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

September 9, 2020

Conference Vision

"to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Resource UMC: How a small church can build a big marketing plan. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Celebrate the many aspects of how United Methodists are people of God. This month, Resource UMC will celebrate that we are committed people of God who stand against racism and injustice. Get assets to use in your social, web and newsletter efforts to engage your church at the link.
  • How can you serve this week?

Support those facing a long road of recovery in the wake of Hurricane Laura by donating to UMCOR. UMCOR, in partnership with impacted annual conferences, is providing funds to meet both immediate and ongoing needs caused by devastating storm damage. More...

Virginia News


Members must register between Sept.2-9 for Annual Conference

All Annual Conference clergy and lay members need to register by today, September 9, 2020, to participate fully in the virtual September 19 session.The conference office appreciates the annual conference body meeting this deadline to streamline getting log-in and credentialing information for all official Virginia Annual Conference members from the Annual Conference IT service management vendor, Option Technology. On September 2, all Annual Conference clergy and lay members were sent an email prompting them to register for the conference. In the email was a link where members enter their names and record their attendance for the September 19 virtual Annual Conference session.
Active clergy are required to register with their email addresses. Lay members need to register with the email address they have on file with the conference office. This is a firm deadline and all members must register within this time frame or risk not being able to fully participate in the virtual Annual Conference session. Learn more... You can also view a tutorial video about registration here. Send questions to [email protected]

Learn how to prepare for Annual Conference

There are a number of ways that members can prepare for the Annual Conference session on September 19.

1. Annual Conference Orientation
This prerecorded video is available for district training events and conference-wide use. This video features a greeting from Bishop Lewis; instructions on how members and visitors to the session can access the event; an explanation of member participation and voting; an overview of the agenda; and reports from Pensions and the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA).

2. Practice Annual Conference sessions
Bryan Compton, conference IT manager, will hold two practice sessions for Annual Conference on Monday, September 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, September 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Members are highly encouraged to take part in one or both of these sessions. Links to the practice sessions will be released to members’ emails either the day before or the day of the practice sessions by Option Technology, the Annual Conference IT service management vendor. Please log on early to join in. If you have technical issues during the practice sessions, please email [email protected] to get assistance so you are ready and able to participate during the September 19 session.

On the conference website, view a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to learn more about our Annual Conference 2020 session.
commissioning ac 2019

View Service of Commissioning this week

Center for Clergy Excellence--The Service of Commissioning is scheduled for Friday, September 11 at 11 a.m. This service may be viewed only via livestream due to COVID restrictions. Find information for the livestream link and bulletin on the conference website at in the coming week. The Center for Clergy Excellence hopes you will join in worship as the new provisional class is celebrated. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected].
2020 Annual Conference

Book of Reports now available; check conference website for future AC 2020 updates

The 2020 Book of Reports is now available for online viewing. Printed copies are currently in the mail to clergy and lay members.

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...

Job opportunities available at conference center

The Virginia Conference United Methodist Church, Glen Allen, Va., has the five employment vacancies. Resumes will be received until the vacancies are filled. Resumes and inquiries for additional information may be emailed to the Virginia Conference Personnel Committee at [email protected]. More...

Updated statement on online Communion during pandemic

September 2-- In a letter released from Bishop Lewis and the Cabinet, an update was shared concerning online Communion during the pandemic. "After considerable deliberation with a diversity of theological perspectives, Bishop Sharma Lewis and the Cabinet of the Virginia Conference offer an updated list of resources and new options for clergy to use within their mission context. In this new version of the work last done April 3, 2020, we now offer the clergy and the churches of the conference an option to develop online communion. If you have questions about this document and the options for communion, please do not hesitate to contact your district superintendent." Read more...
headphone drive

Church helps collect equipment for students

WWBT--As students get back to learning this fall, a Henrico Church is working to help some of the youngest members of the community. Discovery United Methodist Church has partnered with Henrico County Public Schools to collect a specific piece of equipment students will need for online classes this year. “They said one of the biggest needs right now was 1,000 headphones and earbuds,” said Hannah Bryn, Minister of Community Discipleship & Youth, Discovery UMC. “It was wow, this is a huge goal,” said Discovery UMC Lead Pastor Adam Sowder. “It’s a very ambitious goal that we’re trying to accomplish. It was kind of a question - can we do it?” Sowder and Bryn reached out to several community partners and are now calling on the community to help meet this goal. Bryn works with youth at the church and said while this type of equipment may not typically be on the back to school list, this year, it is important with students learning online. Read more...
suicide prevention

Learning opportunity available during Suicide Prevention Awareness month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Sadly, there have been news reports of way too many people who have taken their lives by suicide during the recent months. They fall into every age and demographic category. These public stories do not include the family members and friends that are and have been a part of our lives. This is particularly important to those of us who are in ministry with senior adults. Do you know that according to 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people 85 years and older are the second most likely group to die from suicide? Men who are 65 and older face the highest risk of suicide. One of the most prevalent reasons is loneliness and isolation. Add to that mental health concerns related to COVID-19 and the grief and mourning we are all facing. Now is the time to commit to doing something to make a difference. Participating in an upcoming learning event for faith communities presented by Pathways to Promise can be one simple step. Pathways to Promise will be offering an Engage, Learn, & Network Forum on Thursday, September 10, from 3 to 5 p.m. EST. The forum will focus on how faith communities can have conversations about suicide prevention, attempts, and recovery that are helpful and not harmful. You can join the conversation by webinar or by phone. Learn more...
we need you

Servant Sister Scholarship Fund reaches endowment goal

The deaths in recent years of clergywomen in the Virginia Conference inspired a conversation about how to best honor these women and their many years of faithful service. This conversation gave birth to the Servant Sister Scholarship Fund, an endowment that will provide seminary scholarships for women seeking ordination in the Virginia Conference. The initial goal was to raise $10,000. The Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero, chair of the board for the scholarship, is pleased to announce that the endowment goal has been reached.

Rivero shared thanks to the 67 individuals, churches, and districts who have contributed. Reaching this goal positions the Scholarship Board to receive applications in the summer of 2021, with the intention to award the first scholarship for the following fall semester. More donations are needed to enable both grant scholarship(s) while maintaining the minimum $10,000 endowment principal.

It is not too late to make your gift. Checks can be written to The Virginia United Methodist Foundation, with the notation “Servant Sister Scholarship” and mailed to the Foundation office at 10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060. No gift is too small.
lay servant ministries

Date announced for 2020 Lay Servant Academy

The 2020 Lay Servant Academy will be held via Zoom on Saturday, November 14. Three courses are being offered: I Love to Tell the Story, Older Adult Ministries, and Online Worship. Each course costs $30. Registration may be found at

The schedule is as follows:
8:45-9:00 Sign into Zoom
9:00-9:20 Opening worship
9:30-12:30 Part One of Course
12:30-1:00 Lunch Break
1:00-4:00 Part Two of Course

Each course will have a reading and written assignment due prior to the Academy. There will also be a post-assignment that will be due by Nov. 28. Zoom links and assignments will be sent in October. Questions? Please contact Tianna Durbin, Lay Servant Academy Director, [email protected]. Learn more...
wesley seminary

Save the date: virtual book panel about white supremacy

Save the date for "White Supremacy and American Christianity," a virtual book panel on September 17, 2020. Wesley Theological Seminary's Center for Public Theology will hold a virtual book panel and discussion on White Supremacy and American Christianity featuring:
• Dr. Robert Jones, author of "White Too Long:The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity" and Founder, PRRI
• Dr. Obery Hendricks, Scholar, Adjunct Professor of Religion, Columbia University
• Dr. Kris Norris, author of "Witnessing Whiteness" and Professor at Virginia Theological Seminary and Consultant, Center for Public Theology
• The moderator for the panel discussion will be Dr. Lorena M. Parrish, Director of Wesley's Community Engagement Institute and Wesley Associate Professor of Urban Ministries.
The Zoom conversation will take place Thursday, September 17, 2020, 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Registration details coming soon. For information or questions, contact: [email protected].
staunton ert

Update on disaster recovery efforts in districts

In a recent meeting of the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Committee, an update was provided about the Staunton flood damage and property damage to homes in the region of Lancaster County, Westmoreland County, and other areas in the Upper and Lower Northern Neck after the severe flooding on August 8.
The primary early response ministry in Staunton continues to involve assessment of residential property damage and assisting homeowners in cleaning up the flood damage. Early response assistance in the Upper Northern Neck area also involves ongoing assessment working with local authorities and other early response organizations. Early reports of the Upper Northern Neck damage indicate significant damage to residential homes that will require both the short-term earlier response and long-term recovery assistance.
Looking to help?
1. Pray for the communities impacted by the storms
2. Contact the Rappahannock River and Staunton District offices to confirm their readiness to receive volunteers, or
3. Consider making 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.

Learn more about conference disaster response at You can also follow Virginia Conference Disaster Response on Facebook for the latest updates.
lewis moxley masks

Pandemic update: Why continue wearing a mask?

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a document, a resource shared with the conference by Dr. George Moxley of the conference's In-person workgroup, which is a consensus statement designed to provide national guidance for the public on wearing face coverings to decrease the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was developed by the AAMC Research and Action Institute in conjunction with leading experts in public health as part of The Way Forward on COVID-19: A Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic released by the AAMC on July 29, 2020. View the document.

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 in April 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 is also now available. Stay updated on how the Virginia Conference churches are going back to worship by visiting: Learn more...

Share stories of racial justice on conference website

Bishop Sharma Lewis issued a call to action against systemic racism on May 29, 2020. As part of this communication, Lewis formed the Call to Action Workgroup which helped in planning the August 11 paneled discussion with Attorney General Mark Herring. You can view the upcoming work from this group as well as stories and testimonies related to racial justice by clergy and laity in the conference on this page. Stories can be submitted to [email protected] for posting. Learn more...

General Church News

Board gets update on giving, online worship

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The pandemic’s economic wreckage has left its mark on United Methodist ledgers. However, giving to denomination-wide ministries rebounded slightly in July. In an Aug. 27 online meeting, General Council on Finance and Administration board members heard an update on general church finances in the wake of COVID-19. They also received some guidance on calculating online attendance while the disease’s spread still keeps many people worshiping at home. Read more...

View livestream for Bishop Yambasu’s funeral

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The funeral for Bishop John Yambasu, the late resident bishop of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference, took place Sunday, September 6, 2020. It was livestreamed and recorded at

Church agencies cope with new realities

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--In July 2019, 50 young adults from 26 countries were commissioned in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to serve as Global Mission Fellows in 33 countries for The United Methodist Church. This summer, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, only seven fellows will serve in the U.S. There will be no international component. The legacy of such short-term missionary service for young adults dates back to 1948 and can provide a path to future mission roles, social justice work or church leadership positions. But the concern for the future, says Thomas Kemper — who helped nurture the program while leading the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries over the past decade — is that denominational budget constraints make it probable “that this program is not able to grow, as important as it is.” The combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty over what the denomination will look like in the future is affecting funding, staffing and programming for The United Methodist Church’s 13 general agencies. Read more...

One Last Word: Celebrating Communion

farmville umc communion
Farmville UMC celebrated communion on August 30 for the first time in five months. Pictured is the Rev. Lyndsie Blakely pouring the juice and the Rev. Susie Thomas, senior pastor, presiding.
The use of face masks is one way that United Methodists can continue to show their care and concern for all of their neighbors as the nation and world continue to grapple with COVID-19. Thank you, Virginia Conference, for showing your ‘Faces of Care.’

Learn more from a two-part series in which Bishop Lewis talked with Dr. George Moxley, VCU Health, about the importance of wearing masks.

Learn more about the 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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