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July 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.

Join next EarthKeepers training in October

Global Ministries seeks U.S.-based United Methodists to lead grassroots environmental projects that are action-oriented, antiracist, bold and entrepreneurial. Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program that equips US-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in their communities. Topics include eco-theology, antiracism, community organizing and project planning. All participants plan a project during the training. The next EarthKeepers training events will be held Oct. 5-8, 2023 in Birmingham, AL; Denver, CO; Hartford, CT.
Attend the training closest you to minimize travel emissions, while still engaging with other with people attending trainings being held in other locations. This strategy is designed to support Global Ministries commitment to just and equitable net-zero emissions. Learn more...

Sign up for virtual August Lay Servant Academy

The next Virginia Annual Conference Lay Servant Academy will occur virtually on August 18-19, 2023. Online course offerings will be:
• United Methodist Heritage (Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, instructor)
• Basic Course (Richard Speirs, instructor)
• Spiritual Gifts (Joseph Plemmons, instructor)
• Leading Well in Conflict Transformation (Sarah Calvert, instructor)
• Called to Preach! (Nathan Decker, instructor)
• Introduction to Simplified Accountable Structure (Instructor TBD)
• Certified Lay Minister Orientation (Joanna Dietz and Jennifer Robinson-O'Brien, instructors).
Cost is $35 for all courses except CLM Orientation, which is $15. For more information, follow this link.
To register, click here. Contact Tianna Durbin, Lay Servant Academy Director ([email protected]) if you have questions.
resources ac

Find United Methodist identity materials for small groups

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES--In a recent webinar, “Meet the Director of Adult Discipleship,” the most requested resources had to do with identity—what it means to be United Methodist—with additional requests for adult confirmation class materials and resources for small groups. This response highlights a collective desire to understand and embrace our unique identity as United Methodists. Cokesbury/United Methodist Publishing House gave great suggestions for small groups and Bible studies. Find resources...

Podcast: “The Changing Contours of Youth Ministry”

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- What new approaches to youth ministry are emerging in our post-Covid era? Deech Kirk of the Center for Youth Ministry Training describes some of the common challenges confronting youth ministry today and some of the characteristics of the newer, innovative ministry models that are taking shape. Listen now...

United Methodist Credit Union offers basic church finance seminar

The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is offering a 90-minute seminar designed for pastors in their first appointment and church leaders who are new to the financial organization of the local church.
The topics will include the fundamentals of cash flow, church budgeting, and strategies for growing givers through stewardship ministries. This is a hand-on session with worksheets and resources supplied upon registration. The seminar is led by the Rev. Burt Brooks, Director of Stewardship and Outreach at The United Methodist Credit Union, and registration is free of charge to participants. Learn more...

Vital terms for anti-racism work

GENERAL COMMISSION ON RELIGION AND RACE-- The What is… series from the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) helps us to embrace common vocabulary that will aid and strengthen anti-racism work. Explore library...

Virginia News

ennegram episode

Podcast explains the Enneagram and how it can be used in Church

What is the Enneagram? How can it be used in the Church? Check out the VAUMC Connection's newest episode - The Stained Glass Enneagram with the Rev. Lindsey Baynham Freeman, Welborne UMC, Richmond; and Rev. Brian Boettcher, Burkeville UMC, Norfolk. Listen here or find it wherever you listen to podcasts.

“The VAUMC Connection” is a series of standalone projects that will include news from the conference center, “The Audio Advocate” and a collection of resources and conversations shared by the Connectional Ministries Office. Available on Spotify and Apple.
hope springs eternal

Virginia pastor featured on positive conversation podcast

A video podcast in the Holston Conference, Hope Springs Eternal: Positive Conversations about the United Methodist Church, is filled with conversations with clergy and Rev. Natalie Justice, focused on positive conversation within and about The United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Pete Moon, Reveille UMC, Richmond, was featured on the most recent podcast episode and talked about living in connection and encouraging in recognizing and calling upon people's gifts. Listen now...

Upcoming episodes in July will feature two additional Virginia pastors, the Rev. Lindsey Baynham Freeman (premieres July 24) and the Rev. Tim Ward (premieres July 31). View past videos...
bar of conference podcast

Virginia pastor featured on 'Bar of The Conference' podcast

Rev. Jason Micheli, Annandale UMC, Annandale, shared his journey as a follower of Jesus, pastor and, theologian on the Bar of the Conference podcast.

This long form podcast is about The United Methodist Church, referencing the space in UMC policy-making where holy conferencing takes place, features in-depth conversations with leaders across the UMC connection with a focus on latest news, critical issues, and the witness and work of disciples as the connection prepares for General Conference 2024. Bar of the Conference is hosted by Derrick Scott III, Executive Director of the Campus to City Wesley Foundation, a United Methodist multi-campus ministry in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida. Listen to episode...
united methodist creation justice tips

Creation Justice Tips: Bloom where you are planted

The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement is provides tips each month as a tool to equip church members, families, and individuals to respond to God's call to care for creation and do justice with our neighbors. For more about the UM Creation Justice Movement, go to

Research shows 64% of employees want to know that their company is doing something to contribute to a sustainable future. Through conversations with coworkers, gather ideas of how your workplace can help—even if small steps.

This month's tips:
  • Heat, drought, and lightning are the “perfect storm” to ignite wildfires, which scorch the ground and pollute the air for hundreds of miles. Additionally, the loss of the trees negatively impacts God’s systems that capture carbon for the health of the earth. Support organizations that replant trees after wildfires.
  • Put your senators on your “speed dial.” Call them regularly. You don’t have to talk directly to them or for more than a minute or two. The recording or the staff person will add your yay or nay to the tally column to give the lawmaker a sense of support or opposition to an action. Do state that you are both a constituent and a person of faith.
  • Reuse a plastic bottle to decrease the water wasted in flushing a toilet. Fill the bottle with sand or pebbles, put it in the tank. An average home can save about five gallons of water every day.
  • Whatever you do to care for God’s creation and for justice is important and needed. But changing big systems is also crucial. Voting season is upon us. Vet your candidates for their commitments to address climate-change related issues—especially justice for those most adversely affected.
  • August 20–24 is World Water Week, the focus of which is accelerating change to create a water-wise world. In the spirit of “Be the change you want to see in the world,” look around you: What needs and opportunities do you have? Practice conservation at home. Work for preservation of nearby waterways. Start conversations to encourage others to also be water-wise.
  • Reap the harvest. Shop for food locally at farmers markets. Give thanks for those whose work feeds you and others. Care for the planet by reducing the carbon emissions that come from shipping food long distances. Eat more fruits and veggies and reduce the high cost to your body and the planet from other foods. Compost any food scraps.
  • Put the sun to work. God provides renewable energy for all. Assess the possibilities you have, including solar for home, garage, business, and church rooftops, as well as and community-shares panels. If those are not available or feasible currently, begin planning for using solar or wind in the next few years. Know that when people see solar panels installed, they are more willing to try them too. Be an influencer.
  • With school starting, pass along clothes children have outgrown to another family. With fall coming, freshen wardrobes by exchanging outfits with friends of the same size. Reuse clothing to save money—and landfill space and the consequent global warming. Good for you and good for the earth.
To God’s prophet Jeremiah, it seemed nobody was listening as he warned of impending doom. In the face of climate change, we too may feel ineffectual. Take heart from Jeremiah, who was faithful to his call from God to speak up. He trusted God and bought land as a sign of hope. Continue to do all you can and talk about your hopes for a more just and verdant future. Sign up for UM Creation Justice monthly tips...
va interfaith center

Virginia Interfaith Center hosts August Zoom book study

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is hosting a Zoom book study on Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond. The book study will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays from August 1-29. You are invited to participate in all five sessions or join the ones you can. Kim Bobo, Executive Director, shared that the book is a good congregational book study. "We are going to use this summer's sessions as an opportunity to develop book study questions designed for faith-based communities." Register...
NEXT STEPS logo_Color

'Next Steps' campaign seeks to address needs of members seeking to stay UMC during local church disaffiliations

For those whose congregations have voted to disaffiliate, but who wish to remain United Methodist, the Virginia Annual Conference and the Cabinet offer Next Steps, a website with resources to remain connected as they discern where God is calling them. At Next Steps, individuals and churches may
access resources for small group gathering and other means of discipleship.
As part of this Bridge Churches offer one possible next step for persons who choose to remain United Methodist after their church disaffiliates, providing pastoral care, assistance in gathering, and invitations to share in ministry opportunities with their congregations. These churches are not recruiting members; they offer a safe space of support, nurture, and opportunities for connection during this time of transition. Individuals may choose to join Bridge churches, on their terms and at their own pace of discernment; or they may choose to join elsewhere. Learn more...

General Church News

Church welcomes immigrant community

UM NEWS—Nueva Cosecha (New Harvest) is a new faith community designed to welcome and support the immigrant population. “We help families who, for some reason, do not have a home and we help them find one,” said Pastor Antonio Gonzalez. The Upper New York Conference has produced a video profiling this ministry. Read more...

Pilot Prayer Partner Project to launch in fall 2023

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES—Do you pray? How often do you pray? Do you want to grow as a follower of Jesus Christ? Do you want to have someone you can trust and with whom you can share? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, sign up for the Pilot Prayer Partner Project! You can register as an individual, or as your church or your church group, such as United Women in Faith, a Bible study group, a craft team, and so forth. You will pick a prayer partner (a friend, co-worker, family member, or neighbor within or outside of the church). You and your prayer partner will decide how often you will pray for one another and how often you will communicate. Learn more...

One Last Word: Spread Love

love spread
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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