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

July 28, 2020

Conference Vision

In 2017, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared the vision of the conference is "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Churches must find effective ways to communicate about giving if they wish to have fruitful ministries that make a difference. This online training from United Methodist Communications will give you the tools you need to show why we give and how to give to the ongoing work of the church through online platforms. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Could this work in your church community? During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, churches have been tasked with finding new and different ways to remain connected with one another. For many churches in the East Ohio Conference this has involved some form of online streaming of Sunday morning services. In addition to livestreaming the Sunday morning services of Greensburg UMC (Canal District), the Rev. Katie Osier has encouraged the leadership of the church to regularly create new video-focused content. One of the most popular weekly events is Family Dinner Live. Each Wednesday Osier and her family gather for a family dinner – usually around their own dinner table – and invite others to join them for conversation, jokes, and even some deep discussion. With all of the potential for challenges, successes, and distractions such an undertaking can involve, it is important for Osier to remain grounded, and she shared a mantra that serves as inspiration: “It doesn’t have to be overboard, just authentic and transparent.” Learn more...
  • How can you serve this week?

Mission is: Resiliency. Discover how the work of mission enables people, places, and communities to meet challenges with creativity, strength, and hope. Global Ministries connects The United Methodist Church, its people, and congregations to partner with others engaged in God’s global work, which takes place in a variety of settings, countries, and cultures. More...

Virginia News

apply now for grant

Local churches encouraged to apply for technology grant

While the Virginia Annual Conference is starting to expand in-person worship, many of our churches will continue to offer worship, Sunday school, and other ministries online. The Board of Communications has allocated funding to provide grants to local churches to help purchase the item(s) they need to maintain or improve their online ministry. The grant can help fund equipment, software licenses, and more.
In addition to grants, the board is also offering free technical consultations to assist local churches with their online ministry. All local churches in the Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church are encouraged to apply. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 31, 2020 for consideration. For more information, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected]. Click following link to access grant form. More...
thank you

Send gift in honor of current Conference Lay Leader

Virginia Conference Lay Leader Warren Harper is ending his term after eight years on September 19. A gift in his honor is very appropriate. A presentation will be made during the virtual Annual Conference session on Saturday, September 19. It is customary that two gifts are presented -- a monetary gift to an organization of his choice, and a gift for Warren and his wife, Sandy. If you would like to take part, please send a check to:

Virginia Conference Center
Attn: Bev Myers
P.O. Box 5606
Glen Allen, VA 23058

Please make the check payable to VA Conference UMC and mark "CLL Gift" in the memo line. All gifts must be received by September 1.
rio texas umvim

Join online refresher course for UMVIM, SEJ Team Leader Training

Join the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training Refresher course on August 1, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. This training is for UMVIM Team Leaders who haven’t led a team in the past several years and would like to keep up-to-date on the newest resources and materials UMVIM provides.

Online training by Zoom will be led by the Southeastern Jurisdiction. All are welcome to attend. There is a suggested donation of $10 to UMVIM, SEJ. You can either download a copy of the Team Leader Handbook on the UMVIM website or purchase a hard copy in the online store at this link.

For more information and to register, visit this site. The deadline to register is July 29.

If you have any questions, contact: [email protected].
school kits

Information about Kits for Annual Conference

Local churches are encouraged to continue the collection of Kits for Conference. Specific collection details still underway, but will very likely include the organization of regional, or district-wide, drop-off locations. More information will be forthcoming as the new plan is created and finalized.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is currently focusing efforts on Cleaning Kits (aka Flood Buckets), Hygiene Kits, and School Kits. Cleaning kits provide supplies to help individuals and families clean up after flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Hygiene kits replace basic necessity items lost in a disaster such as toothbrushes, hand towels, and soap to help people stay clean and healthy. School kits include school supplies for children as they return to the classroom.

If you prefer to make a financial contribution to enable UMCOR to purchase relief kits, you can contribute $75 for each cleaning kit; $12 for each health kit; and $11 for each school kit. Additionally, UMCOR asks for $1 per kit ($3 for cleaning buckets) to cover processing and shipping and $1 for toothpaste for each health kit. Please do NOT bring checks to Annual Conference. All checks (for processing and shipping, for toothpaste, and in lieu of providing kits) should be made payable to “Virginia Conference UMC,” earmarked for “kits” and mailed to Treasurer, Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA, 23058 any time prior to Annual Conference. More...
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Learn more about college admissions process

College Admissions 101: Randolph-Macon College invites high school students and their parents to join in a one-hour session (followed by 30 minutes of open Questions & Answers) to learn more about how the college admissions process works. Join Erin Slater, Director of Admissions, and Kendra Grimes, Chaplain and Director of Church Relations, at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. online via Zoom on Monday, August 10 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The event content is designed to be helpful whether you are considering in-state or out-of-state schools, public or private institutions, etc. Take this opportunity to ask an expert the unique questions that you have regarding college admissions. Register each family member who plans to join using this link.
Randolph-Macon College hopes to share valuable information that will help you in the college application and admission process. If you have questions about the event, contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes at [email protected].

fresh expressions

August academy starting to Fresh Expression US

Fresh Expressions US is offering their second Resilient Church Academy starting in August. Spend nine hours in a webinar with N.T. Wright, August 3-5, for $99, and /or eight hours with leading Fresh Expressions instructors in one of their skills and strategy tracks. Each track costs $74.25 when you use the VAUMC discount code (VAUMC25) and is scheduled for two hours per week over four weeks. Details and registration links for the N.T. Wright webinar and 12 different leadership tracks can be found below. Questions? Email MaryKaye at [email protected]. Learn more...

Time for 'Blessing of the Devices'?

Many churches mark the beginning of the school year with a “Blessing of the Backpacks." This year, churches may also want to consider adding a "Blessing of the Devices" to your fall rites of passage. Just as we bless the physical symbols and tools of our learning, we can also bless and mark the digital devices through which so much of schooling, work and life are now mediated – or happening remotely from schools and work places.

best of virginia 2020

Richmond church's day school named best in Virginia

Each year, Virginia Living shares its 'Best of' winners from Virginia food to Virginia service providers. This year, Westhampton Day School (WDS), a mission of Westhampton UMC in Richmond, won #1 preschool in Virginia. The Rev. Christy Haga Turner, pastor of Westhampton UMC, said, "One of the best parts of being the pastor at Westhampton United Methodist Church, Richmond, VA, is that I have the privilege of being in ministry with the best preschool students, staff, and Director Alex Strabley! Together they really are THE BEST preschool in Virginia! So glad Virginia Living Magazine recognizes that too!" For over 70 years, the school has provided a full-day curriculum for 180 students and employed more than 40 dedicated educators.
covid mask

Submit your mask photos, video to Communications Office

Since March, United Methodists in the Virginia Conference have been taking precautions and looking out for their neighbors by wearing masks. Now into the summer months, these precautions will most likely continue for some time.
The conference Communications Office is putting together a project to showcase this care and love of neighbor. To be a part, please share a photo of yourself wearing a mask. You can also submit a short video, sharing why you wear a mask or why you will continue to wear a mask.
Submissions should be sent to [email protected].
Pictures should be taken straight on looking at the camera and not a profile view of a person. If the video is recorded with a cellphone, please turn your phone horizontal prior to recording so that you will have a larger image and no black lines on the side. Learn more about self-filming video tips here.

Take part in Mentor Palooza, clergy training event

Mentor Palooza, an event for the training of Candidacy, Provisional and Licensed Local Pastor mentors, will take place on Tuesday, August 18, from 9:30 to 3:30 via Zoom. There will be time for a plenary conversation around what it means to mentor, participating in breakout groups according to mentoring roles and opportunities to share resources with one another. If you have attended the training in 2018, you are not required to attend but are welcome to do so. DCOM Chairs, Registrars, and Mentor Coordinators are also welcome to attend. You may register via the link below.


Catch up on United Methodist Men webinars

The Virginia Conference United Methodist Men are inviting you to a series of scheduled Zoom meetings. The series started in May and will run through Aug. 5. These webinars last one hour each and are recorded if you are unable to make one. Along with the chat questions and answers, the recorded webinars are posted on the Virginia Conference website at

The webinar originally scheduled for July 22 has been moved to Wednesday, July 29. The topic for this event is “Communications – Beacon newsletter and Web Page” with Jon Simons, Beacon editor; and Brenda Capen, Virginia Conference webmaster.

The final scheduled webinar will be August 5 on the topic “Heart Havens and Camp Rainbow.” The Zoom link is with Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164.

All God's Children Camp hosts virtual 5k fundraiser

Join All God's Children Camp (AGC) for a virtual 5k fundraiser on August 15. You can run/walk this race anytime on August 15 or any date and time that suits you! Don't forget to take a picture of yourself and share it on the All God's Children Camp Facebook page with the hashtag #agcc5k. Lori Smith, AGC director, said, "We hope you will take this opportunity to support camp as we help break the cycle of incarceration." Click the link below to register:


Learn more about applying to the Board of Ordained Ministry

Applying for the first time to the Board of Ordained Ministry for provisional, full, or associate membership? Find some helpful videos with tips and information on applying at the link below. All application request forms are due to [email protected] by August 15.

paper plane

Send in information for Clergy Directory

Edits are now being accepted for the 2020 Clergy Directory. If you have had a change in information for the Virginia Conference Clergy Directory, please share those edits with Brenda Capen at [email protected].
church planting path 1

Path 1 offers new church planting training

With the outbreak of COVID-19, churches were forced to adapt rapidly to offering online worship. But many still aren’t sure if they have the right equipment or are using social media in the most effective way. Many church leaders are also realizing the importance of physically gathering, even in small groups, for fellowship and discipleship, and most of us aren’t sure what to do next. Path 1 is excited to offer a new training that will equip you to offer an online worship service combined with a house-church network so that you can continue to offer transformative ministry during this season of coronavirus and beyond. This training will walk you through digital planning, from how to create a budget and social media plan to how to host engaging online worship and structure a house-church network. Speakers include Nona Jones, Global Head of Faith-Based and Diverse Partnerships at Facebook, along with Elaine Heath, co-founder of the Missional Wisdom Foundation and Neighborhood Seminary, and Mark DeYmaz, co-founder of the Mosaix network. The cost is $200 per planter. Zoom webinars with speakers will be held every Tuesday from August 4 to September 8 from 1-3 p.m., CDT. Each webinar will include a time for Q&A and cohort discussion groups following the webinars.

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.

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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.


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.


General Church News

Young African leaders unite for COVID-19 campaign

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Young adults from the African continent have launched a COVID-19 prevention campaign in children’s homes, universities, health facilities, markets and other public places, with financial support from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. The campaign is being spearheaded by Young African Leadership Development, which was formed in 2018 after a series of young leader summits held by Young People’s Ministries. The goal of the group — mostly United Methodists — is to promote awareness about the global pandemic and offer relief to vulnerable communities. Young People’s Ministries, a division of Discipleship Ministries, provided money for the project. The agency’s work is funded by apportionments through the World Service Fund. “It is our hope, under the leadership of the Rev. Junius Dotson, that projects like this from well prepared and trained young leaders can encourage innovation and evangelism efforts while also meeting community needs,” said Young People’s Ministries director Chris Wilterdink. Read More

Millions in federal dollars boost ministries

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- A U.S. government program, despite its flaws, supplied a financial lifeline to hundreds of United Methodist ministries in the early days of the pandemic. The federal Paycheck Protection Program for the first time offered federally guaranteed small-business loans to nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees, including churches. The goal: To help employers keep workers on the payroll during coronavirus-related closures. Loans can be forgiven — essentially becoming grants — if employers show they used at least 60 percent of the funds on paying workers and meet other criteria. The program has faced criticism for favoring larger enterprises over smaller ones and violating the U.S. legal tradition of separating church and state. Nevertheless, many United Methodist leaders point to the program as a needed reprieve at a time of plummeting giving and rising ministry needs. Read More

Lawson: Black Lives Matter a religious movement

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- As a young man, the Rev. James Lawson was chosen by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to train young civil rights peacemakers to fight racism with love and respect — to step into the fray and say, “I follow Jesus.” “That was a powerful mantra that I learned in the Methodist Youth Movement in the ’40s and ’50s,” said Lawson, a United Methodist elder who is now 91. Lawson’s life work has been to create a nonviolent nation. He said some historians call the civil rights movement a Black church movement because the Black church was the only place where members of the movement could meet safely. “Many of the mass meetings were a modification of a worship service, a religious meeting,” he said. Watching the Black Lives Matter campaign today, Lawson said this movement is the most important nonviolent campaign since the movement in the 1960s that he and the late John Lewis and C.T. Vivian helped lead. “As a student of nonviolence and history, this past spring I have said the 21st century has a chance to have movements like this one. To be far larger and more dynamic than anything we did in the 20th century.” Read More

Discipleship Ministries: New online course launching August 1

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES-- "You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism" is an online course for Christians who want to acquire a fundamental understanding of race and racism from a biblical perspective. This four-part self-directed course offers videos featuring Robin DiAngelo and Rev. Dr. Anderson Hooker, reflections, and activities to help people of faith to recognize racism and begin to challenge it in their lives. Read More

One Last Word: Church, 'you'll be back'

youll be back parody
Attention all fans of the musical "Hamilton!" The Rev. Lonnie Lacy, an Episcopal priest in Georgia, has a message for those missing being in their church buildings each Sunday. Like fellow Anglican King George III, he assures "You'll Be Back" in this British Invasion-inspired ditty. View video.
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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