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News from the Virginia Conference - Apr. 12, 2017

Conference offices to close for Good Friday, Easter
Virginia Conference offices will close at 1 p.m. Thursday, Apr.13, and remain closed until 8:30 a.m. Monday, Apr. 17, in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

Bishop Lewis urges sharing news, potential crises with conference office
In her column for the May Advocate issue, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shares the importance of communication as she says, “Communications is at the very heart of what we do; it is how we carry out ministry. Communication is also integral in maintaining the connectional aspect of our denomination that links local churches to our global church.” Pastors and church leadership are especially encouraged to read the column to know what to do if the media contacts them or their church. More… 

Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer video shares highlights of the day 
Bishop Sharma  D. Lewis carried on the tradition of the Convocation on Prayer begun by Bishop Young Jin Cho. This year, the convocation featured classes on different types of prayer as well as a plenary session with the Rev. Juanita C. Rasmus who challenged participants to think about prayer in a new way. More… 

Deadline of Denman, One Matters awards is April 21
The Virginia Annual Conference is now accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay and Youth and the One Matters award. 
The Harry Denman Evangelism Award recognizes a person whose life and ministry exemplifies the teaching of Christ and the Great Commission. Recipients of these awards, nominated by individuals, churches or districts, and selected by the Annual Conference, live their call to “Offer Them Christ” daily as modeled by Dr. Harry Denman, founder of The Foundation for Evangelism that sponsors these awards.To learn more about the award or to download nomination forms visit the Virginia Conference website at  
The Virginia Annual Conference Board of Discipleship has announced a new award to be given at Annual Conference. The award, “One Matters,” recognizes significant improvement of baptisms and professions of faith. The award, which includes $1,000 and a One Matters Discipleship Award plaque, will be presented to the pastor and lay leaders of a congregation that has done significant work to make its zeros from previous years become positive numbers. Nominations and applications are due no later than Friday, Apr. 21, 2017. More...

CEMCA shares statement on immigration raids
This following statement has been posted on the conference website on behalf of the CEMCA (Ethnic-Minority Concerns & Advocacy) Commission of the Virginia Conference. Feedback or questions may be sent to Lori A. Valentine de Segovia at More… 

Nick Ruxton talks about sanctuary church after visiting New Orleans
In his "Through the Lens" blog, conference videographer Nick Ruxton shares the story of First Grace UMC in New Orleans, La., which he visited on a recent trip for a conference. More… 

Kits for UMCOR to be collected at Annual Conference
As your church begins preparation for collecting items for kits, there is currently an appeal from UMCOR for Health and Bedding kits. While these are currently in high demand, there other kits that are being collected include Birthing, Cleaning, Layette, School, and Sewing. Click here for the complete list of items and instructions on packing each kit (pdf). The times for collection of the kits are Thursday, June 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, June 16, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, June 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If anyone has questions about the kits, you can contact the Kit Collection Coordinator, the Rev. David Magruder at Zion UMC in Seaford (York River District) at (757) 898-7417 or

Items for AC virtual promo packet due May 19
In an effort to be good stewards of the environment and financial resources of the conference, the annual conference “promo packets” will again this year be virtual. Electronic copies of materials previously submitted in hard copy for the tote bag will be accepted – at no cost to the organizations submitting them – for inclusion in the Virtual Promo Packet, which will be posted on The Virtual Packet will be available for viewing on the website beginning June 1. Those organizations still wishing to disseminate their information in a hard-copy format may arrange for a display table at the Hampton Convention Center by contacting the Rev. Eric Vaudt at 757-759-7484 or Display guidelines and a Display Request form are also available on the 2017 Annual Conference Information page of the conference website.  Information for the Virtual Promo Packet needs to be submitted in pdf format to the Office of Connectional Ministries ( for approval by Friday, May 19.

Commission on a Way Forward optimistic of future, delves into tough task
Members of the Commission on a Way Forward have expressed optimism at reaching consensus on a plan or plans to guide the Council of Bishops in leading The United Methodist Church into the future.During the three-day meeting, April 6-8, at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., the Commission members began discussing possible outcomes and timelines on accomplishing their task of examining paragraphs in the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church. More… 

Civil rights tour 'very impactful' for Hispanic youth
Hispanic youth from Dallas had an eye-opening spring break, taking a civil rights history tour of the South, thanks to the United Methodist National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry. The Rev. Amy Spaur described the tour as “very impactful” for the young people from her church. More…

Migration remains mission priority
The number of forcibly displaced people across the globe — 66 million — is at a record high, says Erol Kekic of Church World Service, one of nine certified U.S. refugee resettlement operations and a United Methodist partner. He spoke during an all-day seminar at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, which has affirmed the issue of migration as a continuing high priority. The Mar. 30 session was in preparation for an interagency workshop the following day. More… 

Denomination certifies first lay parish nurse
After nearly two decades serving as a church nurse in the Holston Conference, Joy Eastridge heard God’s call to take the next step in her ministry. She is now The United Methodist Church’s first certified lay minister with the specialization of parish nurse. More… 

Pastor's limo helps kids arrive in style
When you see a stretch limo cruise by, you probably wonder who is inside. A celebrity, a CEO of a large company, a foreign dignitary? But in this Missouri town, people are more likely to think, “Probably some kids going to youth group at their church.” More…

Church opens doors to citizens in training
When you walk into the “Rainbow Room” at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church on Saturday mornings, you might think the people around the U-shaped table are a mini-United Nations. More…

♦ Caretakers of God's Creation Climate Justice Conference- Apr. 28
The 10th Annual Methodist Caretakers of God's Creation Conference will be held in the Washington, D.C area this year to complement the National People's Climate Justice March on Apr. 28. Mt. Olivet UMC in Arlington will act as host for the event. Please contact Jaydee Hanson at or 703-231-5956 with questions. More... 

♦ Ministers' Convocation- May 8-10, 2017
Register now for Ministers' Convocation, "Making Space for Yourself and Others," which will be held May 8-10 at Virginia Crossings Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center. You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. More...

For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly magazine — now available in both print and digital formats. Click here to subscribe. Or call the Communications office at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or email For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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