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News from the Virginia Conference - April 19, 2018

Group of churches, organizations offer movie event for Hopewell-area students
Local United Methodist churches and the City of Hopewell Office on Youth have partnered to host a “Wonder” event for students in Hopewell and the surrounding communities on April 22. Screening the 2017 film Wonder at the Beacon Theatre, the organizations have raised funds through local community organizations to sponsor the event, ensuring the students and their parents will experience a free opportunity to celebrate kindness in the community. On April 22, students from Hopewell, Prince George, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights and Petersburg will participate in an afternoon of fun, with a focus on choosing kindness and confronting bullying. Each student will receive a complimentary popcorn and bottle of water, paid for by sponsors like Hopewell Moose Lodge 1742, The Titmus Foundation, Impact Mission Camps, The James River District of the United Methodist Church Board of Missions, and GFCW Junior Women’s Club of Hopewell. Immediately after the screening, the students will hear from an actress Izabela Vidovic (“Via”), and be challenged to “choose kindness” throughout the following week. Each student will be given a wristband with the hashtag #ChooseKind and encouraged to share their moment of kindness with others via social media. Group leaders will receive a discussion guide to prompt a follow-up dialogue about what it means to choose kindness. More…

Upcoming UMVIM team leader training events
There are two upcoming United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team leader training events: May 12, Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave, Richmond, VA 23229,  9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (deadline to register is noon on Monday, May 7) and the second training event is June 2, Burnt Factory UMC, 1943 Jordan Springs Rd, Stephenson, VA 22656 , 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (deadline to register is noon on Tuesday, May 29). Team Leader Training is required for first time United Methodist Volunteers In Mission team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. Invite your friends! Must have eight participants to offer this training. There is no registration fee, though participants are encouraged to make an offering to the host church to cover the cost of lunch. Doors open 30 minutes prior to training. Continuing Education Units (0.5 units) will be provided for those needing CEU certification. Pre-registration is required. Register by sending an email to Cindy Ingroff in the Conference Office ( with the following information: name; email address; primary phone number; church; district; dietary restrictions (if any); and CEU (yes or no). Registration deadline is noon on the Monday before the training event.

Domestic trip insurance back for UMVIM
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM), Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ), is able once again to offer medical insurance for teams serving in the United States. To enroll, contact the UMVIM, SEJ office at or by calling 205-453-9480. Do not register through the registration portal on the website if you want insurance. More…

Society of St. Andrew has mission trip opportunities
The Society of St. Andrew gleans America's fields to feed America's hungry. Harvest of Hope provides education/mission trip opportunity for people of all ages and has these openings for the remainder of 2018 (space is limited): Eastern Shore Virginia (Exmore, VA)  – July 15-21 High School Event (Potatoes); Eastern North Carolina (Mt. Olive, NC) – July 19-22 Middle and High School (Crop TBD); North Central Tennessee (Livingston, TN) – July 23-27 Middle and High School (Crop TBD); South Central Pennsylvania (Spring City, PA) – Sept. 28-30  Intergenerational (Crop TBD); Central Tennessee (Fayetteville, TN) – Oct. 12-14 Intergenerational (Sweet Potatoes); and Central North Carolina (Fuquay, NC) – Oct. 19-21 Intergenerational (Sweet Potatoes). To learn more, contact Rachael Lee at

Wesley Theological Seminary seeks partner congregations for learning, design process
Is your faith community ready to experiment and learn with young adults? Wesley Theological Seminary is seeking 15 partner congregations within a 40-mile radius of the U.S. Capitol to engage in a two-year innovative learning and design process – the Wesley Innovation Hub - to build relationships and create ministries with young adults both within and beyond the walls of the church. At the end of the first year, each congregation will receive up to $20,000 to utilize in their experimentation and implementation. Apply by April 30, 2018 to join the Wesley Innovation Hub this summer. The application and further information are available at Please email questions to

Try a class at Wesley Theological Seminary
Make this summer or fall a time of exploration and discovery through classes at Wesley Theological Seminary. Some of the one and two-week summer options include: Spirituality in Nature; The Life and Writings of Martin Luther King Jr.;Spirituality of Pastoral Care & Counseling; Songs of Zion: Spirituals in the Life of the Church and; Climate Change Insights for Religious Community Leaders. Explore other options for summer and fall 2018 at

Shenandoah University program for high schoolers focuses on leadership, Christian vocation
Shenandoah University’s Youth Theology Institute is an intensive two-week program, July 15-28, 2018, designed to help rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors become better leaders through deep and thought-provoking experiences. During the course of the two weeks, daily rhythms of academic study and religious reflection will be balanced with immersive experiences. Students will be exposed to different faith traditions, service opportunities and a mixture of rural, wilderness and urban contexts at Shenandoah’s Winchester campus, its Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring and the Wesley Theological Seminary campus in Washington, D.C. The Youth Theology Institute is also a three-credit undergraduate course taught by engaging religion faculty and focused on exploring Christian vocation in the 21st century. Upon their successful completion of the program, students receive credit for the course at Shenandoah University. Application deadline is May 1, 2018. Contact the Director of the Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute, the Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger, at (540) 665-5453 or Learn more…

Register for event for high schoolers interested in science, passionate about their faith
Convergence: Where Faith and Science Meet is a nine-day program (June 23-July 1, 2018) that allows rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to come to the Randolph-Macon College campus in Ashland and learn about the intersection of science and Christian faith. They will dive deeper into their religious beliefs, deeper into the study of science and will meet other high school students and college leaders with those same interests. There will be time in the classroom and outdoor experiences throughout the region. The cost to participate is only $100. Upon high school graduation, if a Convergence participant chooses to attend Randolph-Macon, they will receive a $1,000 annual scholarship for each year they participated in Convergence. Application deadline is May 1, 2018. Nominations are welcome! Please contact Laura Ruxton ( with any questions about the program. More…

Camp Rainbow needs summer volunteers
Camp Rainbow Connection (CRC) is seeking loving volunteers to serve their group of adult campers for a week or two this summer. CRC is a week-long respite camp for adults with intellectual disabilities. The dates are set. So mark your calendars and join in for an amazing, fun-filled summer with the most incredible people you will ever meet. Training dates are April 21 and May 5 at the conference center in Glen Allen. The camp dates are June 23-29 and July 21-27 at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Va. More…

Mentors still needed for All God's Children Camp
All God's Children Camp is two months away and mentors are still needed for all three dates. Currently there are 90 campers signed up and 20 mentors. Thirty mentors are needed for each camp. All God's Children Camp is a camp for children ages 7 to 12, with an incarcerated mother or father, where they spend a week at camp, participating in activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, Bible study and conflict resolution. Partnering with Virginia United Methodist camps, All God’s Children Camp provides a week of sanctuary for children who face so many challenges in their lives: economic poverty, temporary living conditions, loneliness, low self-esteem, violence and drugs. Please consider giving a week of your time to pour into a child's life. This is a great opportunity for members and friends in your community to serve together. Maybe there are already groups in your church or community, such as UMM, UMW, college age ministries or Sunday school classes, who can come together and serve this way. This is a great local mission opportunity for with very little cost ($20). The dates are: June 17-22:  Camp Chanco on the James (Richmond area); June 24-29: Camp Overlook (Shenandoah Valley area); and July 29-August 3: Occohannock on the Bay (Eastern Shore). Please contact Lori Smith at for more information. More…

The Heartwood Center has part-time seasonal position available
The Heartwood Center, a mission on the Rappahannock River District, is seeking a Mission Ministries Coordinator. The Coordinator leads a group of volunteers to provide a two-week day camp for middle school students with a focus on mission in the local community. The home base for the camp is at the Heartwood Center property in Hartwood, Va., in Stafford County.  During the camp, the students have the opportunity to participate in team building skills, low ROPES course, hands-on local service projects, Bible study and recreation. The local churches support the camp with experienced and enthusiastic volunteers and evening meals. Contact information is the Rev. Gayle Porias at 540-788-9838 or email More...

Kits for Annual Conference 2018
As your church begins preparation for collecting items for kits, there is currently an appeal from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for Hygiene, School, and Cleaning Kits only. Click here for the complete list of items and instructions on packing each kit. Collection times at Annual Conference will be from Thursday, June 14 from noon to 8 p.m. and on Friday, June 15 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For questions, contact the Kit Collection Coordinator, the Rev. David Magruder at Zion UMC in Seaford (York River District) at (757) 898-7417 or Money for the kits should be sent to Conference Treasurer, Virginia Conference UMC, PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Checks should be made payable to Virginia Conference UMC.

Register for Fall Clergywomen’s retreat
Embrace 2018 is the first gathering of the Virginia clergywomen in 30 years! Join for two days of worship, study and community. Engage in hands-on missions, show off your skills in a Talent/No Talent Show and participate in panel discussions on change and growth within your own ministry context. But most importantly, connect with other clergywomen and claim a renewed sense of call. Be inspired. Be nourished. Be embraced. Event will be held September 25-26, 2018 at the Virginia Crossings Conference Center in Glen Allen. Click link for more information about schedule, grant money, registration and more. More…

Draft of revised Social Principles released
United Methodists are being asked to weigh in on a draft revision of the denomination’s Social Principles, released April 12 after years of listening and writing sessions. More…

How to write right to attract readers
Twenty-six letters. From these emerge written or spoken masterpieces (or "mehs") — not to mention job security for Vanna White. Unfortunately, the following clichés, made-up words and grammar offenses also show up. More…

♦ Ministers' Convocation- Apr. 23-25, 2018 
This spring, The Center for Clergy Excellence invites you for a time of Sabbath retreat, learning and fellowship together as ministry leaders at Ministers’ Convocation – Apr. 23-25, 2018. Come be engaged in theological and academic conversation while experiencing rejuvenation for ministry. Theme is “The Paradox of Perfection: Our Wesleyan Heritage” with an emphasis on Christian Perfection. Dr. Rex Matthews, professor in the Practice of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Candler School of Theology will be teacher for the event. Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and the Rev. William Lamar, pastor of Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., will lead in worship. For event details and to register visit: Worship, keynote and workshop sessions, lodging and meals will be held at Virginia Crossings Conference Center in Glen Allen. You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. The deadline for in-residence registration is Monday, Apr. 2, 2018. All clergy, diaconal ministers, and professional/paraprofessional certified ministers in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church are invited.

♦ Conference Immigration Summit- May 19, 2018 
Bishop Lewis formed the Virginia Conference Committee on Immigration Outreach in 2017 to help the conference communicate the Gospel as it relates to immigrants and refugees. The committee also seeks to help the conference understand issues related to immigrants and refugees and how to advocate for them.  In partnership with the General Board of Church and Society, Just Neighbors and the Southeastern Jurisdiction Hispanic Caucus, the committee is sponsoring an Immigration Summit at Ramsey Memorial UMC in Richmond on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to educate and empower those who want to be in ministry to immigrants and refugees.  Attendance to the summit is free of charge, and a boxed lunch can be purchased at the time of registration. Registration is now available on the conference website at and go to Conference Calendar. More...

♦ SEJ Historical Society Annual Meeting - July 17-20, 2018 
The Virginia Conference Historical Society (VCHS) will host this year’s Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society of The United Methodist Church (SEJHS) Annual Meeting, whose theme is Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism. Everyone is invited to the event held from July 17-20 in Williamsburg, Va. Those who participate in all lectures and tours of the Annual Meeting are entitled to receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU). The event will include guided tours of Williamsburg churches and Historic Jamestowne, and lecturers delivering the stories of Virginia Methodism - Origins of the Old Brunswick Circuit, Chesapeake Methodism, African Americans and Religious Liberty in Virginia Methodism and The Evangelical United Brethren Church in the Valley of Virginia.  Keynote speaker, David L. Holmes, Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, College of William and Mary, will discuss Religious Freedom in the Colonial Era. Attendees will also enjoy a banquet celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Uniting Conference. The three-day event costs $85, with tours and dinner meals included. Registration ends July 10. Group rates are arranged with several local hotels, but cut-off dates are in May or June, so register soon! A brochure, registration and further information are available at the link. More...

♦ Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation- Oct. 14-19, 2018 
Registration is now open for the 2018 Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation to be held Oct. 14-19, 2018 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond. Sponsored by the Virginia Conference in cooperation with The Upper Room, this retreat is open to clergy and laity who are seeking to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, learning, and worship. This year, faculty leaders will be Dr. Luther Smith, professor emeritus at Candler School of Theology; and Dr. Amy Oden, professor at St. Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University. Registration at link. 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



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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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