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News from the Virginia Conference - February 19, 2019

Conference to livestream 'State of the Church' address following General Conference
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will hold an address entitled “State of the Church: Where do we go from here?” on Monday, Mar. 4, following the Special Session of General Conference. The event will be livestreamed at from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. featuring an address by Bishop Lewis as well as time for Q& A. The event footage will be archived at the same link for later viewing. Questions for this Q &A period may be sent to prior to the event and during the event. For questions about the event, contact Director of Connectional Ministries the Rev. Marc Brown at

General Conference 2019 resources, reporting from General Conference
A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church will take place Feb. 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. Madeline Pillow, conference director of Communications, and Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, will be present to report back to the Virginia Conference. You can watch the conference live at Methodist Communications has also made a chart available to see an overview of the four main plans under consideration. You can find Virginia Conference specific information to General Conference at

UMC Bishops prepare to preside at Special Session of General Conference
In a letter to United Methodists released last week, Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter noted that the bishops will be bound by a covenant of presiding, which was written in collaboration with the Commission on the General Conference. “The bishops honor the delegations who will gather in St. Louis, and will continue to see our appropriate calling as helping them to do their best work in these three important days.” Bishop Carter said in the letter. “We continue to give thanks for the mission of The United Methodist Church, for the power of the Cross and the Flame, and for the hope that God will guide us in a way forward. "This Special Session has been called by the Council of Bishops to find a way forward beyond the impasse around LGBTQ identity, interpretation of Scripture and the unity of the church. The General Conference is the highest legislative body in the church and the only group that can decide church law and speak officially for the global denomination. More... 

Stories shared of ways local churches aided during government shutdown
The government shutdown from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019 was the longest shutdown in United States history. For individuals affected it meant living with loss of payment which, in turn, affected their families and their livelihood. For churches, it meant finding a way to be the hands and feet of Christ to those affected. From Staunton to Virginia Beach to Northern Virginia, churches around the Virginia Conference found ways to be of service. From providing free community meals for furloughed workers to free haircuts, ways to give ramped up. Learn more at the links. More… Additional story...

Work group formed by Bishop Lewis focuses on ‘way forward’
A work group formed by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis has been meeting since July 2, 2018 to discuss the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and in anticipation of the results from the Special Session of General Conference (GC) in 2019. More… 

Opportunity for churches to host GBGM missionary
Jennifer Moore, a General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) missionary, will soon be in Virginia to share the ongoing mission in Macedonia.  Moore, a graduate of James Madison University, was commissioned as a UM Missionary 2016 and is serving as a Christian educator with The United Methodist Church in Macedonia.  Moore is available to speak at your church from Mar. 27-Apr. 2 in the Harrisonburg District as well as nearby districts. For more information, email Ann Klotz, member of Virginia Conference Missional Ministries Board at 540-494-1697 or More…

Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care to hold lecture on moral injury, soul repair
The Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care welcomes Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock for a lecture on moral Injury and soul repair, Mar. 22, 2019 at 6 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (6000 Grove Avenue, Richmond). The event is free and open to the public with a reception and book signing to follow the lecture. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock is senior vice president for Moral Injury Programs at Volunteers of America and a commissioned minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For questions, please call VIPCare at 804-282-8332. More…

West Virginia Annual Conference recruiting for position of CFO
The West Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is currently recruiting for the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  The deadline for receiving applications is Friday, Mar. 15, 2019. The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) is working with the West Virginia Annual Conference to recruit for this position.  If you know of someone who might be interested, please have them email their resume and cover letter to Human Resources via email at  For questions about the open position, please contact Tricia Baker, Director of Human Resources at 615-369-2326. More…

Notice: Housing letter for Annual Conference members
The 2019 Annual Conference Housing letter has been posted on the Virginia Conference website at The direct link to open the letter is This letter will help you with your lodging/housing for the upcoming conference. It includes a list of area hotels and motels that have special rates for the conference. All hotels/motels holding rooms for the conference make the special rate rooms available to conference attendees starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. You will receive a conference packet in May that will include information on the conference including schedule, Book of Reports, name tag, registration card, and other useful information. If you need information on the conference including banquet meals before your packet arrives, please refer to the conference website at

Disaster funds, UMVIM teams are needed in Danville
From the middle of September through the middle of October 2018, people in the city and county of Danville, Va. experienced historic flooding of the Dan River and other waterways as a result of hurricane Florence and tropical storm Michael. There are 45+ homes with significant damage, most of which are homes of persons and families that were struggling with economic challenges prior to the flooding. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) stands ready to assist with disaster recovery funds but the Virginia Conference, churches and individuals, are called to make a direct compassionate response to those affected by this disaster. There are two ways to respond to this crucial need:
1.    Please join in this disaster response with a financial gift to the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Fund which will direct contributions to the crisis in Danville. All contributions can be sent to the Conference Treasurer’s office with the reference “Conference Disaster Response Fund #5037."
2.    Consider organizing and taking an UMVIM team to work on the homes of those affected. Please contact the Rev. Lisa Nordan or 757-513-0496.

Virginia Conference UMVIM Teams Haiti Matching Funds
Volunteer in Mission (VIM) teams from faith communities in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church who are interested in serving in mission with the Methodist Church of Haiti have a unique opportunity to receive matching funds for work in disaster response or humanitarian projects. At the hyperlinks you can access general guidelines and one-page application to request the matching funds. If any further information is needed, please contact Glenn Rowley at or 804-521-1143 or Cindy Ingroff at the Office of Justice and Missional Excellence at or 804-521-1153.
You may also find information regarding the Haiti Matching Funds on the conference website under the Center for Justice and Missional Excellence.

Two summer conference internships available
Connectional Ministries of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is looking to select summer interns for two roles: Communications and Next Generation Ministries. CX-21 (Connections 21) is a 10-week full-time summer internship for college students interested in using their gifts/skills in a faith-centered work environment. In addition to each specific role, during the 10-week period interns will: read books/articles together; reflect on the intersection of faith and work; develop their strengths; listen to stories of others who have been through the journey of professional and vocational discernment. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at

Safe Sanctuaries Policy workshop to be held in March
Prepare for your children and youth programs with this five-day online workshop for congregations that don’t have a Safe Sanctuary policy or whose policy is outdated, needs revision or doesn’t meet the needs of current ministries. Participants will learn why congregations should have an up-to-date policy, what the policy includes generally and specifically, and how to get a policy written, approved, and implemented – or edited. This is an INTENSIVE workshop, so participants need to be involved on the site every day to receive a completion certificate. Plan on reading two documents, posting a response to one question, and posting responses to at least two other participants every day – a minimum of an hour a day. You are required to read Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth by Joy Thornburg Melton as a part of this course.  Please make sure you have access to a copy of this book throughout the duration of the course.Following this workshop, you may decide to schedule six additional weeks of support while you get your policy written or edited. The additional time would consist of once-a-week, one-hour conference calls or chat room conversations, for an additional $150. This course is eligible for 0.5 CEU. More...

Job opportunity: Foundation seeks president
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation (VUMF), Glen Allen, Va., is seeking a president. The Foundation provides stewardship education and manages assets for local churches, districts and agencies of the Virginia United Methodist Conference. VUMF seeks a proven nonprofit leader with at least five years of progressive leadership experience and a passion for the Foundation’s mission. The selected candidate will be a visionary with strong strategic planning experience and skills. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at and scroll down to “Other.”

February is Heart Havens month
Heart Havens is a Virginia Conference Advance Special mission that provides residential support to adults with a developmental disability, but it’s so much more than just providing a house. Heart Havens empowers people to discover what it is they love and then pursue it. No matter what the goal is, Heart Havens is all about helping the people they support find a way to make their dreams a reality. More…

Submit nominations for Annual Conference 2019 awards
Is anyone (clergy, laity or youth) in your congregation someone who goes above and beyond when it comes to discipleship? The Board of Discipleship each year recognizes one person in each category who displays discipleship in their lives for the Harry Denman Award for Discipleship. Go to: to get an application and send it to Becky Tate, or send to the conference office (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058)  c/o Becky Tate. Applications are due no later than Mar. 1, 2019.
Are you a church that has experienced significant turnaround in professions of faith and/or baptisms? You may be eligible for the One Matters Award. Churches are chosen by a process that looks at the past three years and the most current last year for significant changes in Professions of Faith.  The church that is chosen will receive a One Matters plaque and $1,000 to continue their ministries of intentional discipleship. Their story of transformation will be shared during the annual conference session, and their story will be shared across the connection through Discipleship Ministries website and other publications. Applications are due no later than Mar. 1,2019. Applications may be obtained at and by clicking in the left column for “One Matters Award application” under the “Board of Discipleship” heading. Applications should be sent to Don Jamison, or Becky Tate, or to the conference center (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058) (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058) c/o Becky Tate. 

Information available about nomination of clergy delegates for 2020
Information regarding the nomination of clergy delegates for the 2020 General Conference and 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference is available at The deadline for clergy nominations is Mar. 1, 2019.

Learn more about Convergence summer program for high school students
Convergence: Where Faith and Science Meet is a nine-day program (June 22-30, 2019) that allows current 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students to come to Randolph-Macon’s campus in Ashland, Va., 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 Randolph-Macon College student leaders with those same interests. There will be time in the classroom and outdoor experiences throughout the region. The cost to participate is only $250. 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.  If you would like to nominate a participant, you can fill out the nomination form, and the Convergence staff will contact your nominee with further information. The application form for participants is available. Please contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes or Laura Ruxton  at with any questions about the program. More...

Learn more about Shenandoah University’s summer institute for high school students
Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute (SUYTI) is a 14-day institute (July 14-27, 2019) where high school students explore the exciting intersection of faith and justice. Upon completion of the institute, and a self-identified justice project in their local context, students receive three credits from Shenandoah University. At SUYTI students spend one week at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. and one week at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Each day includes worship, class time with world class professors, compelling afternoon immersive experiences and mentoring from undergraduate and seminary students. The cost for students in 2019 is only $200. SUYTI is open to current 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. If you would like to nominate a student, you can fill out a nomination form. You can find the 2019 student application and more information on the website at  For more information, please contact the Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger ( 540-665-5453.

Instruments for evangelism
The Zimbabwe Episcopal Area is teaching church members to play new musical instruments and hone their talents. The goal is to enrich worship services and attract new members, especially young people. More…

MLK's driver had front seat to history
As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s driver for two years, Freddie A. Brown Sr. once saved the life of the civil rights leader. The resident of Asbury Methodist Village also helped to get 1,800 African-American students educated by The National Institutes of Health. More… 

What do United Methodists really believe?
The United Methodist Church is a big tent theologically, and people with conservative or traditional religious beliefs make up the largest group under that spreading canvas. Those are two key findings from a new United Methodist Communications survey of United Methodists in the United States. More…

♦ Clergy Spouses Retreat- Mar. 8-9, 2019
Are you anticipating some kind of major transition in 2019? Maybe a new appointment or the results of February's denominational vote? This session is designed exclusively for you – the clergy spouse! Retreat on Mar. 8-9, 2019 will include small group discussions and time to connect with other clergy spouses. Theme is "Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses" by Julie Anderman of Artos Retreats. Anderman, a clergy spouse in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference for 20 years, co-founded Artos Retreats two years ago out of a calling to improve the well-being of clergy spouses through connection and learning. Before starting Artos, Anderman provided independent instructional design and communications consulting for over 20 years. She has facilitated small group learning in both corporate and church environments for 25 years. Location will be Blessings Lodge at Camp Overlook, near Harrisonburg. Cost is $100 with accommodations and meals. Registration is available. Contact Judy Hall at 804-264-0524 with any questions. More…

♦ Goodson Academy of Preaching - Mar. 27, 2019
The Goodson Academy of Preaching urges you to save Mar. 27-28 for “Preaching as storytelling.” Guest presenter will be Donald Davis, a retired United Methodist elder and well-known as one of the nation's leading storytellers. The event will be held at Trinity UMC in Henrico. Online registration is open. For more information, email More…

♦ 2019 Faithful Aging Conference- Apr. 2, 2019
The third Faithful Aging Conference, presented by the University of Lynchburg Beard Center on Aging and Pinnacle Living, will be held Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2019. Persons of all faith traditions are invited to come learn, network and share best ministry practices as opportunities related to aging congregations and meeting the needs of older adults, inside and outside the walls of our faith communities are addressed. Melissa Andrews, chief executive office of LeadingAge Virginia, will offer the keynote address on the theme of Aging Abundantly. Workshop offerings will include:
    -    Effective communication across the stages of dementia
    -    Things everyone needs to know when making hospital and end-of-life visits
    -    Health equity and the needs of older adults
    -    Using music to deepen spirituality
    -    Scams and financial exploitation
    -    Practical ways to enhance ministries with people with dementia
    -    Dealing with loss and grief
The conference will be held at Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, VA. For general information, contact Martha Stokes at  or 804-474-8718. 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
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