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February 14, 2023

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Events (1)
To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

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Virginia News

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Information released about Feb. 18 Special Annual Conference

As a reminder to the Virginia Annual Conference members, on Saturday, February 18, 2023, a Special Annual Conference will be held virtually at 9 a.m. for the sole purpose of considering the ratification of local churches seeking to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church over matters of human sexuality using Paragraph 2553.Confirmation of registration and the link to access the session were sent to Annual Conference members on February 13. Questions concerning the Special Annual Conference may be directed to [email protected]. All Annual Conference-related information will be posted on the Virginia Conference website.

Pray for Turkey and Syria

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey and North Syria at 4:17 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, resulted in thousands of deaths and many more families displaced. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) partnered with International Blue Crescent (IBC) to provide shelters and much-needed assistance for people who experienced displacement. To read more of UMCOR’s response visit their webpage.
Churches of the Virginia Conference are asked to join in prayer for the people experiencing despair and to join collective giving through our connectional system. Join in giving to UMCOR International Disaster Response and Recovery fund online or by sending your donations to the Virginia Conference Business Office (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058).
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New 2023 Lenten resource: Role Play the Gospel now available

Are you looking for a new way to experience the Lenten Season? A new resource called Role Play the Gospel (or RPtheG) is a project created by a group of Virginia clergy, laity, and the conference Communications Office to help immerse yourself into the events of Holy Week. Build a character, read some Scripture, and turn on those imaginations! Download now...
pace center

The Pace Center receives award

The Leadership Education at Duke Divinity grants Traditioned Innovation Awards to initiatives that engage in experiments to transform communities by living out the convictions of an ancient faith in the current challenging circumstances. According to organization, "The awardees inspire Christian leaders to consider our convictions and daily activities so that we may more abundantly bear witness to the reign of God." One of the 2022 winners is The Pace Center in Richmond, Va. Learn more...
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UM Day focused on advocacy, witness

The Virginia Annual Conference has been a change maker in the Commonwealth for over 30 years. On January 26, 2023, United Methodists from throughout the Conference met in person in Richmond for United Methodist Day at General Assembly, after meeting virtually the past two years. Participants gathered together to meet with their legislators to discuss issues relevant to faith, ranging from Affordable Housing to Criminal Justice Reform, Paid Sick Days to Maternal Health, to advocate for the least, the last and the lost. Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) provided guidance and information to the group.
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson shared words of welcome and encouragement and, additionally, three District Superintendents, Rev. Sarah Calvert, Rev. Doug Forrester, and Rev. Victor Gomez, shared on some of the reasons we as United Methodists are called to social justice.
Keynote speaker, the Rev. Neal Christie, spoke on the Social Principles as the basis for our work. Participants shared what some of their churches are doing year-round on social justice and advocacy, and dreamed about new ways to be in ministry. The day concluded with worship.
As follow-up, UM Day leadership will follow up virtually with staff from VICPP to track the progress of bills and plan for means of advocacy throughout the year.
Churches are encouraged to look for opportunities to continue advocacy work, including meeting with legislators in their communities, to develop relationships. And of course, invite more Virginia United Methodists to join next year, as we meet for United Methodist Day at General Assembly 2024! Watch the recap video...
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Local church target of arsonist

Rose Park UMC, an over 140-year old church in Madison, Va., was the target of an arsonist on Wednesday, January 25. The perpetrator has been charged and the fire caused significant damage to the church's sanctuary. It will be a considerable time before the congregation can return to their sanctuary as the church rebuilds and repairs. The church, as part of the Madison Charge, will meet at Madison UMC for the foreseeable future. On her blog, Pastor Liz Petry wrote: "As I prepared to go and walk inside Rose Park, I had many apprehensions. I was filled with sadness and my steps were heavy. I crossed the threshold and saw the darkness and smelled the lingering smoke in the air. At first, it is hard not to get lost in the immense damage caused by the fire. I’m sure each of us had certain things to check for damage, but as I approached the altar, I found joy. On the altar, I found the Christ candle gleaming, white and unmelted, standing among the ashes and misshapen, discolored altar cloth.”
Donations will be graciously accepted by check or online giving. The church is also in need of Pew Bibles, hymnals, a piano, and an organ if any congregation has any to share. Read more...
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Foundation awards more than $56,000 in grants

The Virginia United Methodist Foundation (VAUMF) has awarded a total of $56,250 in grant funding to 22 organizations. Since the grants program was launched in 2015, the foundation has distributed a total of nearly $400,000 in grants to initiatives and nonprofits throughout the Virginia United Methodist Conference (VAUMC).
VAUMF grants fund a variety of projects which are run primarily by churches affiliated with the Virginia United Methodist Conference. According to VAUMF President Bo Bowden, “The foundation believes in giving back to the community and works diligently to enhance and expand these local ministries by providing grant funding.” Learn more...

The Virginia United Methodist Foundation (VAUMF) exists to serve local churches and Conference agencies in their efforts to expand their programs and ministries through planned giving and endowment funds. The Foundation also invests monies for local churches and Conference agencies in accordance with the socially responsible investing principles of the United Methodist Book of Discipline.
The foundation has provided nearly $400,000 in grants since 2015 to support worthy ministries and projects within the Virginia United Methodist Conference (VAUMC). The Virginia United Methodist Foundation accepts donations to its grants fund year-round.
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Watch recording of Bishop Sue Installation Service

A Service of Celebration of Assignment for Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson took place on Saturday, February 11. Watch the recorded livestream...
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Submit names for Harry Denman Awards

Is anyone in your congregation a deeply formed spiritual leader who has the ability to assist others in their discipleship? Perhaps they are involved in youth, family, or senior ministry and have helped people to become a disciple or encouraged their growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. They may be involved in local mission and/or ministries that have influenced lives in the name of Christ. The Board of Discipleship each year recognizes one clergyperson , one lay person and one youth who displays fruitful discipleship in their lives. The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2023. Information and nominations may be obtained at the conference website. Nominations should be completed online or sent to Becky Tate ([email protected]) or Matt Sergent ([email protected]).
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Register now for small church communications webinar

Register today for the Small and Rural Church Communications Webinar on Wednesday, March 8, 9 a.m.-noon, on Zoom. This free webinar hosted by the conference Board of Communications will focus on the communication needs of small and rural churches that often face limited resources, budgets, technology, and staff but who want to reach their community and members in effective ways. Guest speakers will include Rev. Keon Huh, Jonathan Lemaster-Smith, and Jeremy Brown. Register...
skunk on the table

New Skunk on the Table episode explores disaffiliation

Skunk on the Table is a video, podcast and article series with a focus on simple and clear conversations about topics of interest to the Virginia Conference and denomination. In the second episode of the series, Bishop Sue shares her thoughts on disaffiliation, advice for churches considering disaffiliation, and encouragement to clergy and laity in the Virginia Conference to be boldly United Methodist and to focus on their ministry and witness. The podcast and article for the episode are available.
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Foundation for Evangelism Local Church Grant Cycle now open

The Foundation for Evangelism is now accepting applications for the 2023 Equipping the Local Church grant cycle. A total of $350,000 is available for grants of $5,000 or $10,000 to small and medium church congregations, or clusters of churches working together, in a Wesleyan-tradition denomination.
The grant is intended to help launch an experiment or initiative to share the Gospel, faith stories, and invite others into a relationship with Jesus. Any church or group of churches fitting the criteria may apply. Grants will be awarded in the summer of 2023.
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Serving Office seeking applications for VAUMC Advance Special

The Serving Ministries at the Virginia United Methodist Conference is currently accepting applications for ministry organizations to be considered as Virginia Conference Advance Special. Information of Conference Advance Specials can be found in paragraph 656, page 505 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. If you are interested in qualifying as an Advance Special ministry group, please review the guidelines and complete the application by March 1, 2023, to be considered. Please contact the Serving Ministries Office at [email protected] or 804-521-1138 if you have any questions.
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Video discusses John Wesley and the circuit riders

Ready for more John Wesley and early Methodist history? In this video from VAUMC Communications, learn more about circuit riding from early Methodism. This ongoing series of videos will share more about Methodist history as well as our founder John Wesley. View the previous video with the 2022 John Wesley Halloween video.
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R-MC Bailey Scholar applications are due in March

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 or 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. Bailey Scholars complete their B.A. or B.S. degree (their major/minor is their choice) at Randolph-Macon College and then chose an A.T.S. accredited seminary/theology school to pursue a Masters Degree that best suits their call and the requirements of their tradition/denomination. Students from all Christian traditions are welcome into the program. We’d love to meet any potential students you can recommend! Please share this information with students who are considering a call to ministry. Learn more. The application deadline for next year’s incoming class is March 1, 2023. Contact R-MC Chaplain and Pre-Ministerial Program Director Rev. Kendra Grimes for more information.

New webpage highlights VAUMC clergy books

A new webpage on the conference website will share books written by VAUMC clergy (books focusing on faith, UM mission, ministry, and polity) as a way to share with conference clergy and laity potential resources for individual and group study. Clergy can share their information by emailing [email protected]. Books listed on the webpage are not endorsed by the conference. Learn more...
devotions with deacons

New deacon devotion launches

Need a spiritual boost? Join the VAUMC Order of Deacons on Mondays of each week on the VAUMC Connection podcast to center with a weekly 3-5 min. devotional including but not limited to lectionary Scriptures, prayers, and positive messages. You can listen anywhere you can find podcasts or on the VAUMC Digital Hub.
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Mentors needed for summer camps

All God's Children Camp is looking for mentors this summer. There are three opportunities to serve: June 18-23, August 6-11, and August 13-18. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve locally. Also, this is a great mission trip for youth groups and other small groups and it's free. Please contact Camp Coordinator Lori Smith for more information.
A ministry of the Virginia Annual Conference, All God’s Children Camp is a weeklong overnight camp for children ages 7 to 12, with an incarcerated parent. Campers have an opportunity to participate in all the physical activities the camp has to offer such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, and Bible study, along with a conflict resolution/self-esteem-building class. Learn more...

General Church News

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Haitians find comfort in faith in face of violence, hunger

UM NEWS— Mission volunteer coordinator for the Methodist Church of Haiti said the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July of 2021 has left the country in chaos and ruled by gangs.
The most critical need is food, but the country is also experiencing a cholera outbreak.
United Methodists are providing support but more help is needed. Learn more...
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Social media resources for Ash Wednesday

UM COMMUNICATIONS-- Ash Wednesday is on the horizon and we've got your covered! Get free social images for your communications use to help make a visual impact on your social feeds on this important day.

One Last Word

Love never ends. - 1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV
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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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