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

November 10, 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?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued and more churches shifted to or increase their digital ministry, United Methodist Communications began developing a series of Local Church Learning Sessions. All have been developed specifically to support local United Methodist churches during this extraordinary time. New sessions will be added as they are produced. Start learning...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

How can you show strong leadership? Learn more with this article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Learn more...
  • How can you serve this week?

Right now, people are serving their communities because of scholarships funded by gifts made on United Methodist Student Day. Together, we can provide support for more students on their educational journey. Use your church communications to inspire your members to give generously with these UMCGiving resources. Learn more...

Virginia News


Video series: Share what you are thankful for

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, the conference Communications office wants to know what you are thankful for this year. To participate, please submit a short video (no more than five to10 seconds long) or a photo (with a sign) sharing what you are thankful for. Pictures should be taken straight on, looking at the camera, and not a profile view. If the video is recorded with a cellphone, please hold the phone horizontally so you will have a larger image and no black lines on the side. Submissions should be sent to [email protected] by Wednesday, November 18.

New Conference Director of Connectional Ministries announced

Effective November 16, 2020, the Rev. Dr. Steven Summers, current Winchester District superintendent, will begin as the conference Director of Connectional Ministries. As Summers assumes this new role, the Winchester District will be divided in regions and covered by the Rev. Sarah Calvert, Arlington District superintendent; the Rev. Dr. Victor Gomez, Harrisonburg District superintendent; and the Rev. Charles Bates, Rappahannock River District superintendent. “I am very thankful to the Rev. Dr. Summers for his leadership in the Winchester District,” Bishop Sharma Lewis said. “Please join me in welcoming him in his new role in the conference.”

Bishop Lewis shares November 9 letter on in-person worship

Bishop Lewis shared a letter on November 9 sharing the continued importance of safety and best health practices as churches resume in-person worship services. She also shared updated information related to outdoor congregational singing which has also been updated in the Technical Assistance Manual (TAM). Read more...
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College scholarships for students preparing for Christian ministry

Whether one feels called to be a pastor, a youth minister, a music minister, a religious studies professor, a faith-based nonprofit leader, military or hospital chaplain Randolph-Macon College’s Bailey Scholars Program could help individuals afford college and find a supportive community for vocational discernment as they grow in college and prepare for seminary. Application deadline is Feb. 8, 2021. If you have questions, email [email protected]. Learn more at:
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New resources available for UMFS December offering

United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is the Virginia Conference designated offering for December. UMFS deeply appreciates the support of local churches in this ministry, helping high-risk children create a brighter future. They have created a variety of digital assets to support the offering this year, and help you share the work of the ministry with your congregation. You can find the following resources at four short videos, an electronic bulletin insert, church offering scripts, and images for newsletters, emails, social media, and websites. Please contact Jill Gaynor ([email protected] or 804-254-9463) with any questions. UMFS thanks you for your support!

New Conference Lay Leader elected at Annual Conference session

Mrs. Martha Stokes was elected Virginia Conference Lay Leader during Annual Conference on Saturday, Oct. 31. Please join the conference office in welcoming Martha to this important position. She may be contacted directly at [email protected]. You may also read the remarks she gave during conference session at the link. More...
2020 Annual Conference

Annual Conference 2020 recap now available

The rescheduled Annual Conference session took place Saturday, October 31, 2020. A conference offering was taken and churches may still mail Annual Conference Offerings to the Treasurer’s Office at PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058 or make donations online at Visit the conference website to view the write-up of the day's events, a short summary video, pictures, and more. More...
wesley seminary

Register now for 2021 J-Term and Spring online courses at Wesley

As we look forward to the end of 2020...why not launch 2021 by taking an online class at Wesley Theological Seminary? Whether it's your first class ever, continuing a degree or certificate program, or taking a class for continuing education, Wesley has a wide range of online courses that will explore your areas of interest, deepen your understanding with the latest scholarship, and will reveal God's workings in the important social and political concerns of our day.

Pick the online format that fits with your schedule: J-term classes (short, intense courses that run 1-2 weeks in January 2021 and can earn full credit) or full-term Spring Term classes (January 21- May 8, 2021) Here are just a few of the upcoming courses:
J-Term Classes:
• Race, Religion + Resistance - Dr. Asa J. M Lee
• Prayer in the Early Church - Dr. Anna Adams Petrin
• Pastoral Care LGBTQIA+ Persons - Rev. Leo Allen Yates
• Planting New Faith Communities - Dr. Paul Nixon
Spring Term 2021 Classes:
• Exploring Digital Worship - Dr. Timothy Snyder
• Faith, Politics & The Public Square - Dr. Sondra Ely Wheeler, and Prof. Michael D McCurry
• James Baldwin AS Social Critic and Theologian - Dr. Josiah U. Young
• Theological conversations for Dismantling Racism - Audrey Coretta Price
Registration is now open - apply early to save your space! To register or for more information, go to or contact Admissions at [email protected] or call (202) 885-8659.
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LARCUM event to be held Dec. 4-5

Imagine what it might have been like if the best things Luther had to say—about the centrality of the Gospel and its power to give us Christ—could have been heard as a proposal for the church catholic rather than an attack on the pope that split the church (for which Luther bears plenty of responsibility). How might the church catholic hear that proposal today, when most of us do not have quite the same anxieties as the 16th century—the vivid fear of hell and “terror of conscience,” as Luther called it? How might such a hearing of Luther’s proposal about the Gospel help us think about being church in a post-Christian and post-modern context?

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will be participating in the Friday evening worship of "Being Formed by the Gospel in a Post-Christian Age." Dr. Phillip Cary is the presenter. Learn more...
lay servant ministries

2020 Lay Servant Academy is Nov. 14 - Registration now closed

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 is now closed. Questions may be directed to Tianna Durbin, Lay Servant Academy Director, [email protected]

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. Learn more...
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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...

General Church News

United Methodist Global AIDS Committee plans World AIDS Day Service

The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee has announced plans for a special service to commemorate World AIDS Day on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 1:00 PM CT. The worship service – held virtually – will be free and available to all online at and The theme of the service will revolve around the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day ­– Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility – and will feature a message from Bishop Julius Trimble of the Indiana Episcopal Area, chair of the Global AIDS Committee, music by Jorge Lockward of the United Methodist Church of the Village (New York, NY) and a testimony by William Brawner, founder / executive director of the Haven Youth Center, who is living with HIV. Read more...

Churches, individuals working for racial progress

UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- Since beginning Black Lives Matters protests in Macon, Georgia, Derian Wilson has been called a communist and a terrorist, told that he was too immature to ever have a wife and family, and asked if he supported Abraham Lincoln. “That one confused me,” the 21-year-old man said with a chuckle about the reference to the nation’s 16th president. “It was very strange.” Wilson, a member of Martha Bowman United Methodist Church in Macon, protests three or four times a week outside the Chick-fil-A restaurant where he is employed or at the roundabout near Tattnall Square Park. Sometimes his mom or friends are with him; other times he’s alone. His car sports a black flag that states “Black Lives Matter.” “I want to see more caring for other people,” Wilson said about his reasons for protesting. “I feel like that’s something that as a society we’re lacking. … Just looking out for your neighbor, making sure people are OK.” Wilson is one of the United Methodists across the United States keeping the momentum of the anti-racism movement going. In addition to individual efforts, many congregations are striving to educate and take action in the aftermath of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other people of color. Read more...

Council urges no new US bishops for 4 years

UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- United Methodist bishops — faced with dwindling funds and a potential denominational split — want to hit the brakes on electing new bishops in the United States and adding more bishops in Africa. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Council of Bishops president and leader of the Louisiana Conference, announced her colleagues’ recommendations for stabilizing the denomination’s Episcopal Fund at the end of a Nov. 2-5 online meeting. Over four days, some 115 active and retired bishops spread across four continents discussed the leadership necessary for the church’s future — including the continuing work of dismantling racism. Most of the bishops’ sessions were closed to the public. At present, 14 U.S. bishops plan to retire in the coming year or take on new roles with the Council of Bishops. The council recommends that the five U.S. jurisdictional conferences — now scheduled for next year — postpone any elections of their successors until 2024. “We support the grassroots movements to not elect bishops until the next quadrennium,” Harvey told United Methodist News. Read more...

UMC Bishops offer innovative ideas for future of the global denomination

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS-- In the midst of a pandemic, racial unrest, and denominational and political anxiety, the bishops of The United Methodist Church met in a virtual format for four days to focus on the leadership necessary to chart a new future for the global denomination. Among the innovative ideas that were discussed were ways to lead the church in the midst of this unique and challenging season. Facilitated by consultant Susan Beaumont, Lisa Greenwood from the Texas Methodist Foundation, and anti-racism consultant Erin Hawkins Smith, the bishops centered conversations on the direction of their leadership in rapidly changing times, an intentional focus on anti-racism and practical matters related to cutting costs and expenses of the Episcopal Fund. Read more...

Amid post-election crisis, Côte d’Ivoire church calls for peace

UNITED METHODIST NEWS -- More than a week after the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire, The United Methodist Church works to ease tensions as uncertainty weighs on Ivorians. In a similar political scenario to the one that led to a civil war 10 years ago, the country is divided between supporters of former President Alassane Ouattara who was re-elected with 94 percent of the vote, and those for his opposition, who boycotted the electoral process and formed a parallel administration. They argue Ouattara’s win violates constitutional term limits, but the Constitutional Council validated the election results on Nov. 9. The Côte d’Ivoire United Methodist Church is calling for prayer and peaceful resolutions. Read more...

One Last Word: Finding direction

psalm 119 105 lamp god
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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