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News from the Virginia Conference - January 4, 2018

Discipleship Ministries offering free finance, stewardship webinar tonight 
Discipleship Ministries is offering a free finance and stewardship webinar, “Getting it Right at the Starting Line” at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 4. This webinar is focused on the new member of the stewardship team, finance committee, or church council – those who are looking to get started on the right foot. If your work in the church deals with people’s giving, you know the importance of that responsibility. Bathe your work in prayer. Remember, you are not alone; there are places to find help! The webinar will be made available in the webinar archive for those who are unable to attend the live event. More…

Steeple of Portsmouth church goes up in flames
One of the oldest United Methodist churches in Virginia caught fire Jan. 3 in Portsmouth. The steeple of Monumental United Methodist Church was engulfed in flames, and it was visible across the Elizabeth River in neighboring Norfolk. Staff made it out safely and cause of fire has not been confirmed. More…

Join 2018 Bible Reading Challenge
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis' 2018 Bible reading challenge will be read chronologically (in the order of events). Information about the challenge and monthly readings are now on the conference website. Take this quick survey to let Bishop Lewis know you have joined her in the challenge. More... 

Heart Havens night at Panera in Midlothian
Join Heart Havens at Panera for a snack, dinner or dessert. A printed flyer or an electronic version of the flyer (find at link) on a mobile phone or tablet must be presented when ordering and then 20 percent of Panera's sales that night will be donated to Heart Havens. Event from 4 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 25 in Midlothian, Va. Also remember that February is Heart Havens month. More…

Charlottesville church remains safe space during Dec. 14 court appearances
First United Methodist in Charlottesville opened its doors on Dec. 14, 2017, as a sanctuary for all who would come, partnering with Congregate Charlottesville and the Charlottesville Clergy Collective to bring in mental health professionals as well as interfaith clergy and lay leaders from the area Dec. 14 when a handful of cases from August went to court from the “Unite the Right” rally. More than 50 people came to the church, according to the Rev. Phil Woodson, associate pastor at First UMC. More…

Florida Conference hiring for disaster recovery efforts
The Florida Conference is hiring a significant number of positions for the Hurricane Irma disaster recovery efforts, and these are immediate openings. These are grant-funded positions that provide no relocation assistance. More…

January Advocate focuses on disability awareness
Learn more about disability awareness in the conference from Commission on Disabilities (COD) in the January issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate. Local churches can also learn how to include those with disabilities in their setting. 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, community leaders tackle racism with love
After a racial slur was spray-painted across a local skate park and bigoted remarks targeted a mayoral candidate a year ago, people knew something needed to change in this small coastal town. More…

Ohio church surprises servers with big tips
Five workers at the Wapakoneta Waffle House got a big surprise from a Celina church on Christmas Eve. Grand Lake United Methodist Church’s lead pastor, the Rev. Mick Whistler, had each family save $1 a week during Advent. The church took the money collected — $3,577, almost all in $1 bills — to the nearest restaurant open for Christmas. That was the Waffle House in Wapakoneta. More…

♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly- Feb. 1, 2018 
Ever wanted to know how to create real change in our state government? Or wanted to know more about real issues facing our legislature? United Methodist Day at the General Assembly is the place for you! This is our opportunity to help faith communities become empowered to serve as missionaries of justice, as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy. This yearly event will be held Thursday, Feb. 1 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Due to construction at capitol square this year and the relocation of the General Assembly Building, space will be more LIMITED this year. Registration for event is now open. A briefing will be held Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Bon Air UMC in North Chesterfield at 7:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at or (434) 594-6241. Find more information at link. More… 

♦ 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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