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To submit news items or events, email conference Director of Communications at MadelineWhite@vaumc.org.

August 11, 2020

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A Daily Prayer for Racial Justice and Reconciliation


(The following prayer is offered by the Bishop’s "Call to Action" Work Group on Racial Justice and Reconciliation. You are encouraged to pray the prayer daily.)

O loving God,
We give you thanks for creating the world which is full of diversity
and for making one human family of all the peoples of the earth.
You reign over all the nations and are seated on your holy throne.
You rule over all the peoples without partiality in respect to nations or races
because righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Forgive us for the times when we put walls around us with false pride and racial prejudice.
Forgive us for the times when we were silent in the face of racism, private or institutional.
Open our eyes to see Christ who is in people of every nation and every culture.
Break down the walls that separate us. Set us free from fear, hatred, and racism.
Bind us together with the unity of God’s love. Restore oneness to the family of God.
We pray in the name of Jesus who came, lived, and died for all humanity.
Amen.
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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."

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  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Mark your calendars for two upcoming events from The United Methodist Church. Two new interactive town hall discussions are planned as part of the “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom” initiative’s town hall series on anti-racism to explore both old and new approaches to organizing for racial justice in church and community. In the first of the two discussions, participants will hear from a panel of seasoned leaders on August 19 at 12:00 noon CT, followed by a discussion featuring a panel of emerging leaders on August 26 at 12:00 noon CT. The webinar will be at available at UMC.org/EndRacismTownHall, as well as a live airing on The United Methodist Church Facebook page. The Dismantling Racism initiative is a multi-level effort throughout The United Methodist Church to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Want to help your members understand what John Wesley might say to us today about our work toward dismantling racism? Use this clip of the Rev. Fred Day III, General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History, from the Dismantling Racism town hall. 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...
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Virginia News

virginians-speak

Watch tonight: Bishop Lewis, Attorney General to dialogue on policing reform

“Virginians Speak: A Dialogue on Policing Reform, Community, & Law Enforcement in Virginia” is a jointly sponsored event that will feature a panel of prominent Virginians in the fields of law enforcement, community engagement, and faith communities for 60 minutes of dialogue and a Q& A session led by a moderator. Attendees can view through a webinar broadcast on August 11, 2020, from 7-8 p.m. Questions may be submitted to the panelists during the live proceedings via email at vaspeak@vaumc.org or by texting 804-205-0774. Join the webinar by visiting: https://livestream.com/vaumc/vaspeak. The webinar will be recorded and available soon after the live event at the same link.

Panelists include: Attorney General Mark Herring; Bishop Sharma D. Lewis; Sheriff David Decatur, Stafford County; Sheriff Gabriel Morgan, Newport News; Chief Kenneth Miller, Petersburg Police Department; and moderator Cynthia Hudson, Richmond attorney.

This event is co-sponsored by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Both Attorney General Mark Herring and Resident Bishop of the Virginia Conference Bishop Sharma D. Lewis are committed to addressing law enforcement issues that are sensitive to public perspectives as well as speaking with a diverse group of voices in the fields of law enforcement, community engagement and faith in this first of several possible events. More...


lewis moxley masks

Bishop, VA physician discuss importance of wearing masks

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis talked with Dr. George Moxley, VCU Health, about the continuing work Virginia United Methodists must do, such as wearing face masks, as the nation and world continue to manage the effects of COVID-19. Dr. Moxley is one of the medical professionals on the In-person Workgroup which was formed by Bishop Lewis to oversee how churches in the Virginia Conference could safely return to worship.

This video has English, Spanish, and Korean subtitles. Part 2 of this conversation will be shared tomorrow.
Stay updated on how the Virginia Conference churches are going back to worship by visiting: vaumc.org/return/. Learn more...
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Response and recovery efforts begin in wake of Tropical Storm Isaias

August 5-- Tropical Storm Isaias passed through Virginia on August 3-4 and brought with it rain and tornadoes.There was a confirmed ESF2 tornado that did significant damage to the James River District area of Carrolton and Suffolk. Another hard hit area is in the Rappahannock River District. The conference Disaster Response Coordinator, the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz (vacdrt1@gmail.com), is working and coordinating with Emergency Management officials as well as the District Disaster Coordinators in the affected areas. A coordinated response and recovery effort with other Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) member agencies will begin as soon as it is safe to do so and assessment information is received from the Emergency Management agencies.

At this time, the best response Virginia United Methodists can provide is to “be the church.” Reach out to your neighbors and help provide meals, shelter, water etc. A “Just In Time” UMCOR training titled Connecting Neighbors that each church can use to see how best to help their local church communities is available on the conference website at https://vaumc.org/disasterresponse/.

The Rev. R. Kirk Culpepper (kirkculpepper@vaumc.org) added, “If you are in the districts hit, please coordinate with the individual District Disaster Coordinators to see what they need. If you are outside of those districts, please do not self-deploy and wait until they reach out for help beyond their districts or to the Virginia Conference Disaster Coordinator.” Culpepper is the pastor of Community-St. Mark Charge, Elizabeth River District, and the conference Early Response Team (ERT) coordinator.

Please also remember that any response, relief, and recovery effort costs money. Please consider a donation to the VAUMC Advance Special #5037 Disaster Response to assist in these efforts. Remittances for the Treasurer’s Office should be mailed to P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058.
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Submit nominations for 2020 Green Church Award

In 2009, the Virginia Annual Conference established the Green Church Initiative and called on churches to "green" their ministries. To recognize the continuing work of creation care in the Virginia Annual Conference, please send in nominations to receive the Green Church Award during the Virginia Annual Conference on September 19. Congregations to be recognized are those trying to affirm the importance of healing and defending God's creation in their mission as a local congregation that are engaged in this ministry in the following ways: worship; learning and teaching; individual and congregational lifestyle; and community, national, and global advocacy/involvement.

Please send nominations by August 17 to Brian Christoffersen, chair of Caretakers of God's Creation, at redceltic2010@gmail.com.




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Resource Learning: Learn how to improve your church's livestream

Does your church have a livestream? Want to know how to improve upon it? Learn more by viewing the "Crucial Crisis Conversations" webinar featuring conference Digital Media Manager Nick Ruxton for the next steps of livestreaming. His guests were Brian Bachrach and Andrew King from Christ Church in Fairfax, Va. More...

View more webinars in the "Crucial Crisis Conversations" series...
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Clergy: Review information in Clergy Directory

The second draft of the 2020-2021 Clergy Directory has been posted on the conference website (see link below). After many requests, the directory this year is being published using “nickname” and last name. Submit any corrections to your information by contacting Brenda Capen at BrendaCapen@vaumc.org. As well, there is a form on the page that allows clergy to opt-out of receiving a mailed hard copy of the directory. More...
2020 Annual Conference

Check conference website for AC 2020 updates

The 2020 Annual Conference will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2020, in a virtual, one-day format. Currently, you can find information about Kits, view photos and video from the ordination service, and more on the conference website. As information is received, you will find the latest news about the event at the following link. More...
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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...
wesley seminary

Online courses available this fall at Wesley Theological Seminary

Fall registration is now open at Wesley!

Below is a sampling of the online courses offered this Fall at Wesley, all which can be taken for CEU credit:
  • Reviving Dying Churches + Community
  • Pastoral Practice and The Hebrew Bible
  • Teaching + Learning in Ch Ed
  • Cultivating Mental Health
  • The Methodist Response to Disease
  • Old Testament Exegesis: Isaiah
  • New Testament Exegesis: John
  • The Rest of the Story: Parables + Parallels
  • Jewish Art
Learn more about all their fall courses or apply at https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/try-a-class-2/. Contact Admissions for questions at (202)885-8659 or admissions@wesleyseminary.edu.
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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.
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 communications@vaumc.org. Click following link to access grant form. More...
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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 https://vaumc.org/reconciliation/. 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. More...

General Church News

Churches weigh options to reach seniors

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Technology has provided many answers for pastors trying to stay connected with their members during the coronavirus pandemic. But in some rural or smaller churches, landline telephones and newsletters sent via snail mail continue to play a role. “The average age of our congregants is probably around 70,” said Shelly Young, office communications coordinator at Grace United Methodist Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico. “But most of the ones who are not connected (to the Internet) are upwards of 80 to 90. Most of them don’t even have a cell phone. They have their landline and they want to use it.” Read more...

GCFA offering ministry partner that can provide masks to local churches with a discount

The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) Connectional Relations Team is pleased to announce that On the Go Masks (OTG) has been vetted and approved as a ministry partner. The Connectional Relations Team researches and vets companies that can provide needed services to help local churches and other United Methodist entities in their respective ministry of administration. As a ministry partner, On the Go Masks is offering an exclusive program for the purchase of KN95 personal protection equipment (PPE) at a reduced rate so that churches and other UM entities can have the supplies needed as they begin to re-open or schedule future re-openings. The program includes: FDA registered products for adults and children; direct to the church wholesale pricing; easy, online ordering; and free shipping within the US. Learn more...

Dates announced for Women's Leadership Summit

The Women's Leadership Summit presented by GCOSROW (General Commission on Status and Role of Women) will be held in a virtual format, October 8-10, 2020. The theme for the event is "I am HER" based on Solomon 4:7. Read More...

One Last Word: The story behind the hymn

o how i love jesus
Do you know the history of this hymn? https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-o-how-i-love-jesus
return to worship (1)
Learn more about three-stage return to in-person worship at Virginia Conference churches: https://vaumc.org/return/

Please send any issues or concerns to communications@vaumc.org. If the formatting gives you trouble in forwarding (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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