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News from the Virginia Conference - August 27, 2019

Clergy asked to attend ‘Re-Calibrate’ event with Bishop Lewis
All Virginia Conference clergy are invited to “Re-Calibrate,” a day apart experience to reconnect, celebrate and have a healing moment with Bishop Lewis. The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Location will be the Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center (20809 2nd Avenue, Petersburg, VA 23803). Clergy are asked to make this gathering a priority to attend whether they are active, retired, bi-vocational, extension ministers, or supply pastors. Registration for the event is available at the link. Questions may be directed to your district superintendent. More…

Educational opportunity for high school students, parents at Randolph-Macon College
For the 2019-20 academic year, Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in Ashland, Va., will host on Saturday, Oct. 26, “Valuing the Voices in Our Church,” an opportunity for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to
     •  explore God’s call in their lives,
     •  grow in leadership skills,
     •  and develop an awareness and appreciation for diversity within the church.
There will be activities and programming for high school participants, parents/guardians, and younger siblings. Participants will explore their own leadership style, hear stories of call/leadership from a variety of speakers, and be part of a workshop focused on valuing their own unique voice and discerning God's call in their own lives. Parents who attend will enjoy two workshops: "How to tell your story to your children" and "How to listen and allow your child to tell his/her own story" along with a presentation by the R-MC Admissions Office to assist families in navigating the college application process. Childcare and activities are also provided for younger siblings who register to attend with Valuing the Voices participants. From November through May, the school will create an online video conference-style format to keep the high school participants connected. Applications are open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (2019-20 academic year).  The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.  If accepted, participants are asked to submit a $20 registration fee to hold their place.  There are no other expenses for the program, though participants will need to travel to R-MC for the Oct. 26 event and have access to computer/phone and Internet for the ongoing video community. More…

Bishop Weaver shares "Partners in Ministry" reflection
Bishop Pete Weaver, interim bishop of the Virginia Conference, shares weekly reflections of recent events and ministries in the conference. This week, Bishop Weaver shares about Labor Day. More…

ERTs needed in North Carolina Conference
Stephanie Hunt, construction supervisor of the North Carolina Conference Disaster Recovery, has shared the need for volunteers in Swansboro and surrounding areas. Teams may contact Hunt directly at  or 919-441-2324.

September Advocate explores personal, prayerful motivation    
It’s “back-to-school” time and the changing of the season often makes people reflective and seeking motivation. Learn more about how you can get motivated in your ministry in the September Advocate, consider your prayer life in some activities and learn how to create a mandala. Starting in the September issue, memories are shared about the Advocate magazine from two former Advocate editors. This special “Advocate Remembered” section will run through the December issue.

As the Advocate magazine comes to an end in its print and online formats in 2019, every issue, print and online, can be purchased for $7.50/subscription. You may contact the Communications Office to place your order for any 2019 issue at or 804-521-1110.

GraceInside seeking part-time chaplain
GraceInside, Virginia's State Prison Chaplain Service, has an immediate opening for a part-time Institutional chaplain at Buckingham Correctional Center. The deadline for applications is Sept. 6, 2019. More…

Council of Bishops offering three grants  
The Council of Bishops provides leadership for the ecumenical and interreligious ministries of The United Methodist Church. To that end they are offering three grants, each in the amount of $1,000, to groups within annual conferences for special projects designed to strengthen ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships. The application deadline is Sept. 13, 2019. It should be emailed to Recipients will be chosen and $500 will be mailed by Nov. 15, 2019. The projects must be completed between January and July 2020. The second $500 will be mailed once a summary report is received. Preference will be given to groups within annual conferences elected to lead in Christian unity and interreligious relationships. Projects selected will be ecumenical and/or interreligious in both invitation and goals. More...

Annual Dillard Forum to be held in September
The annual Dillard Forum held at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Avenue, Henrico, VA 23229, will welcome Dr. James Howell, senior pastor at Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, N.C., to speak on The Mystery and Miracle of Birth. The forum is free and open to the public.  Childcare will be provided; please call 804-288-6056 if you will need this service. The schedule for the Dillard Forum:
     ●  Sunday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.—Being Born: Jesus and the Rest of Us
     ●  Monday, Sept. 30, noon—Can a Person Really Be Born Again?  This is an interactive session with Q & A.  If you would like to join for lunch ($7) call 804-288-6056  by Wednesday, Sept. 25.
     ●  Monday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m.—Giving Birth: Mary and the Rest of Us. More…

Movie event in Hopewell to provide resources for churches, individuals working to stop opioid epidemic
Shooting Heroin will be shown by the director Spencer Folmar in Hopewell prior to its theatrical release. The fictional film is based on true stories as an Army vet seeks vengeance for his sister’s overdose, but ultimately finds himself faced with choices about judgment, grace and faith. Several groups will be present with resources for those dealing with addition themselves or others seeking to help stop the opioid epidemic. The movie will be shown on Sept. 15 at Hopewell High School. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the film begins at 2 p.m. Register at The movie is R-rated for language and violence; must be 16+ to attend.

Get latest information from Global Ministries, UMCOR
It’s easy to get the latest information about interesting and relevant issues related to your work and the needs of those you serve. Global Ministries has two e-newsletters which are intended to make it easy to connect the church in mission. ENGAGE, a bi-weekly newsletter, delivers important mission-related news and information for general audiences. SHARE is a monthly e-newsletter delivering resources for leaders within the church. More…

Conference DCM shares what local churches think about unity in UMC, global church value
The Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, conference Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM), began in July 2019 and is working to establish a close connection across the conference and share the resources of the conference center. Each month, Smith will share videos from conversations he has with local churches and members focused on church unity and the global nature of The United Methodist Church. More…

Submit petitions to General Conference
Updated instructions for petitions to the 2020 General Conference by clergy, laity, or organizations of The United Methodist Church can be found at the final link. Petitions can be submitted within the GC2020 website, by email to, or by fax to 615-369-2405. The final submission deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Paragraph 507 of the Discipline details the process required for General Conference petitions. The following link gives details for the specified format for consideration of petitions. More…

Plan for Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer in September
The Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 at Trinity UMC in Richmond. Both clergy and laity are invited to attend the gathering which will include Dr. Terry Tekyl as plenary speaker and breakout small groups. Deadline to register is Sept. 13. For more information contact the Rev. Ted Smith, director of Connectional Ministries, at More…

Volunteers needed for Danville District flooding recovery
The Rev. Jon Woodburn, Danville District disaster coordinator, recently shared a plea for volunteers as the district continues efforts to recover from flooding by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. "The biggest issue we currently have is a lack of volunteers," said Woodburn. "It has been some time since the energy of the storm left its mark on the area; our energy for being helpful may have diminished. Please help us help others in the name of Christ and show that the kingdom has come near by encouraging people to volunteer." You can contact Woodburn at You can be schedule for day trips or for a week-long period. Tasks left to accomplish include volunteers with experience placing floors, installing lower kitchen cabinets, replacing vinyl siding, placing insulation and doing drywall, prepping and painting, and doing trim work. Woodburn said the district hopes to complete this work by December this year.


Gay daughter sent bishop back to Scriptures
Bishop Richard Wilke was bishop of the Arkansas Area from 1986 until his retirement in 1994. He and his late wife, Julia Kitchens Wilke, together created the acclaimed Disciple Bible Study series and co-founded the Institute for Discipleship that bears their name at United Methodist-related Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. In this article he shares about the experience of his daughter telling him and his wife she was gay and in a committed relationship. “The young woman before us that night wanted to be loved and accepted, but she wasn’t a troubled, tortured soul. She was happy and whole, and Julia and I believed that her sexual orientation was how God had made her. That night we learned something new about our daughter, but we loved and cherished her just the same, if not more. Still, I knew I had some work to do. I needed to reconcile my commitment to scriptural authority with loving and accepting my daughter. Frankly, I was amazed at my lifelong ignorance about homosexuality. More…

Filipino United Methodists condemn latest violence
Filipino United Methodists strongly condemned violence and killings on Negros Island that have threatened residents. "State terrorism prevails in Negros Island," the Philippines Board of Church and Society said in a statement.  "Human rights advocates and supporters of local peasant associations previously red-tagged as Communist supporters or sympathizers were killed, this time by unidentified assailants or motorcycle-riding assassins. The soldiers and policemen, in carrying out their operations, left a trail of blood and tears and untold miseries to the families of their victims and the people of Negros," the statement said. According to Human Rights Watch, violence on the island escalated after four police officers were killed in July by the New People’s Army — the armed wing of the Communist Party in the Philippines. More than 300 special action forces of the Philippine National Police were then deployed to the island. The Board of Church and Society statement said militarization has taken its toll on Negros Island and its people. “It has reduced it into a howling wilderness, where death squads, human rights violation and extreme poverty reign supreme, and principles like respect for human rights, civil liberties and the dignity of man have become totally unheard of," the statement said. More…

United Methodist Men Spiritual Advance- Sept. 27-28
Registration is now open for the 2019 UMMen’s Spiritual Advance at Baylake UMC in Virginia Beach on Sept. 27-28. Featured speaker is the Rev. Dr. Kevin Watson, author of The Class Meeting and Bible study teacher at the 2019 Virginia Annual Conference. The theme is Transforming Grace. Special rates are available for pastors, early birds, spouses, and, if you attended last year, Bring One Get One (BOGO) for first timers.  New this year, church sponsorships are targeted for churches who have never attended the event or those currently with no formal UMMen organization. Open to all churches, the challenge is to line up 12 men to come and receive both a discounted rate and a free event themed T-shirt.  A box lunch option is available on Saturday to allow for more fellowship on site with brothers in Christ. More...

5 Talent Academy fall event- Nov. 13,14
The theme for this year’s 5 Talent event is Engage 2019: Community Transformation.  There are two events: one just for clergy and one for clergy and laity.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 will be a Clergy-only Pre-event at Woodlake UMC and will feature Bishop Ken Carter, Florida Conference UMC.  He will speak about redefining the UM connection and evangelism, the role of fresh expressions, and how to shape missional relationships in the current cultural landscape.
Thursday, Nov. 14 will be the main Clergy and Laity event at Woodlake UMC and livestreamed to 11 satellite locations around the state.  Bishop Carter will be preaching and speakers will be the Rev. Michael Adam Beck, Wildwood UMC, Wildwood, Fla.; the Rev. Jaqueline Lewis, Middle Collegiate Church, New York, N.Y.; and the Rev. Andy and the Rev. Anjie Woodworth, Neighborhood Church, Atlanta, Ga.  They will address what it looks like to be a neighborhood church, what is a community partner, and what is a fresh expression.
If you plan to attend in a group from your church, every fifth person in a group registration goes free. Fees for the events are as follows: Nov. 14 event - $35; Nov. 13 & 14 events - $60; Nov. 13 event only - $50. Registration prices increase after Sept. 30.  To register, visit For questions, contact MaryKaye Cochran at

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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