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

September 1, 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?

Look into this new course from the General Commission on Religion & Race. "Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to be Allies" is an online course centered on one big idea: that anti-racism is anything that actually interrupts and dismantles racism. As a 101 course, the content will focus on defining anti-racism, identifying anti-racism, and practicing anti-racism by interrupting racism.
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?

The United Methodist Church's special giving structure ensures your generosity blesses as many people as possible in sustainable, strategic ways. Through the support of you, and your church, we fund hundreds of projects each year. While worship platforms have changed in light of the recent crisis, we still come together to do more. Membership in a United Methodist church connects you with the people of your local congregation and a global denomination of more than 12 million members across four continents.

Virginia News


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

All Annual Conference clergy and lay members need to register from September 2- 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 will receive an email prompting them to register for the conference. In the email will be a link where members will 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 timeframe or risk not being able to fully participate in the virtual Annual Conference session. Learn more...

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 will be released to the district offices for district training events and be available for conference-wide use at on Friday, September 4.
This video will have: 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. Live Annual Conference 2020 Q& A session
Still have questions or concerns following the September 4 orientation? Join the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, conference director of Connectional Ministries, and Bryan Compton, conference IT manager, to answer any questions on Tuesday, September 8 from 7-8 p.m. Questions may be submitted beforehand to [email protected]. Access the event at
John Fuller, VUMPI executive director, and David Dommisse, conference treasurer, will also take part to answer any questions from their respective reports.
3. 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.
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...
nominate now

Make nominations now for Order of Elder Chair

In light of the pandemic and the nature of the Clergy Session this year, nominations were not taken to vote for the Order Chairs. The Center for Clergy Excellence is opening the floor for nominations to be made by active and retired Elders by survey. The Board of Ordained Ministry has nominated the Rev. Darcey Johnson, River Road UMC, and now "opens the floor" for other nominations until Thursday, September 3 at 4:30 p.m. The Center for Clergy Excellence thanks you for your understanding in this adaptive time and to be on the lookout for a voting survey link after Labor Day once nominations have been received. The voting link for the Order of Deacon Chair nomination will be sent after Labor Day as well.
If you have any questions, please contact the Center for Clergy Excellence at [email protected] or 804-521-1160. Make nomination...
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].
stillin mission

Global Ministries invites you to meet missionaries

All summer long, Global Ministries has provided opportunities for the global denomination to meet missionaries around the world. This week, you’re invited to meet four more United Methodist missionaries. Episode 14 of #StillInMission will take place on Thursday, September 3 at 1 p.m.EDT. Registration is required for this event. During the meeting, there will be small groups to hear individual presentations. Learn more...

Association of Lay Leaders shares August letter to laity

The Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders share a letter to the church laity on August 17. Read more...
pnceton review 2021

Princeton Review features two United Methodist colleges on their list

Virginia Wesleyan University and Randolph-Macon College, two United Methodist-affiliated schools, were listed in The Princeton Review: The Best 386 Colleges:2021 Edition. This yearly list surveys students and shares how well school rank in career services and more. Read more...
commissioning ac 2019

View Service of Commissioning in September

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 weeks. 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].
transform tour

Gathering set to inspire generations of future leaders

The Rev. Dr. Michael Bowie, executive director of Strengthening the Black Church for the Twenty-First Century (SBC21) and the National Network of Young Adults, are blazing new trails by reimagining their largest gathering The Leading In Transformation (LIT) Conference into a 5-Stop virtual conference called The Transformation Virtual College Tour (September 10-25, 2020), engaging every jurisdiction within and beyond The United Methodist Church. World-renown motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas is partnering as The Transformation Tour’s keynote speaker. Working with leading organizations like Nike, NBA, NFL, and schools and colleges across the country, Thomas said he is committed to empowering leaders to innovate their lives and make an impact in the world.

Dr. Thomas stated to a group of NNYA leaders, “This is the time for creativity; this is the time for leaders to be more creative than we ever been before; this is the time for the church to be the church, and this is the time for a change.” VIP registration for SBC21 Partners for a limited time is just $35 to attend all virtual stops. Register today at
military chaplain

Wesley Theological Seminary offers tuition-free Military Chaplain Doctor of Ministry degree

Wesley is once again offering a tuition-free Doctor of Ministry Program for military chaplains. The program is highly regarded across the military community and prepares mid-career military chaplains for effective ministry at the next level in a changing and challenging world. Top caliber faculty, including Wesley's President, Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, will lead the courses. The first cohort meets on Wesley's Washington, DC campus the first week of March 2021 (subject to COVID-19 policies in effect at that time) and includes a second on-campus week the following March. All other coursework will be completed online.

Wesley invites chaplains from all branches and components to apply. Please share this information with chaplains you know who might be interested in being a part of this dynamic, life-changing opportunity.
Apply today at:
For more information, contact Special Assistant to the President, Dr. James Driscoll, CH (COL-Ret), US Army, at [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

Louisiana churches hit by Hurricane Laura

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Louisiana Conference Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey expressed gratitude that the hurricane caused less storm surge-related flood damage than had been feared. “But the wind was not our friend,” she said in a conference video. Hurricane Laura brought winds of up to 150 miles an hour as it made landfall along the Gulf Coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas early on Aug. 27. Laura, which moved north and then east as a tropical storm, is blamed for at least 11 deaths and has left hundreds of thousands of people without power. Aerial photos confirmed the devastation in and around Lake Charles, including destroyed homes and businesses. United Methodist clergy in that city and elsewhere in southwest Louisiana joined other residents in evacuating before the hurricane and were scrambling from afar to get reports on their churches and residences. Read more...

Church has the tools to dismantle racism today

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--In one hour, four young United Methodist leaders addressed why now is the time for the church to engage in dismantling racism and how each local church can — and must — make a change in the communities where it is serving. Calling out the names of Black lives lost, the Rev. Theon Johnson III said inaction goes against the commandment to “love God, love neighbor and love oneself.” The Aug. 26 broadcast on The United Methodist Church’s website and Facebook page was part of a series of denominational town hall meetings held to discuss eradicating racism. Also taking part were Ann Jacob, Andres De Arco and Katelin Hansen. Erin Hawkins, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, was moderator. Read more...

United Methodist Communications launches new campaign

The People of God campaign was launched in 2020 as a celebration of the core values that connect the people of The United Methodist Church. We are faithful, missional, committed, spirit-filled, deeply rooted, connected, resilient and diverse people of God. No matter what, God is with us, and we continue to have opportunities to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation the world! Read more...

GCFA Board summer 2020 meeting held virtually

The Board of Directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) held its summer board meeting virtually on August 27, 2020. Learn more about the business discussed at the link. Read more...

One Last Word: 30 days of action

antiracism gcorr calendar
Join the General Commission on Religion & Race starting today for 30 days of anti-racism. Each day you can engage in an activity that helps us to become more anti-racist in the ways we think and act. Share your progress with a picture or a reflection using #30DaysAntiRacism. More details about each of the 30 days can be found here:

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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