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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 23, 2017

Bishop Lewis featured in podcast
Part one of a Crackers and Grape Juice podcast is available with Bishop Lewis as the guest. The podcast is hosted by team including Virginia Conference clergy the Rev. Taylor Mertins and the Rev. Jason Micheli. Bishop Lewis shares about district superintendent evaluations and her “name change” once she became a bishop. More…  

District superintendent shares cause for prayer, advocacy in Alexandria District church
Alexandria District Superintendent Jeff Mickle shared a letter to his district on Feb. 17 concerning a recent Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agent raid as homeless men left the Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church hypothermia shelter on Feb. 8. More…

Ministers' Convocation to be held May 8-10, 2017
Register now for Ministers' Convocation, "Making Space for Yourself and Others," which will be held May 8-10 at Virginia Crossings Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center.  Workshop information is now available. You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. More ...

Newest 3-minute stir video shares about call
The Rev. Lindsey Baynham shares about being called in the newest 3-minute stir video. Baynham is Associate Director for Call, Candidacy & Discernment in the conference center. 3 Minute Stir, a concept created by Paulo Lopes, conference director of Ministries with Young People, and Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, is a new VAUMC resource developing from Bishop Lewis’ charge to Virginia to “stir up the gifts” at her Welcoming Service in September. Each of these 3-minute videos are a reengagement with Scripture-based and relatable messages to be shared with small groups or youth groups. More...

Virginia Conference pastor recognized in article about using humor in preaching 
The Rev. Amanda Garber, pastor of RISE in Harrisonburg, was featured in a United Methodist Communications article discussing the use of humor in sermons. More… 

March issue of Advocate shares about UM history, polity 
The United Methodist Church is in the midst of adjustment as followers reevaluate their beliefs against those of the church’s especially in regards to the issue of human sexuality. In this issue, revisit what the church beliefs are and the history. The March Advocate issue is great for new members and confirmands as well as a refresher course for members. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate—print, digital or both—call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; email; or go to

Church investments take on climate change 
The United Methodist pension agency is planning for a low-carbon economy. For investors, the agency says, the move makes good financial sense. More… 

United Methodist churches welcome refugees in Nigeria
Village attacks in the country leave 15 people dead and more than 7,000 displaced, many of whom are United Methodists. More… 

Get online engagement ideas for Lent
Lent is a time of reflection. It is also a time many individuals seek ways to deepen their spiritual relationships. Here are some creative ways churches can engage members and potential visitors during Lent. Use this article to think of additional ways to deepen your congregation’s faith and extend the mission of your church. More…

Learn the benefits of a church-school partnership
Jake McGlothin, director of serve ministries at Floris UMC in Herndon, shares on Lewis Center for Church Leadership, the mutual benefits of church-school partnerships. He outlines what churches can share with schools as well as how engagement with schools can positively impact a congregation. 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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