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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 9, 2017

Annual Conference information, logo now available
Preparation for Annual Conference 2017 is underway. The event will take place June 16-18 2017, at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Va. Visit the webpage to request a banquet, for housing information and to find out more about Kits for Conference. More information will be shared as it becomes available. More…

Faithful advocacy continues at 25th United Methodist Day
About 150 Virginia United Methodists traveled to the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond on Thursday, Feb. 2, to visit with Virginia lawmakers and advocate for social justice as part of the 25th annual United Methodist Day at the General Assembly. You are invited to follow Bishop Lewis during her first time at this event. More...

Commemoration events planned on one-year mark of 2016 tornadoes
Feb. 24, 2017, will mark one year since the tornadoes that affected three different areas in the Virginia Conference. According to Forrest White, Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM coordinator, each community has planned an event to commemorate the day. Waverly UMC will hold a dinner on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. with worship at 7 p.m. In Tappahannock, there will be speakers at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the fire department including White. In Evergreen on Feb. 26, there will be worship at 11:15 a.m. at Evergreen UMC with the Rev. Bob Parks set to preach. 

Follow journey of VIM team in Holy Land 
Twenty-three members of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society Volunteers in Mission team left Jan. 30 for a 12 day trip to the Holy Land. The team is led by the Rev. John Copenhaver and the Rev. Steve Jones, retired clergy in the Virginia Conference. Follow the group’s journey and experiences on their Facebook page

Mentors needed for 2017 summer All God’s Children camps 
All God's Children Camp is in need of mentors for camp this summer. There are three opportunities this year to serve: June 18-23 at Camp Chanco on the James, June 25-30 at Camp Overlook and July 30-Aug. 4 at Occohannock on the Bay. Visit All God’s Children page on the conference website for more information including a mentor and camper flyer. Email Lori Smith, camp director, at with any questions.  

Urgent need for UMVIM work teams
The Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery ministry currently has ongoing operations in Evergreen (Farmville District), Tappahannock (Fredericksburg District), Virginia Beach (Elizabeth River District) and Waverly (James River District). There are open dates available from now until April that need to be filled as well as summer slots. Email Forrest White for any questions and to schedule at  

Hunger-relief agency offers Lent devotions
“With Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed” is a daily Scripture reading, reflection and prayer for the 40 days plus seven Sundays leading up to Easter offered by The Society of St. Andrew, a national nonprofit hunger-relief ministry. More…

Building a church growth strategy in Cuba 
Through cell groups, missions and church planting, Methodists spread their faith throughout each district of Cuba. The idea is that each person is an evangelist. More… 

Carcaño offers solidarity to Muslims
During an interfaith prayer service, United Methodist Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño issued a letter of solidarity to mosques and Muslim religious leaders throughout Central and Northern California and Northern Nevada. More… 

Texas bishops appeal to Trump on immigration
Bishops Mike Lowry, Earl Bledsoe, Scott Jones, Mike McKee and Robert Schnase, representing the five United Methodists conferences in Texas, have issued an open letter calling on a “more compassionate response” to immigrants and refugees by President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. More… 

Viewing Clinton's campaign through faith, gender 
When a group of young clergywomen joined an effort to provide a daily devotion to Hillary Clinton during the recent U.S. presidential campaign, they were looking to support a fellow United Methodist and also acknowledge the women who have broken both glass ceilings and stained-glass ceilings. More… 

Circuit riders inspire new gospel music
Gaither Music’s new gospel music DVD “Circuit Rider” uses excerpts from actual letters and journals written by the circuit riders who first brought Methodism to rural America. Christopher Fenoglio has the story. 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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