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April 18, 2023

To submit news items, stories, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].
Events (1)
To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

To submit an local church event for inclusion, submit this form.

Virginia News

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Bishop shares letter for 2023 Earth Day

Bishop Sue shared a letter for Earth Day 2023. She said in part, "How often do you talk about creation care in your spheres of influence? How often do you analyze your own impact on the Earth and its resources? How often do you consider the health of the planet that is being handed down to your children, grandchildren, and its future inhabitants? If we are honest with ourselves, we are neither thinking nor talking enough about creation care." Read full letter for ideas for individuals and churches to take part in Earth Day 2023 (April 22).
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Seminarians discuss in podcast their ministry, hopes for Church

Looking for content to listen to as you drive home, work out, or cook dinner? The Connectional Ministries office has several podcasts including the Audio Advocate that shares news and ministries. Listen on "The VAUMC Connection" now on Apple, Spotify or the conference website. The April Audio Advocate episode shares a conversation with Rev. Crystal Sygeel, Associate Director for Call & Candidacy for the Center of Clergy Excellence, and two seminarians: Bayo Ogungbade at Union Presbyterian Seminary and Meredith Webb at Candler School of Theology as they reflect on call, the status of the church as they discern a call to ministry, and hopes for the church. Listen now to episode...

Deadline for The Servant Sister Scholarship is July 1

The Virginia Conference has deployed clergywomen in a variety of ministries since 1961. The Servant Sister Scholarship capitalizes on this legacy by supporting the theological training of future clergywomen. If you are a woman enrolled in an accredited United Methodist Seminary, the Servant Sister Scholarship is accepting applications from now until July 1. Contact Co-Chairs Rev. Joanna Paysour and Rev. Lindsey B. Freeman for more details.
heart havens new home 2023

Heart Havens expands with new Richmond home

Heart Havens has expanded in the Richmond area by opening a new home for adults with a developmental disability in Glen Allen. This new home will support four people with a developmental disability, providing 24 hour care and support to be as independent as possible and connecting them to the local community. It is projected to open with the first clients moving in to the home in mid-April 2023.
The organization is currently raising funds to cover capital costs associated with renovations. They have a goal of $200,000.
Heart Havens opened their very first home 25 years ago in Virginia Beach which continues to be in operation today. With the addition of the Glen Allen location, Heart Havens has a total of eight homes in Virginia to serve individuals in need of comprehensive residential services. Four of the eight Heart Havens homes are in the Richmond metro area.
Heart Havens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides residential support to adults with a developmental disability using a person-centered process to ensure that residents are living their best life, being a part of the community in the ways they truly want and making decisions for themselves every day. Learn more...

Learn more about UM missionaries in Zoom conversation

Are you interested in learning more about United Methodist missionaries? Do you wonder what day-to-day life is like in mission? #STILLINMISSION is a monthly Zoom event where you can hear first-hand experience from missionaries about their call to mission and the communities they serve. Join to see how missionaries share God’s love in partnership with communities around the world.
The next episode of #StillInMission is Thursday, May 4, 12 p.m. (ET) for conversations with missionaries:
Fatuma Kutela, Angola
Anna Troy, United States
Dan Randall, United States
Courtney Randall, United States
Gaston Ntambo, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Register now...

Join online Earth Day Retreat

Join the free Earth Day Retreat: Celebrating God’s Great Creation hosted by the Shenandoah River District United Women in Faith on Saturday, April 22 at 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. via Zoom. The event facilitator is Karen McElfish, commissioned as an Earth Keeper by the Board of Global Ministries, Chair of the Annual Conference Organizing Team for the Creation Justice Movement, and member of the Virginia Conference Church & Society Creation Justice Team. Additional retreat details, materials, and the registration link are found at this link.
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Join upcoming ERT training events

The Virginia Conference Disaster Response Committee invites members of the Conference to prepare and train to be part of future ERT (Early Response Team) Training. Early Response Teams respond during the first phase of disaster relief, providing a Christian presence. Your church and community could also be faced with a disaster. Train to be ready to respond and know the first steps to help. Find upcoming trainings...
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Celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday

Native American Ministries Sunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. A gap in knowledge exists in The United Methodist Church, in congregations and other United Methodist entities, relative to comprehending concepts of Native American life, cultures, languages, spirit, values, contemporary issues, and such. We affirm the sacredness of American Indian people, their languages, cultures, and gifts to the church and the world. Learn more...
The official date set to celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday is Sunday, April 23, 2023, but churches are encouraged to celebrate on a date that is most convenient for your congregation. A full package of ready to use resources for Native American Ministries Sunday is available for you to explore how we give, why we give and the impact we make through connectional efforts.
rmc convergence

R-MC Convergence registration open now

Applications for Convergence 2023 are open! Randolph-Macon College's summer Youth Theology Institute on Faith and Science will be held July 18-23 this year. The event is open to students who are finishing their 9th, 10th, or 11th grade year in the next few months.
The '23 Convergence theme is Food, Faith and Farming. We have a lot of exciting activities and experiences planned including:
• Field trips to Sophia Farm, Fitrah Farm, Shalom Farm and Babylon MicroFarm
• A special project with the Ashland Farmer’s market
• The Theology of Soul Food, a speech and cooking demonstration with author, James Beard award winner, and certified barbeque judge Adrian Miller
• Workshops on campus
• Planning and helping to lead worship at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church on the R-MC campus.
Cost to attend is $350. Financial Assistance is available if needed. All Convergence campers receive a $1,000 scholarship if they attend R-MC for college. You can find more information and the link to apply here. For questions, email [email protected].
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Library association hosting spring event

The Virginia Church Library Association (VCLA), a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to the support and advancement of Christian ministry through the local church library, is hosting a spring event Friday, May 5 and Saturday May 6 online or in-person. This training event is for church librarians and others interested in this work. The organization started in 1958 and continues to provide training and networking of church library workers twice a year at spring and fall conferences.
Memberships, conference fees and occasional special projects provide funding for the organization’s work. Consequently, it is essential that interested persons become members and attend conferences so these services can continue and keep this ministry alive. Learn more...
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Reorganization announced in Connectional Ministries Office

April 5-- Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the Virginia Annual Conference Common Table are pleased to announce plans for a reorganization in the conference Connectional Ministries Office.
After faithfully serving for several years as both Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop the Rev. Dr. Steven Summers will move fully into the role of Assistant to the Bishop effective July 1, 2023.
The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Page will serve in the role of Director of Connectional Ministries for Innovation and Creativity and Mr. Dwayne Stinson will serve as Director of Connectional Ministries for Discipleship and Congregational Vitality. The two will share the responsibilities of Director of Connectional Ministries while they continue to lead in their respective areas of focus. This is all in an effort to ensure the annual conference can grow in its ability to equip, resource, and connect the local church. These positions will be voted on at the 2023 June Annual Conference session with an expectation they will begin their work effective July 1, 2023. Read more...
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Candidates sought for open positions in Connectional Ministries Office

April 5-- Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the Virginia Annual Conference Common Table announced plans for a reorganization in the conference Connectional Ministries Office (see story above).
It was also announced that the Rev. Seungsoo “RJ” Jun, Associate Director of Serving Ministries, will be appointed to the local church effective July 1, 2023.
“The journey to serve Connectional Ministries started with a tug from God to support the effort of strengthening the connection,” Jun said. “After the past two years and a half, I experienced another tug from God, preparing my heart for a new journey. Bishop Sue and the Cabinet graciously accepted my request to be on the appointment list, and I am excited to see how God will work in this new chapter of ministry."
In the reorganization, the current offices of Learning, Influencing, and Serving will become the offices of Missional Engagement, under the leadership of the Director of Missional Engagement (to be hired), and the Office of Discipleship and Congregational Vitality under the leadership of Mr. Dwayne Stinson, Director of Connectional Ministries for Discipleship and Congregational Vitality. Mr. Stinson and Rev. Dr. Jonathan Page, Director of Connectional Ministries for Innovation and Creativity, will share the role of Director of Connectional Ministries. Read more...

The new, open positions in the Connectional Ministries Office will better meet the needs of the Virginia Conference in mission and ministry and have intended start dates of May 2023. The positions are:
-Director of Missional Engagement (View job posting) (Apply for job)
-Assistant Director of Missional Engagement (View job posting) (Apply for job)
-Assistant Director of Discipleship and Congregational Vitality (View job posting) (Apply for job)

Another open position in the conference, reporting to the Bishop and Assistant to the Bishop, is:
-Director of Advocacy (title TBD) (View job posting) (Apply for job)

Please visit this website to apply. Questions about the jobs may be sent to [email protected]. Read more...
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Reserve Display Area space now for 2023 Annual Conference session

Display Area space is now available to reserve for the 2023 Annual Conference session.

Guidelines for the Display Area space are available.

Reserve an area at this link by April 21:
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Videos share resources for 2023 AC members

The Conference Lay Leader Martha Stokes and the conference Communications Office created video resources for Annual Conference members prior to the 2023 Annual Conference session. Four videos have now been released:
Video 1: Welcome from Bishop Sue
Video 2: Welcome and music from AC Conference co-directors and a chance to meet the band
Video 3: Martha shares responsibilities for lay members and reporting back to local churches.
Video 4: Conference Secretary Rev. Joshua King shares information about motions and more.
Watch videos...
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Opt-in for physical copy of 2023 Book of Reports; learn more about AC 2023

The 241st Session of the Virginia Annual Conference will be held in-person from Thursday, June 15 – Saturday, June 17, 2023, at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Va. Hotel registration opened on Monday, March 6, 2023.

The Book of Reports will be available online in early May. You can request a physical copy until April 28 to be delivered by mid-May. Fill out this form to get a physical copy. Limited printed copies will be available at the June AC in Roanoke for purchase.

The link for registration and the Annual Conference agenda are now available. Information about displays is forthcoming.
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2023 Mission Opportunities on conference website

Mission Opportunities provided throughout the Annual Conference allow the churches to maximize the impact in transforming the world through the connectional system. Each year, Virginia Conference offers Mission Opportunities for the over 1,000 churches to ‘Unite in Mission’ as we serve our Lord together. Below you will find information on how we, serving together, can become a ‘blessing to this world’ (Gen 12:3). Learn more...
green church award

Submit nominations for Green Church Award

The Virginia Board of Church and Society are accepting nominations for the 2023 Virginia Annual Conference Green Church Award and Sustaining Green Church Award. Applications should be completed by May 14.

In 2009, the Virginia Annual Conference established the Green Church Initiative and called churches to "green" their ministries. To recognize the continuing work of creation care in the Virginia Annual Conference, the board is asking for nominations to receive the Green Church and Sustaining Green Church Award during the Virginia Annual Conference during June 15-17, 2023 session.

Recipients of these awards strive to affirm the importance of healing and defending God's creation in their mission as local congregations. They are engaged in this ministry in worship, learning and teaching, individual and congregational lifestyle and community, national, and global advocacy/involvement.

Send any questions to Brian Christoffersen at [email protected].

VAUMC Board of Church and Society Green Church Award Application

VAUMC Board of Church and Society Sustaining Green Church Award Application

General Church News

bishop wilson

Bishop Wilson shares priorities, hopes for future

UM NEWS— Bishop David Wilson, the first Native American bishop in The United Methodist Church, was elected as an episcopal leader by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference on Nov. 2. Wilson, while cognizant of the significance of his election as a Native American, plans to be an effective bishop for all United Methodists under his purview. Wilson hopes to make strides engaging with young people as a way to reinvigorate the churches of Kansas and Nebraska. Read more...
alaska-samoan church

Samoan congregation in Alaska celebrates new charter

UM NEWS— Friends and leaders from across the Alaska Conference and Western Jurisdiction gathered March 19 in Anchorage to celebrate the chartering service of Ola Toe Fuataina United Methodist Church, a primarily Samoan congregation. Ola Toe Fuataina means “new beginning.” Though it is now one of the newest United Methodist churches, Ola Toe Fuataina United Methodist Church has been worshipping together since 2010. Read more...
cyclone disaster relief

Malawi church continues response to Cyclone Freddy

UM NEWS— The tropical cyclone brought devastating rains, floods and mudslides to southern Malawi, killing at least 447 people. United Methodists are partnering with the government and others to meet immediate needs and plan for long-term recovery. Once funds are mobilized and outsourced, the Malawi church expects to target 3,000 families (around 15,000 people) living in the most severely affected communities or camps. Learn more...

When the pastor is your plumber

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP— Lovett H. Weems Jr. writes about the long and rich history of bivocational ministry in the Bible, throughout the generations of American history and around the world today. He says bivocational ministry is one lane in the pathway to the future that needs careful and sustained attention as more churches face declining memberships and other economic pressures. Learn more...

One Last Word

And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation."
-- Mark 16:15 NRSVUE
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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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