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News from the Virginia Conference - February 22, 2018

Bishop Lewis shares statement on Dr. Billy Graham’s passing
In a statement on Feb. 21, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis said, “Dr. Billy Graham was a loving, fervent activist for Jesus Christ who worked tirelessly to bring the Gospel to many throughout the world. We should all remember the inspiring example he set, his high standards, perseverance and sheer joy at preaching. And as Rev. Graham himself said, he has not died. He has simply changed his address to be with his Savior.”

Roanoke-area churches focus on privilege, marginalization in Lenten series
A coalition of five Roanoke downtown churches has planned a six-week Wednesday night discussion series, “From Confession to Communion,” centered on how privilege and marginalization affect the lives of community members. One of these churches includes Greene Memorial UMC. More…

More information released about Great Day of Service at AC 2018
Bishop Lewis shared more information about The Great Day of Service that will be taking place on Saturday, June 16 at Annual Conference 2018. More…

Meredith McNabb shares about excellence in ministry at conference at Eastern Mennonite Seminary
The Rev. Meredith McNabb, conference director for the Center for Clergy Excellence, was the keynote speaker at Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s annual School for Leadership training located in Harrisonburg, Va. More…

Conference director shares article ministering to young people in times of tragedy
Paulo Lopes, conference director for the Center of Next Generation Ministries, shared an article about three approaches youth workers can use in response to school shootings. More…

Kits for Annual Conference 2018
As your church begins preparation for collecting items for kits, there is currently an appeal from 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.

Curious.Church Conference offers workshops for persons in faith formation roles
Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF) will hold its bi-annual conference, Curious.Church Oct. 9-12, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa. CEF is a professional association for people in faith formation roles, whether as volunteers or as full time. More…

Registration now open for 2018 Faithful Aging Conference
The Faithful Aging Conference attempts to address opportunities related to an aging congregation and meeting the needs of older members, inside and outside the walls of our faith communities. Presented by the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College and Pinnacle Living, the conference will be held this year at Williamsburg United Methodist Church on Tuesday, April 24. The conference is supported by a range of sponsors including the Virginia Conference Older Adult Council. A request for .5 CEU for clergy and certified professionals has been submitted to the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.The registration deadline is April 6, 2018. Cost is $40/individual which includes lunch, refreshment breaks, and all conference materials.  Adults 65+ can register for $30/person. Groups of 3 or more individuals from the same church or organization can register for $25/person. Limited scholarship funds, sponsored by Pinnacle Living, are available for Virginia Conference United Methodist Church congregational teams. For more information about the scholarship assistance, contact Martha Stokes at Register online at this link

ERT Leader and Recertification available
Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Recertification training will be available on March 3 at Galilee UMC in Sterling, Va. Class will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with registration at 8 a.m. Cost is $55. To register, email  or visit this link.

ClergyNet members: Forum will be making change from Yahoo Groups to Google Groups
Brenda Capen, database manager and webmaster, shared that ClergyNet, an email group, which has been a valuable tool for connecting with conference clergy and others for many years, will be shifting its hosts from Yahoo Groups to Google Groups. The last several months have seen some issues including inadequate support from Yahoo. The Virginia Conference has been using Yahoo Groups to host ClergyNet since December of 2000. The conference Communications office will take members from ClergyNet and invite them to join a ClergyNet Google Group. Capen said, “This will be a learning experience for us and we will continue to communicate via Yahoo and Google until everyone feels comfortable with a new way of communicating. If this transition is smooth and successful, the Communications office will look at moving all the current conference-sponsored groups to Google.” The invitations to join the Google Group will be sent out in small batches so it may take a while (Google policy).  Please look for the invitation in your inbox in the near future. More information about Google Groups is available at .  

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary offering additional 25 full-tuition scholarships for Masters students
Continuing the seminary’s commitment to reducing student debt and addressing the financial needs of students seeking a theological education, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has an additional 25 full-tuition scholarships available for individuals applying for admission as a full-time student in fall 2018. Students who submit an application for admission will automatically be considered for a scholarship and need to apply for admission by April 1, 2018. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so students are encouraged to apply early for priority consideration. More…

UMCOR Sunday is March 11
In the wake of disaster, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is present among the devastation to provide relief and hope. All of us can make a difference in these times of need by participating in UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing). Brand new resources are available to encourage generosity, from videos and bulletin inserts to social media graphics and posters. More…

Graham influenced many United Methodists
United Methodists were among the many remembering the influence, including on their own lives, of evangelist Billy Graham, who died Feb. 21, at 99. “No voice or message in the past half century has been more powerful and faithful in pointing clearly to Christ,” said the Rev. Eddie Fox, retired leader of World Evangelism for the World Methodist Council. More…

British church stays alive through service
Nearly a decade ago, Cleggs Lane Methodist Church in England was about to close. Then, the formation of a weekly men’s health group led to new life. This is the second of an occasional series of stories, “British Methodism: Staying Relevant in Wesley’s Homeland.” More…

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Race and Reconciliation- Apr. 14, 2018 
Bishop Lewis has called a Convocation on Race and Reconciliation on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Annandale UMC. Lunch will be served. The convocation will empower participants to become lifelong learning disciples who will be able to conduct the difficult conversations we all need to have related to issues of racial division, justice, and God’s call to ministries of reconciliation and peace. Keynote speaker will be Romal Tune. Register and learn more at the link.

♦ 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.

♦ 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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