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News from the Virginia Conference - February 5, 2019

Update on Bishop Lewis' surgery and healing
As of late last week, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis was still in her hospital in Atlanta, following an additional surgery stemming from her hip replacement in late December. She would like to thank you for all your prayers, notes and cards. Her orthopedic and infectious disease doctors are continuing their treatment. She will continue to keep us updated on her progress. Please pray for Bishop Lewis' continued healing.

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 will make the special rate rooms available to conference attendees starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. 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

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 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.

VUMPI ensures that clergy and laity have accurate information leading into General Conference 2019
Virginia United Methodist Pensions, Inc. (VUMPI) wants to ensure that Virginia Conference’s clergy and laity have clear and accurate information regarding any potential impacts to the denominational pension plans prior to the Special Session of General Conference at the end of the month. Executive Director John Fuller shared that while the organization has received few questions regarding the various plans going before the conference and their potential impact, the organization wanted to ensure clear information is shared. You can access Wespath’s Frequently Asked Questions document addressing the potential pension impact associated with the plans being considered by the Commission on a Way Forward at the following link:
"Perhaps the most important point identified in Wespath’s document is that no denominational pension benefits or Wespath retirement account balances will be reduced as a result of the adoption of any of the plans being considered by the Commission on a Way Forward," said Fuller. "Wespath has worked with the Commission on several provisions to protect clergy pension benefits; in particular, the Commission is recommending (in Petition 90017) an amendment to the current denominational pension plan.  Under that amendment, a clergyperson who has accrued a pension benefit and leaves The United Methodist Church would have that benefit converted to an actuarially equivalent account balance that is transferred to the clergyperson’s United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) account.  This approach is similar to the treatment of pension benefits offered by secular employers upon termination of employment." You can contact Fuller at 804-521-1128 or

Fresh Expressions Vision Day in February
What is Fresh Expressions? Fresh Expressions is a movement that is cultivating new forms of church alongside existing congregations in order to reach a changing world. Begun in England 10 years ago, it has resulted in the birth of over 2,500 new communities in the United Kingdom alone. Fresh Expressions has spread to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and is also taking shape in the United States. At its heart, Fresh Expressions is about empowering and equipping God’s people to develop creative expressions of church that can reach the increasing diversity of society. Fresh Expressions Vision Day is a one-day interactive training, sponsored by the Virginia Conference, that can catalyze your church to:
• See opportunity in a new mission field
• Hear how fresh expressions are renewing churches
• Discover how fresh expressions of church develop and grow
• Consider what a fresh expression might look like in your context
• Discover your role in releasing these new missions
Bring a team on Feb. 16 at Calvary UMC in Stuarts Draft (2179 Stuarts Draft Hwy.) from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is $25 per person and .5 CEU for clergy. Register and learn more about additional events at link. More…

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.

2019 Graduate Information for Campus Ministries
Help the conference office of Next Generation Ministries connect high school graduates and other college attendees to Virginia Conference campus ministries.One of the biggest challenges for the conference office is bridging local churches and youth ministries with campus ministries across the conference. This has become more challenging over the last year since legislation was passed in Virginia making it so that campus ministries (and other student groups) are unable to access student email addresses from college databases. There are ways you and your districts can help bridge this gap. Please encourage churches, pastors, youth ministry leaders to:
    1. Go to and share basic information about college students from their communities;
    2. Contact campus ministers directly to let them know of students who need a ministry connection on campus;
    3. Schedule a visit to one of our campus ministries so a personal introduction can be made.

Names and contact information for all our campus ministry directors can be found at

Learn more about summer youth events at Lake Junaluska
Bring your youth group to Lake Junaluska this summer for worship, spiritual growth and adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Every event includes energized worship with great speakers and bands, small groups, vespers and workshops. Youth also can choose to participate in mission projects and recreational activities such as rafting, ziplining or swimming. More...

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
Virginia delegates huddle to discuss possible next steps after the Judicial Council ruled "Plan UMC" unconstitutional. UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.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.

Church's trust clause: Critical amid struggle?
John Wesley was thinking about church property when he wrote the first trust clause in 1750. Gracious exit plan petitions going to the 2019 General Conference ask for a temporary halt to the trust clause if local churches decide to leave The United Methodist Church. More…

Traditional plans keep status quo
Two plans to be considered at the special General Conference would continue to restrict the role of LGBTQ persons in the church. The Traditional Plan and Modified Traditional Plan provide penalties for those who act against the Discipline's guidelines on sexuality. This is the final in a four-part series explaining the most prominent proposals. More…

African bishops ready to transform agriculture
United Methodist bishops in Africa have pledged to transform agriculture from the current subsistence farming to commercial ventures that can financially support the church. 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. Conference details and registration information will be available later in January 2019. Opportunities are still available for sponsors and exhibitors. 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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