CRCC ministry context, personal self-care, and professional development. You will experience meaningful worship and workshops from sought-after leaders and professionals. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

Early Registration (August 1-31): $45.00
Standard Registration (September 1 - October 15): $50.00
Late Registration (October 16-31): $60.00
Learn more...
news update

Virginia Conference responds to law firm representing churches seeking to disaffiliate

September 1--In recent weeks, the Virginia Conference received more than two dozen letters from an organization called the National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) demanding that 26 churches be able to promptly disaffiliate under Paragraph 2548.2 of the Book of Discipline so they can join the Global Methodist Church. Read more in conference press release...

Read other releases and information about disaffiliation here...

Update on Scout settlement

September 26-- Recently there was the unfortunate release of incorrect information by the General Commission on United Methodist Men about future agreements between the Boy Scouts and local United Methodist churches. While this information has been removed from a website and retracted, it has led to confusion with some of our churches. The status of future agreements with the Boy Scouts and the local UMC churches remains as previously announced by the Conference on August 30, 2022, specifically:
All present affiliation agreements (charters and facility use agreements) between the United Methodist local churches and their local BSA councils have been automatically extended to December 31, 2022; and
Churches wishing to sign new affiliation or facilities use agreements can use the documents provided on July 8, 2022 by the Virginia Conference. These agreements cannot be modified. If you are asked by anyone to modify the agreements mentioned above, do not do it. Local churches may have significant legal exposure if the local church signs any document other than what is specified above. The Conference will promptly inform clergy and laity of future developments about any sanctioned agreements with the BSA. To reiterate, all current charter and facilities use agreements are in place until December 31, 2022.
Should you have questions, please contact the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop, at [email protected]. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Although the Conference was not involved in this unfortunate development, conference leadership appreciates your continued grace and understanding as we all navigate the issues with the BSA.

General Church News

kenyan water drought

Kenyan church helps drought-stricken community

UM NEWS-- Kenya is facing its worst drought in 40 years. With help from partners, Tumaini United Methodist Church is supplying food and clean water to children and families affected by the drought along Kenya’s coast. Learn more...
writing letter

Open letter from Texas Conference clergy, laity

UM NEWS-- Many clergy and laity of the Texas Conference have signed an open letter saying they are “grieving the loss of so many churches and clergy” due to disaffiliation but are themselves committed to revitalizing the remaining conference churches, planting churches and continuing strong connections with Houston Methodist Hospital and other affiliate institutions. “We embrace the revival that is just beginning,” the letter says. Read full letter...

Church of the Resurrection releases #ProudtobeUMC videos

Since the spring, United Methodist Church members have increasingly received incorrect and harmful information from those recruiting members to join the Global Methodist Church, a new traditionalist denomination organized by the Wesleyan Covenant Association that began operations in May.
The largest United Methodist church in the denomination, Church of the Resurrection, and its pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, recently shared a number of videos covering why the church and its community will remain a part of The United Methodist Church. Learn more...

Bishops push back against recruitment tactics

UM NEWS-- As churches weigh exiting the denomination, bishops are trying to set the record straight on misinformation being spread about The United Methodist Church’s future. They also are working toward building a church where traditionalists, centrists and progressives will all feel at home. Meanwhile, a recent decision by The United Methodist Church’s top court limits how churches can exit with property and may make it harder for some lawsuits demanding disaffiliation to succeed in civil courts. Learn more...

Is The United Methodist Church really...?

UM NEWS--Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has received many questions from congregations wondering about the future of the denomination and whether they should consider disaffiliating from it. These have included recurrent questions that reflect misperceptions or misinformation that congregations are receiving as they discern their next steps. This is the first of a series of articles offering accurate responses to such misperceptions or misinformation. Learn more...

Join the denomination in sharing why you are #BeUMC

#BeUMC honors the core values that connect the people of The United Methodist Church (The UMC). This grassroots campaign, built upon powerful stories of congregations and people living their faith, celebrates what draws us to The UMC and what we aspire to be.

The UMC is founded on a Wesleyan theology of grace, anchored in Scripture, and based in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit.

The full story of The UMC reflects all of our interwoven experiences. Consider our common roots and your answer to the question, “Why am I United Methodist?” Then, post a video, photo or written testimony on your preferred social media platform – don’t forget to use the hashtag #BeUMC. Download the campaign guide...

One Last Word

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalm 118:24 NRSV
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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