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News from the Virginia Conference - February 4, 2018

Guide to Annual Conference 2018 includes Great Day of Service information
There will be some variations to the Annual Conference process and format in 2018. Be sure to share this information within districts and local churches to ensure that first-time attendees as well as long-time veterans of Annual Conference will know what to expect June 15-17, 2018 in Hampton, Va. More…

Bishop’s Convocation on Race and Reconciliation
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. More...

Virginia Conference Immigration Outreach Committee releases statement
The Immigration Outreach Team, formed in 2017 to help unite the conference in a position to communicate the Gospel as it relates to immigrants and refugees, has released a statement about persons from El Salvador. Learn more…

Annual Conference Housing letter released today
The 2018 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 our conference will make our special rate rooms available to our conference attendees starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 12, 2018. NO RESERVATIONS WILL BE MADE AT THE CONFERENCE RATE PRIOR TO THAT TIME.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 Please make sure your local church lay member(s) to annual conference have received their copy of this year's housing letter by email, or direct them to the link on the conference website.

UMCOR Sunday is March 11
In the wake of disaster, 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…

Commission moderators emphasize mission as key to way forward
The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward are urging United Methodists to engage in reflections on where they see mission at the heart of the denomination as well as seeing mission as significant for resolving conflict. More…

Mentors Needed for All God's Children Camp
All God's Children Camp is just around the corner and they are in need of mentors this summer. Ninety total mentors will be needed, 30 for each camp, both male and female. Please consider giving a week of your time and mentor a camper whose mother or father is incarcerated. For more information, please contact Lori Smith at or 571-245-9591. More...

Trump signs bill giving federal recognition to Virginia Indian tribes
President Donald Trump has signed legislation to grant federal recognition of six Virginia Indian tribes, opening opportunities for them to receive benefits such as aid for schools, housing and health care. The federal recognition successfully ends a quest of nearly two decades by the tribes and by Republicans and Democrats in Virginia’s congressional delegation. More…

Registration is now open for Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation
Registration is now open for the 2018 Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation to be held October 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…

Bishop: Immigration plan needs care and prayers
As the U.S. government works on immigration reform, church leaders emphasize keeping families together and caring for all God’s children. “Dreamers are not villains,” said United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño. More….

Denomination's membership tops 12.5 million
The United Methodist Church’s global membership exceeds 12.5 million, according to the most recent figures available to the General Council on Finance and Administration. Heather Hahn reports on numbers used to calculate General Conference delegations. More…

2020 General Conference delegate distribution by annual conference now available
In December 2017, the Secretary of the General Conference publicly released information about the number of delegates assigned to the annual conferences within each jurisdiction and central conference for the 2020 General Conference. As directed by The Book of Discipline 2016, delegate counts for individual annual conferences were sent to the bishop and annual conference secretary of each. The full list was not made available at that time pending the completion of notifications and acknowledgements of receipt. The distribution of delegates by annual conference is now available online. The 862 delegates for the 2020 General Conference were proportionately distributed among annual conferences by applying a statistical formula based on the number of clergy and professing lay members of each annual conference.  These numbers are reported in the annual conference Journal and confirmed through data comparisons.

♦ 2018 Lay Servant Academy- Mar. 2-4, 2018 
Registration for the 2018 Lay Servant Academy, Mar. 2-4, is now open. Event will take place at the 4H Educational Conference Center in Wirtz. The Lay Servant Academy is about equipping laity (those who are not clergy) to carry out the mission of the church. All of the courses are open to anyone who would like to take one. Each course is designed to help those serving the local church learn more about leadership, personal faith development and a deeper understanding of The United Methodist Church. The courses are also designed to support those seeking to become Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Speakers. More…

♦ 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.

♦ Faithful Aging Conference- Apr. 24, 2018 
Theme for the Faithful Aging Conference will be “Always a Place at the Table” on Tuesday, Apr. 24, 2018, at Williamsburg UMC in Williamsburg. At the event you can network with other faith communities, share ideas and talk about how to address opportunities and changes as society ages alongside local church congregations. Consider being an exhibitor or sponsor to share ministry and service providers on hand to share information and help others understand the different levels of services and resources available, as well as the needs and issues older adults face. More information to come later this month. Questions can be directed to

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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