The mission of the Virginia Annual Conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping over 1,150 local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.
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 6 ministry areas (Communications, Congregational Excellence, Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, Information Technology, Justice and Missional Excellence, and Ministries with Young People) to equip the local church for ministry and provide a connection beyond the local church for ministry.
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, Young Adult Leadership Initiative, Regional Schools for Children’s Ministries, 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, Sunday Advocate, Conference Journal, Annual Conference Sessions Support, Database management for conference ministries, Coaching and support for conference, district and local church leadership in areas of media relations, crisis communications and spokesperson training, Rethink Church training and resources
Among the ministry areas that provide a ministry connection through these Connectional Ministries’ offices are:
Mission of Hope Initiatives with Brazil, Cambodia, and Mozambique, Caretakers of God’s Creation, seven Virginia Conference campus ministries and 15 ecumenical campus ministries, United Methodist Day at General Assembly, Lay Servant Academy, conference staff resourcing support for new faith communities, District training events, Voices of Youth, Conference Middle School and High School youth retreats, Youth seminars, Young adult mission trip, Helping Hands Children’s mission events, Mission Encounter (formerly School of Christian Mission), three All God’s Children Camps for children of incarcerated parents, two Camp Rainbow Connection events for persons with intellectual challenges, digital e-Advocate, Mission Opportunities booklet, Conference benevolence grants, Conference Advance Specials, Training for Volunteer in Mission Leaders
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
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.
The mission of the Virginia Annual Conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.”
The Conference shall embody the following values as it endeavors to assist all churches in the task of making disciples:
- Be led by the Holy Spirit.
- Grow spiritually and numerically.
- Serve the local church.
- Connect with and equip the local church for ministries of welcome, nurture and transformation.
- Develop and live out ministries to the poor.
- Strive for excellence.
- Model servant-leadership at all levels.
- Honor diversity and teach inclusivity.
- Practice simplicity.
- Communicate effectively, that others might also.
- Focus on ministry.
Office of Connectional Ministries
• Ted Smith, Director of Connectional Ministries
(804) 521-1133, TedSmith@vaumc.org
• Bev Myers, Administrative Assistant
(804) 521-1134, BevMyers@vaumc.org
The 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.”
Center for Next Generation Ministries
• J. Paulo Lopes, Director of Center for Next Generation Ministries
(804) 521-1135, PauloLopes@vaumc.org
• Becky Tate, Administrative Assistant
(804) 521-1139, BeckyTate@vaumc.org
The director of the Center for Next Generation Ministries resources the conference Council on Youth Ministries, Life Span Ministries (Children’s Council, Youth Council, Young Adult Council), Division of Education of the Board of Discipleship, Board of Higher Education Ministries, and oversees and coordinates All God’s Children Camps, youth ministries as determined vital by the conference and regional equipping of children, youth and young adult ministries.
Center for Congregational Excellence
• MaryKaye Cochran, Interim Associate Director
(804) 521-1155, MaryKayeCochran@vaumc.org
The director of Congregational Excellence resources the conference Church Development Team, district Church Development Teams, Division of Evangelism of the Board of Discipleship, Equitable Compensation Commission, and oversees implementation of Invitation to Plant and the 5 Talent Academy in All Things New.
• Madeline Pillow, Director of Communications, Advocate Editor and News Associate
(804) 521-1113, MadelinePillow@vaumc.org
• Nick Ruxton, Digital Media Manager
(804) 521-1112, NickRuxton@vaumc.org
• Brenda Capen, Database Manager/ Webmaster
(804) 521-1116, BrendaCapen@vaumc.org
Virginia United Methodist Communications is a resource for the local church, as well as for districts and conference agencies, in the areas of practicing effective communications, developing print and electronic media, understanding principles of public relations, advertising the ministries of our United Methodist churches, and strengthening connections across Virginia United Methodism.
The Communications office also provides a news and information service offering background material to reporters developing stories involving the United Methodist Church. Staff services are also available on many aspects of church communications programs, including development of newsletters and bulletins, use of video, computer, and website technology, and relationships with secular media.
• Bryan Compton, Information Systems Manager
(804) 521-1115, BryanCompton@vaumc.org
• Chris Malak, ChrisMalak@vaumc.org