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

September 22, 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?

Rehoboth UMC in Williamsport, Maryland, is embracing the opportunity for creative ministry during the pandemic. A large community garden, meal delivery program, beekeeping ministry, and outdoor worship services are engaging volunteers and solidifying the church's relevance in the community. Bee inspired...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Celebrate World Communion Sunday on October 4, to show about the importance of education. Communicate about this important giving opportunity in your local church by downloading free resources found in the Pastor and Leader’s Kit, complete with worship tools, social media graphics and much more. The support of your church family ensures students can follow their calling to make a global impact for Christ. More...
  • How can you serve this week?

This week, carve out space in your social postings and/or newsletter copy to encourage your members about the importance of showing compassion and care to others. This is especially needed in times of disaster. More...

Virginia News

2020 Annual Conference

Conference 2020 invalidated; new communication from Bishop Lewis

At 12 p.m. on Saturday, September 19, Bishop Lewis invalidated the 238th session of Annual Conference after voting technical issues during the session. Bishop Lewis shared further information in a letter from September 21. More...

Join Virtual Town Hall on Sept. 24 by In-Person Worship Work Group

The Bishop’s appointed Work Group on the Return to In-Person Worship is planning a Virtual Town Hall, Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 PM. The Town Hall will feature brief presentations by members of the Work Group including Dr. George Moxley, the Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor, Mr. Steve Brown, and Roanoke District Superintendent Doug Forrester. It will cover topics like facial coverings, singing, health screening, and other areas the work group has been focusing on. There will also be time for questions related to the Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) and in-person worship. Eastern Shore District Superintendent Alex Joyner will host. You can register for the Town Hall by emailing [email protected] and you will receive the Zoom link. More...

Fill out survey for Scouting Ministries

2020 is the 100th year of Scouting in the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church is the #1 Scouting sponsor for both Scouts and units in the United States. In the faith world, the United Methodist Church represents a full 25 percent of charters.You are encouraged to take a scouting survey and listen to a message from Virginia Conference Scouting Coordinator Bill Chaffin. More...
path 1 zoom call

Church planters around connection discuss goals for 2021

What are healthy metrics to consider as we set goals for 2021? Nearly 20 church planters from across the UMC gathered online to talk about goals and benchmarks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rev. Rachel Gilmore, in extension ministry to Discipleship Ministries/Path 1, and the Rev. Jason Stanley, Elizabeth River District, were on the call. More...
um publishing house

UM Publishing House extends full permission of copyrighted worship materials

The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) is extending full permission to all churches for use of UMPH copyrighted worship materials through December 2020. UMPH recognizes the need for easy access to key worship aids as the COVID-19 crisis persists and local churches strive to serve their communities. The copyright page in the 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship grants permission as follows: “United Methodist congregations may reproduce for worship or educational purposes any item from The United Methodist Book of Worship for one-time use, as in a bulletin, special program, or lesson resource, provided that the copyright notice and acknowledgment is included in the reproduction.” Each worship service is one-time use. Therefore, churches are free to reproduce the liturgical text as needed (with the obvious exception of the copyrighted service music on pages 173-223). Further, during the COVID-19 crisis, UMPH is waiving the need to ask permission to livestream and/or record worship services that read, perform, or display liturgical text from the UM Book of Worship. UMPH encourages churches to utilize streaming licenses from OneLicense or CCLI to stream copyrighted service music. No additional permission is required for any United Methodist congregation to reproduce the liturgical text in the context of an online or physically gathered worship service or, during the COVID-19 crisis, to livestream worship services and/or record and post them on a private site during this period. This permission does not extend to events other than worship services or events where admission is charged or registration fees are collected or copies are duplicated in a resource for sale. More...
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Credit Union introduces new Outreach & Stewardship Director

The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is pleased to announce the Rev. Burt Brooks as Outreach & Stewardship Director. Burt has served over 30 years in faithful pastoral service to the United Methodist Church and has also led a ministry of stewardship consulting. “Burt’s extensive experience in stewardship, fundraising, and church finance can really make a difference for our churches - and he can also be a gateway to the other services the credit union can provide,” said Jim Eads, CEO of TUMCU. “We are very fortunate to have him.” Brooks will be a primary point of contact for member churches and is ready to provide resources and expertise in the areas of:

- Stewardship ministry assessments
- Identification and assessment of stewardship resources
- Stewardship sermon and worship design
- Stewardship coaching with pastors and church leaders

This ministry is courtesy of The United Methodist Credit Union and is free of charge to the local church.
The United Methodist Credit Union is a full service, faith-based financial institution serving United Methodist churches and individuals in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia (churches and organizations only). More...
holiday church door

Reimagining creative, safe yet socially distant holiday celebrations

Resource UMC--With the number of coronavirus cases across the country, fall and winter holiday celebrations are likely to look very different this year. Adjust your church plans now for fall festivals, Halloween and Christmas. With a little creativity, you can create celebrations that are fun and safe. Here are a few ideas from Resouce UMC to get the creative juices flowing. 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...
wesley seminary class

New Methodism Doctor of Ministry program begins January 2021

Are you ready to lead in the new Methodism that will emerge following General Conference 2021? Wesley Theological Seminary invites leaders to a new kind of Doctor of Ministry program - one where congregational leaders will work with other leaders in real-time, those eager to move beyond the present debate to design and lead congregations which are:
• broadly inclusive
• incorporating the disruptive challenges wrought by the pandemic, the recession and the new civil rights movement
• seeking both personal and social holiness
• an economically viable model for this new Methodism
Respected denominational leaders -- the Rev. Tom Berlin of Floris UMC in Herndon, Va., and Wesley President David McAllister-Wilson -- using the resources of a strong Wesley faculty and the Lewis Leadership Center have fashioned this program, which will result in project/theses grounded in a Wesleyan practical theology. The program will begin in January 2021 and includes attendance at GC2021. Deadline to apply is November 15, 2020. For more information, email President David McAllister-Wilson at [email protected] or go to .
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. Four courses are being offered: I Love to Tell the Story, Older Adult Ministries, Online Worship, and the Spanish language class Formacion Spiritual/Spiritual Formation." 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...
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

Full communion with Episcopalians delayed

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Citing the pandemic’s ongoing threat, United Methodists and Episcopalians have put plans for full communion between their two denominations on hold for now. Leaders of both denominations initially had expected to take up a proposed full-communion agreement when their top decision-making bodies each met this year and next. “The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with its sweeping disruptions has regrettably, but understandably, necessitated a rethinking of this timeline,” the Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue Committee said in a Sept. 17 statement. More...

Missions’ doctors, nurses serve despite struggles

UNITED METHODIST NEWS --With Zimbabwe’s health sector paralyzed by labor strikes and a lack of protective equipment and other supplies, more patients are turning to United Methodist mission hospitals and clinics for care. Health care professionals called to serve at church facilities remain committed to saving lives despite economic struggles that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, said church leaders and hospital staff. Since March, many of the doctors and nurses who work at government-run hospitals in the country have been on strike, demanding better working conditions and pay as well as adequate equipment to protect themselves and patients against the coronavirus. Despite some of the same issues, workers at United Methodist health facilities remain on the job. More...

Grappling with how racism coexists with faith

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Jesus calls his followers to love their neighbor. So why have Christians found ways to refuse their neighbors not just love but basic dignity? “We know better,” said the Rev. Mai-Anh Le Tran of United Methodist Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. “Why don’t we act or live differently? It strikes me as that we are still befuddled by our human fallibility.” For an hour, she and two other theologians wrestled with why racism remains prevalent in the U.S., where Christianity is the dominant faith. They spoke as part of The United Methodist Church’s fourth online panel held to discuss eradicating racial injustice. The Sept. 16 panel discussion came a day after Barna released new research showing an increasing percentage of practicing Christians who say they are “unmotivated” or “not at all motivated” to address racial injustice. Barna found that percentage grew from 17 percent in 2019 to 30 percent this year, even after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake drew international attention, and news spread that COVID-19 is disproportionately killing ethnic minorities, including children. The same survey found that nearly one in five practicing Christians say that race is “not at all” a problem in the U.S. More...

One Last Word: Reflection

Why is your church important to your community_
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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