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News from the Virginia Conference - February 8, 2018

Annual Conference 2018 different than in past years
Last week the Housing Letter was sent out for Annual Conference 2018. To learn about all things AC 2018, including the Great Day of Service, visit This information is important to both long-time and first-time attendees of Annual Conference as the sessions will begin earlier than in past years. More…   

Update on the vision for the Virginia Conference
At Annual Conference 2017, Bishop Lewis shared the vision for the conference. Forrest White has the story on how that vision is progressing. More…

February is Heart Havens month
Welcome to February, and to Heart Havens Month! This month, the organization of Heart Havens is so excited to celebrate their mission of inclusive churches and communities with you. Resources can be downloaded electronically: The Heart Havens Month 2018 video can be viewed here:

March Advocate looks at mental illness 
The United Methodist Church calls members of the church to be in “ministry to individuals and their families challenged by disorders causing disturbances of thinking, feeling and acting categorized as ‘mental illness.’” The April Advocate issue will feature information from organizations like UMFS (United Methodist Family Services) on mental illness to emphasize that knowledge is empowering and can help us be better members of our communities. To subscribe to the Advocate—print, digital or both—call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; email; or go to

  Clergy not attending AC 2018 need to report absence to conference secretary
In a statement shared on the email group ClergyNet last week, conference secretary, the Rev. Susan Reaves, shared that clergy who cannot attend Annual Conference this year are required by the Book of Discipline to report this absence by letter with the reason to the conference secretary and not the Office of the Bishop. Email Reaves at

Mission of Rappahannock River District seeking camp coordinator
The Heartwood Center, a mission of the Rappahannock River District, located in Hartwood, Va. is seeking a Youth Mission Camp Coordinator for 2018. The camp will be held July 16-20 and August 13-17, 2018. For a copy of the position description, please email Rev. Gayle Porias at or visit This position includes a paid stipend.

Author offering keynote in Richmond
Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, will keynote a conference in Richmond, Virginia, April 5-7, 2018, sponsored by the Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary. The conference will explore pressing questions, engage in rigorous inquiry, and open communication essential to the well-being of black womankind. There will be panel presentations, table talks, plenaries and multifaceted, intergenerational and innovative conversations across disciplines and among activists who embody the kinds of interconnections that womanist work makes possible. The conference will be held at the Hilton Richmond Downtown and is open to the public. Walker’s keynote is free. Registration is required. For details, visit the Center for Womanist Leadership website.

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...

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…

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...

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…

'A Methodist Requiem' offers analysis, hope
In a new book, the Rev. William B. Lawrence writes about the death of the small Methodist church he grew up in, the history of schism in American Methodism and the current schism threat facing The United Methodist Church. Lawrence finds hope amid the challenges and tensions. He is a former dean of Perkins School of Theology and former president of the Judicial Council. More…

Clergy learn to navigate ethical dilemmas
The Western Pennsylvania Conference sponsored a day-long training session in clergy ethics. The training was long-planned but took on new urgency in the era of #MeToo and #ChurchToo. More…

♦ 2018 Lay Servant Academy- Mar. 2-4, 2018 
Registration for the 2018 Lay Servant Academy, Mar. 2-4, is 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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