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News from the Virginia Conference - August 31, 2017

Conference center closed for Labor Day   
The conference center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 and remain closed on Monday, Sept. 4 in observance of Labor Day.

Cleaning buckets, donations needed in wake of Harvey
Want to help survivors of Hurricane Harvey? First, prayer is needed for the survivors, their families and all who are aiding in rescue, clean up and in many other ways. You can also put together Cleaning Buckets which are needed. Click here to download a list of Cleaning Bucket contents. As well consider a donation through UMCOR (United Methodists Committee on Relief). Drop off deadlines and collection points for the buckets can be found on the conference website. More…

Rio Texas Conference asking for ERTs
The Rio Texas Conference is asking for ERTs that are currently certified. Teams will base out of Corpus Christi and should register at ERT trained individuals/small groups not part of a team should register at Current needs include debris removal of downed trees and roof tarping. Many homes have water damage from damaged windows and roofs.

Registration open for Fall 2017 Diaconate Retreat
The current realities in social, cultural and political lives are calling for more compassion and justice. For such a time as this, there is the diaconate. This retreat, held October 3-5, 2017 at the Eagle Eyrie Retreat Center in Lynchburg, will be a time of renewing baptismal and ordination vows as participants strive for and lead the church in compassion and justice. This event is open to all deacons (ordained and provisional) as well as inquiring or certified candidates. 
Retreat leader will be the Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and an ordained deacon in the Virginia Conference.
Event will begin 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and conclude at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Registration fee is $150 per person which includes all meals and lodging in a double room.
For questions, contact the Rev. Kelley Lane at More…

Course on church, politics and race available this fall at Wesley Theological Seminary
Recent events have pointed once more to the deep racial, political and religious divisions in America. How can people of faith bridge these divides and work for a common good in an increasingly polarized society? Join Dr. Kris Norris for “Church, Politics and Race in a Polarized Society" this fall at Wesley.
The course will meet in downtown Washington, D.C., at Mount Vernon Place UMC on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. for six weeks beginning Oct. 5. This course may be taken for CEUs, master-level credit or audited. More...

Join in conversation on John Wesley’s theology of grace
Wesley Theological Seminary invites you to be part of the conversation at The Wesleyan Political Theology Project Conference, hosted at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26-27, 2017.
 The Wesleyan Political Theology Project is an effort to explore the social repercussions of John Wesley’s theology of grace. Historians, ethicists, theologians and others involved in politics and government will speak on what can be gleaned from the Wesleyan heritage to inform a contemporary Wesleyan political voice. More...

Service mourns mudslide victims
As the death toll continues to rise in Sierra Leone, United Methodist Bishop John Yambasu helped organize a service of remembrance that allowed survivors to mourn the dead. The scale of the disaster meant many families could not have funeral services before a mass burial of some 300 victims. More…

Registration now open for Lake Junaluska winter youth retreats
From December to February, Lake Junaluska will host five program weekends for middle school and high school youth groups. The dates are: Dec. 29 – Jan. 1: Jeremy Steele (Speaker) and Jimmy Atkins (Worship Band); Jan. 12 – 15: Celia Whitler (Speaker and Worship Band) featuring comedian John Felts; Jan. 26 – 28: Cecilia Tucker (Speaker) and The Advice (Worship Band); Feb. 2 – 4: Chris Sasser (Speaker) and The Advice (Worship Band); Feb. 16 – 19: Eddie Willis (Speaker) and Abbye West Pates (Worship Band) featuring illusionist Joshua Lozoff.
The theme for this year’s winter events is inspired by Isaiah 55:10-11; “Embrace Winter. Embrace the Word.” This winter marks the first year of a new format for the youth group retreats as participants will choose their own daytime activity whether ziplining, mission work or skiing.
The speakers and bands for the Winter Youth Retreats will come from across the Southeast and include Lake Junaluska favorites like musicians Jimmy Atkins and Abbye West Pates.
More information about speakers, bands and entertainers is available online at Groups that register before October 4 will receive free hats for their youth groups. To register, call 800-222-4930 or visit

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy- Oct. 3, 2017
Registration is now open for “Stir up the gift: Fan into flame the gift of God,” a one-day preaching enrichment experience, Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Aldersgate UMC, Charlottesville, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $35 by Sept. 1 and $45 after Sept. 1. Course is worth 0.5 CEU. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, guest presenter, will give two talks on effective sermon preparation and delivery and preach the closing worship service. Register via the conference website by going to Calendar and then to Oct. 3. For questions, email

♦ 5 Talent Academy- Oct. 19, 2017
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Oct. 19 event, "How to Structure your Church for Evangelism" with Jacob Armstrong. Armstrong will lead the event in exploring key principles for evangelism in local church including crafting a vision that fits your mission field, rethinking worship and leadership development and structure. The event will be streamed to locations across the conference. Gather a team from your church to take part. Early bird pricing as well as team discounts are available. Visit link for more information and to register. 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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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
Click here for directions to the Center