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

July 21, 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?

Do you know that The United Methodist Church has Social Principles? Do you know why? Learn more in this article from Ask the UMC. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

United Methodist Communications offers a wide variety of free resources for local church leaders, all developed to help you be a positive voice in your congregation and community. Learn about their top 10 services in a new MyCom Podcast episode. 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].

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.
ordination 2020 pandemic

View pictures, service from 2020 Service of Ordination

Eleven clergy were ordained during a service on July 10 at Woodlake UMC in Chesterfield. These clergy were Gil Lee, John Conway, Katherine Malloy, Sean Devolites, Ashley Isernhagen, John Obeng, Monica Reynolds, Marti Rigenbach, Mary Sullivan-Trent, Randy Timmerman, and Darlene Wilkins. You can view photos from the event on the conference Flickr page (link below). In a statement, Bishop Lewis shared about the experience.

“Though ordination may have looked very different this year, it was a joy to celebrate our 2020 ordinands and their ministry journeys,” Bishop Lewis said. “You may have noticed I was wearing a face shield and a different set of gloves for each clergyperson because it was important to me to conduct the proceedings as safely as possible. I would like to thank the Center for Clergy Excellence and the Board of Ordained Ministry for their work in creating this meaningful celebration with creativity and safety in mind.”

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.

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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].
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High school-aged leadership program available starting in August 2020

Randolph-Macon College's 2020-21 "Valuing The Voices in our Church" experience for 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students is now open for registration. This program is designed to help youth
• Discern God's Call
• Value Their Own Voice
• Value the Voice of Others
Valuing the Voices in Our Church is an opportunity for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to explore their own gifts and graces for leadership, to consider what vocation God is calling them to, and to hear and grow in appreciation of a diverse chorus of voices who are leading in the church today. Randolph-Macon faculty, staff, alumni, and friends will be guest speakers throughout the year, sharing new ideas, sparking your imagination, and helping you sense God's call in a deeper way.
From August 2020 through April 2021, Randolph-Macon College will host bi-weekly online video conferences via Zoom. In May (if health & safety policies allow), eligible participants will be invited to campus for a Certificate Ceremony. In order to achieve a certificate for the program, you must attend the first meeting and at least three additional sessions of each unit: Leadership, Diversity, and Call.
Expect to learn about yourself in an environment that encourages you to cultivate new and lasting friendships with other high school students who are committed to faith and leadership. The cost of this yearlong program is $20. To apply or to nominate a youth, please visit the link below. Please register by August 5. The event begins August 19. Contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes ([email protected]) or Ms. Jamie Grant ([email protected]) for questions.

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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 planting, 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.

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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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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.


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

Pandemic creates new opportunities for some

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--United Methodists in Zimbabwe and Congo are building new businesses or adapting old ones to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Zimbabwe, 22-year-old Seviria Taedza has found success as an entrepreneur since the country imposed lockdowns in March. The second youngest in a family of six daughters and a member of Gweru West United Methodist Church, Taedza learned to make detergent at a girls’ empowerment workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Area’s Ministry with Women, Youth and Children. The training took place in early March and was funded through a grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, said Tendai Rebecca Gurupira, coordinator for the ministry.

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Pandemic challenges music ministers, choirs

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Sid Davis never thought he’d be driving all over his sprawling city to have masked, socially distanced curbside visits with choir members. But Davis, director of music and worship arts at Houston’s St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston, has faced an empty choir loft and no in-person rehearsals since early March. So he and wife Cindy are going ZIP code by ZIP code to check on more than 100 adult choir members. The couple even have a magnetic “Operation Curbside Convos” sign on their Mazda. “A lot of my work right now is all about people,” said Davis, in his 25th year at St. Luke’s. “If we want to make music again in person, we better have done our homework in keeping the community alive while we can’t gather.” COVID-19 has disrupted United Methodist life in many ways and it’s done a number on congregational and choir singing, causing music ministers to scramble to keep music going and keep sidelined choir members engaged. Music ministers are all too familiar with research suggesting that singing ranks with coughing as a coronavirus spreader. The Skagit Valley Chorale in Washington state experienced dozens of infections, three hospitalizations and two deaths after a March 10 rehearsal attended by an unsuspecting COVID-19 carrier. Scientists called it a superspreader event, and the choral community shuddered.

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Discipleship Ministries podcast discusses children's worship

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES--The issues of children and worship were already complex, and the pandemic and online worship has only escalated those issues. In this episode of the Worship Matters podcast, listen to the Rev. Kevin Johnson, director of Children's Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, explore some of the pros and cons of worship with children.

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One Last Word: Getting COVID-Creative

gum spring movie night
Gum Spring UMC, Richmond District, found ways to be creative and safety-conscious with a recent drive-in movie night with social distancing and wearing masks. There were prepackaged snacks and beverages at the event.
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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