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News from the Virginia Conference - January 11, 2018

February Advocate highlights Heart Havens month 
The February Advocate is working with Heart Havens for this issue to share news from the organization and to provide resources for churches to participate and support Heart Havens during the month of February for their theme of, “Life of the Party.” To subscribe to the Advocate—print, digital or both—call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; email; or go to February issue out soon!

Virginia Wesleyan University receives $71,000 grant
Virginia Wesleyan’s Bryson Mortensen, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Music, has received a grant of $71,000 from the E.K. Sloane Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to underwrite the purchase of a $154,000 Steinway Concert Grand Piano for the university’s new Susan S.Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. The grant will be matched by funds from other donors to underwrite the full cost. Steinway Concert Grand Pianos are considered the gold standard of musical instruments. Virginia Wesleyan's instrument, a Steinway Series D, will be housed in the 300-seat Joan and Macon Brock Theater and will enhance student performances and attract high quality outside artists. The 23,000-square-foot Goode Center, scheduled for completion in 2019, will also boast a grand lobby, supporting spaces for the performance venue and a plaza for outdoor programming. 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... 

Registration open for Interfaith Peace Conference at Lake Junaluska
All are invited to join an interfaith dialogue about polarization and peace during the Interfaith Peace Conference, Mar. 1-4, 2018, at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The conference theme is “Meeting the Other: Can We Talk?” and it will address how to communicate with civility and respect while upholding core values and religious traditions. The conference will bring together representatives from the three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – to promote peace. This year’s keynote speakers will reflect on what each of their faith traditions has to say about peace, especially in regards to polarizing beliefs. Registration for the conference is now open at Lodging and meal packages are available for those wishing to stay at Lake Junaluska, and there are special discounted rates for students. Registration is open to the public. For more information about the Interfaith Peace Conference, contact 800-222-4930.

Tips on how to better communicate with your church
Communication is essential to the health of a church. But even in this digital age, when communication is supposed to be faster and easier than ever, it can still be a struggle. Check out these ideas to help make sure that all your messages — from the Sunday sermon to event announcements — are being clearly and consistently communicated to everyone in your congregation. More…

Council of Bishops announce campaign for racial justice
ACT Now! United to End Racism campaign will launch April 3, 4 and 5 in Washington, D.C.  The United Methodist Church is joining other churches through the National Council of Churches USA to bring thousands of Christians to the Mall on Capitol Hill on April 4 for a rally and kick-off event.  There will also be a worship service the evening of April 3 and organized visits to legislators on April 5. All United Methodists are encouraged to attend.  This is an issue that effects all churches. So, bring your whole church.  Rent a bus and come together with local Pan-Methodist congregations in your area. Volunteers are now being amassed and more information about this event will be coming soon. Stay connected with the Council of Bishops at

2017: The year in UMNS photos
United Methodist News Service staff traveled the globe last year to cover important events for the church. Take a look at some of the images they shot to sum up the year 2017 in the life of the denomination. 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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