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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 19, 2017 

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  

Applications due for Calling 21 on Feb. 1
"Calling 21" is a conference-wide, grass roots, congregation-based, youth-focused approach to the Virginia Conference's emerging culture of call. During the summer, college students are placed in church internships for the sumer and are immersed in the life of a local church discerning God's call into church leadership. Trained on the Shenandoah University campus, these students experience a valuable program. The summer time commitment is from orientation beginning on June 4 to a reflection event concluding Aug. 8. Applications are due Feb.1. Applications are found at this link: If you have any questions, please contact the Rev. Allie Rosner Bass, or the Rev. Lindsey M. Baynham,

Disability Awareness Sunday is Feb. 5
According to the Book of Discipline, Disability Awareness Sunday is oberserved annually and the date is determined by each annual conference. The Virginia Annual Conference has designated the first Sunday in February (Feb. 5) as Disability Awareness Sunday. Disability Awareness Sunday calls the Church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community.”   Resources from Heart Havens may be used and adapted to fit your situation. The general conference has also provided resources.   

Opportunity to register your participation in 2017 Bible reading challenge
You can now register if you are joining Bishop Lewis in her challenge to the Virginia Conference to read the Bible in entirety in 2017. The short poll allows you to add your name as well as district and your home church. More… 

Registration open for Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer
Registration is now open for The Bishop’s Convocation 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. More… 

February Advocate shares knitting and crocheting ministries
The ministries of knitting, crocheting and sewing within churches provide tangible works of art, sharing both the love and care of their creators. These ministries are about fellowship as well as providing items of need. Learn more about how these groups from around the conference are creating mission within their handcrafted work.More… 

Virginia Annual Conference COSROW offering listening conversation event
The Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) of the Virginia Annual Conference is holding a time of conversation on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in light of the recent political atmosphere and justice issues relating to women. Everyone is welcome and registration is not a requirement, but helpful for facilitators. The conversation’s facilitators will be the Rev. Erin Geoffrion and Janae House, a private practice clinician in Midlothian. To register, email the Rev. Mary Dadisman at Light refreshments will be served. Location is Chamberlayne Heights UMC, 6100 Chamberlayne Road, Richmond, VA 23227. 

Wespath joins effort on climate concerns 
Wespath Benefits and Investments, the United Methodist pension agency, has joined 13 major global investors representing $2.4 trillion in assets in launching the Transition Pathway Initiative. The initiative will assess how individual companies are positioning themselves for the transition to a low-carbon economy. More… 

Dorothy Height stamp debuts Feb. 1
Dorothy Height, a United Methodist who championed civil rights and women’s rights over a long career, is the subject of a U.S. Postal Service stamp that goes on sale Feb. 1. More… 

Six tips on crowdfunding for churches
The United Methodist Church’s finance agency has published a guide for U.S. churches considering fundraising on crowdfunding sites. The General Council on Finance and Administration’s overall message: User beware. More… 

Unity prayers recall Reformation
The Council of Christian Churches in Germany will host this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated Jan. 18-25 worldwide. As 2017 marks the commemoration of the Reformation, the week of prayer will reflect on the legacy of the Reformation and the current spirit of reconciliation in Christ. More… 

Church offers special-needs worship service
Highland Park United Methodist Church has a 35-minute worship service called The Feast that’s designed for people with autism, Down syndrome and certain special needs. More… 

Lawson: Befriending Ray after King’s death
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, during a trip he made at the urging of the Rev. James M. Lawson. At age 88, the United Methodist Lawson talks about what drove him years later to reach out to James Earl Ray, the man accused of killing his close friend. More… 

♦ 25th Annual United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 2, 2017
The Conference United Methodist Day is Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. It is an avenue of faithful advocacy that helps participants look beyond mercy ministry and join together with elected officials to make a difference and exercise the Social Principles of the UMC. Final registration is Friday, Jan. 29; cost is $35. Registration questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at General questions may be directed to the Rev. Pat Shipley at or to the Rev. Randy Harlow at To register and for more information, follow this link:

♦ 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 

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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