The Book of Discipline characterizes the work of the Office of Connectional Ministries as serving as the “steward of the vision” of the annual conference, charged with aligning the total resources of the conference with its vision, and with enabling the “connections among the local, district, annual conference, and general church ministries.”
The Office of Connectional Ministries serves as the centering point for the program ministry boards and agencies of the Virginia Conference to fulfill this mission. Through this office, supervision is provided for the ministry areas of Influence, Serving, Learning, Communications, and Information Technology. The Director of Connectional Ministries is a member of all Conference Program Boards and Agencies as well as a member of the Extended Cabinet and ex-officio member of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration.
The Common Table for Church Vitality serves to coordinate and prioritize the ministries and resources of the Virginia Conference. It nurtures, interprets, and promotes the vision of the Conference, as well as the mandates of The Book of Discipline which relate to Conference work. The Common Table lives out the values of the Conference as defined by the following and advocates for the presence and observance of those values in the work and ministry of the Conference.
Conference ministries that are aligned and coordinated through the Connectional Ministries Office are provided by the Boards of Church and Society, Church Development Team, Communications, Discipleship, Missional Ministries, Higher Education and Campus Ministries, Laity, and Commissions on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy, Disabilities, and Status and Role of Women.
Among the ministry areas that equip local churches for ministry through these Connectional Ministries’ offices and Boards/Agencies are:
- Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer
- Annual Conference sessions
- 5 Talent Academy
- Small Church Leadership Initiative
- Local church conference ministry grants
- All Things New-Equipping Vital Congregations Bishop’s Task Force
- New Church Leadership Institute
- Commission on Disabilities Program and Accessibility grants
- Conference Journal
- Database management for conference ministries
- Coaching and support for conference in crisis communications
Among the ministry areas that provide a ministry connection through these Connectional Ministries’ offices are:
- Partnerships of Hope Initiatives with Brazil, Cambodia, and Mozambique
- Caretakers of God’s Creation
- (seven) conference campus ministries and (fifteen) ecumenical campus ministries
- United Methodist Day at General Assembly
- Lay Servant Academy
- new faith communities
- district training events
- Voices of Youth
- conference youth retreats
- Mission trips
- Mission Encounter
- All God’s Children Camp
- Camp Rainbow
- e-Advocate newsletter
- Mission Opportunities booklet
- conference benevolence grants
- conference Advance Specials
- Volunteer in Mission training
Boards and Agencies primarily resourced by the Director of Connectional Ministries:
- Common Table for Church Vitality
- Common Table Personnel Committee
- Common Table Grants Committee
- Conference Leadership Discovery and Development Team
- Annual Conference Planning Committee
- Site Selection Committee
- Conference Rules Committee
- Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer
- All Things New-Equipping Vital Congregations Bishop’s Work Team
Office of Connectional Ministries
The Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Director of Connectional Ministries
The Rev. Dr. Steven J. Summers has served churches of all sizes in the Virginia Conference, was the past president of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, has served as a District Superintendent, and is currently the Director of Connectional Ministries for the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Summers is a graduate of the University of Richmond (BA, Phi Beta Kappa), Virginia Union University School of Theology (MDiv), and Drew University (DMin). As a Disciple of Jesus Christ and a trained Coach, his passion is to co-actively journey with all God’s children towards positive adaptive change as we continually learn and influence others to serve God and community. His greatest joys are sharing Christ’s Good News, his family, and his beagle, Dublin.
Steve may be reached at (804) 521-1133, SteveSummers@vaumc.org.
His administrative staff is Bev Myers who may be reached at (804) 521-1134, BevMyers@vaumc.org.
See the full staff of the Connectional Ministries Office and find contact information at the link.