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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 16, 2017

Conference videographer shares Cambodia experience in new blog
Check out videographer Nick Ruxton's latest blog about his recent trip to Cambodia, a pilgrimage which focused on providing opportunities for sharing, growing and learning from and with both laity and clergy of the Methodist mission in Cambodia. Click here to view blog.

No Cabinet changes for 2017-18
Bishop Lewis shared in a letter to the conference that there will be no Cabinet changes in the coming year. “I would like to continue to build the present team and allow myself an additional year to meet and learn the clergy that could be an additional asset to the Cabinet in the coming years,” said Lewis. More… 

February is Black History Month
February is Black History Month. Resources are available to churches to recognize this month and highlight it in their worship services. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship resources. The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History offers resources for African-American history. 

Annual Conference information, logo now available
Preparation for Annual Conference 2017 is underway. The event will take place June 16-18 2017, at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Va. Visit the webpage to request a banquet, for housing information and to find out more about Kits for Conference. More information will be shared as it becomes available. More…

February is Heart Havens Month
February is Heart Havens Month in the Virginia Conference, a time when churches are asked to make financial contributions to this agency that provides residential services for men and women with intellectual disabilities by operating nine group homes throughout Virginia. Bulletin inserts, worship resources and more are available. For more information or to arrange for a Heart Havens speaker in your church, contact Sarah Wilkinson, Heart Havens Communications and Volunteer Manager, at (804) 237-6097 or

Immigration officials detain United Methodist leader
A member of the lay leadership at House of Prayer United Methodist Church in Dodge City, Kansas, was arrested by officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Rev. Gustavo Vasquez has the story. More…

Wisconsin marchers oppose immigration policies
United Methodist pastors and young people joined demonstrators from 25 Wisconsin cities on Feb. 13 for a “Day without Latinos, Immigrants and Refugees” march to oppose state and national immigration policies. The Rev. Ricardo Torres, pastor of Vida Nueva United Methodist Church in Green Bay, told WBAY, “We’re fighting for our rights, and we have rights.” More…

‘Hidden Figures’ mathematician raised Methodist
United Methodists in White Sulphur Springs remember Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson — the main character in the movie “Hidden Figures” — counting steps as a child. Johnson grew up near and attended St. James Methodist, which was then an African-American church. More… 

A ‘carbon fast’ for Lent
The Church of South India, Green Anglicans and other groups are sharing creative ways to observe a “carbon fast” during the Lenten season, the World Council of Churches reports. Such activities also help support the “Seven Weeks for Water” Lenten campaign, offered by the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network. More… 

New national ads promote childlike faith
In this year’s national advertising campaign, The United Methodist Church features the words of children, who share their thoughts about open hearts, minds and doors, to extend an invitation to people searching to give their lives deeper meaning. More… 

John Wesley's rescue from fire
John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, grew up knowing he was “a brand plucked from the burning.” Joe Iovino recounts the harrowing story of the rectory fire that changed Wesley’s life at the age of 5. More…

♦ Clergy Spouse Retreat- Mar. 3-4, 2017
The Clergy Family Enrichment Committee invites you to a brief time of personal renewal, networking with other clergy spouses and reflection on Friday, Mar. 3 to Saturday, Mar. 4 at Richmond Hill Retreat Center. The keynote speaker, Martha Stokes, will lead participants through "Reflections of General Conference & Supporting the Future." The breakout times will include making and learning to pray with prayer beads and exploring creative devotional writing. The event begins at 3 p.m. on March 3 and concludes after lunch at 12:30 p.m. on March 4. The registration fee of $100 includes meals and lodging at Richmond Hill Retreat Center as well as supplies for the breakouts.For more information and to register, visit this link. For more information, contact Judy Hall at

♦ Faithful Aging Conference- Mar. 14, 2017
Faithful Aging on Mar. 14, 2017, will be the first statewide, faith-based conference on aging addressing opportunities related to an aging congregation and meeting the needs of older members. Presented by the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College and Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc. (VUMH), this conference developed following listening sessions across the Virginia Conference to hear directly from clergy and laity about the needs of older adults in their congregations and communities. The Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is a Gold Sponsor for the event. A .5 CEU has been approved for Virginia Conference clergy and certified professionals as well as five hours of credit toward recertification for Lay Servants. Contact Martha Stokes directly by phone at (804) 474-8718 or email her at for more information. There is a registration form on the event under the conference calendar or you may register online at More...  

♦ Lay Servant Academy- Mar. 31- Apr. 2, 2017
The Lay Servant Academy is about equipping laity to carry out the mission of the church of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. All courses are open to everyone. Each course is designed to help those serving the local church to learn more about leadership, personal faith development and a deeper understanding of the UMC. Many courses offered this year will support those seeking to become Certified Lay Servants and Lay Speakers. To register and for more information on the Academy, visit the website. Registration questions may be directed to Sandy Kelley at and other questions to Beth Christian at 

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer- Apr. 1, 2017
Registration is now open for The Bishop's Convocaiton on Prayer on Apr. 1, 2017. The event will take place at Trinity UMC in Richmond with the Rev. Juanita Rasmus acting as plenary speaker.  Fee is $10 and participants will get to choose two workshops to attend. A workshop in Spanish is also being offered. 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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