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April 8, 2024

Rev. Ryan LaRock is projected to be appointed July 1, 2024 as chief visionary for New Town UMC, Mission Rivers District, and as campus minister and director of the Wesley Foundation at William & Mary in Williamsburg.

The appointment offers an opportunity for ministry innovation that enhances the connection between the Wesley Foundation and new ministries at New Town, while continuing to strengthen ministry with other Williamsburg-area churches and across the Mission Rivers district.

New Town UMC was among 33 other churches in the conference seeking to disaffiliate in February 2023 at a Special Session of the Virginia Conference under Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline. The Annual Conference membership voted “no” on the ratification of the disaffiliation of New Town UMC.

Currently this church has no worshiping congregation but houses a preschool in an ever-growing community. Rev. LaRock’s leadership will be integral in the ongoing discernment of how New Town UMC can best serve the neighborhood surrounding the church and the wider Williamsburg community, to include the campus of William & Mary.

The Wesley Foundation at William & Mary is focused on radical hospitality. Student leaders embrace the uniqueness of each person, and their ministry celebrates the multi-faith and multicultural context of their campus.

The Rev. Max Blalock has led the campus ministry for the past 14 years, developing a strong team of student leaders focused on social justice issues, student food insecurity, and forging partnerships with the W&M campus organizations and local community.

In addition to his current appointment at Deep Creek UMC, Coastal Virginia District, Rev. LaRock has served as Chair of the Virginia Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry since 2022. Rev. LaRock brings to this appointment a host of experiences as a clergyperson in the Virginia Conference and has been an active leader in campus ministry during his time as a student. He brings all of this experience to this new appointment where he will emphasize the continuing connection between the campus ministry, W&M campus organizations, and the wider Williamsburg community in innovative capacities. He will be focused on forming relationships with students, alumni, local churches, and the Williamsburg community.

“We believe Ryan will be best able to discern next steps for ministry where New Town UMC will have an integral connection to the greater Williamsburg community and the campus ministry at William & Mary. We imagine this will lead to these ministries developing strengthened ties with one another, with other Williamsburg community churches, and with the Mission Rivers District,” Bishop Sue Haupert- Johnson said of the appointment.

Rev. LaRock shared on this projected appointment, “I believe The United Methodist Church is in a season of renewal and joy, and Virginia is no exception. I am thrilled about the possibilities for New Town UMC and its wider community. My passion for shepherding communities toward a reimagined sense of purpose excites me as I hope to cultivate spaces that bridge New Town’s thriving preschool with a greater network of neighborhood partners. Serving the community at New Town, and as the campus minister at William and Mary, invites Holy Spirit potential to become something refreshing and vital to the greater United Methodist connection that values grace, inclusion, and creative outreach.”

The full list of appointments in the Virginia Conference will be released on Sunday, April 21, 2024.


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