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News from the Virginia Conference - January 1, 2019

Plan for Bishop Lewis' “Chat and Chews 3.0”
Bishop Lewis will be holding her Chat and Chew sessions around the conference with clergy and laity once again in 2019. This year there will be four regional dates. More information will be forthcoming. Information so far is listed below:

           •    Saturday, March 23, 2019: Western Group (Charlottesville,Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester)  Location: St. Paul's UMC in Staunton

           •    Saturday, April 6, 2019: Southwestern Group (Roanoke, Lynchburg, Farmville, Danville)  Location: TBD

           •    Saturday, April 13, 2019: Eastern Group (Eastern Shore, Elizabeth River, James River York River)  Location: TBD

           •    Saturday, May 18, 2019: Northern Group (Richmond, RR, Arlington, Alexandria)  Location: TBD

Notice: Conference office holiday observance
Conference offices in the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will be closed all day Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day. Offices will re-open on Tuesday, Jan. 22

Save the date for 2019 Faithful Aging Conference
The third Faithful Aging Conference, presented by the University of Lynchburg Beard Center on Aging and Pinnacle Living, will be held Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2019. Persons of all faith traditions are invited to come learn, network and share best ministry practices as opportunities related to aging congregations and meeting the needs of older adults, inside and outside the walls of our faith communities are addressed. Melissa Andrews, Chief Executive Office of LeadingAge Virginia, will offer the keynote address on the theme of Aging Abundantly. Workshop offerings will include:
    -    Effective communication across the stages of dementia
    -    Things everyone needs to know when making hospital and end-of-life visits
    -    Health equity and the needs of older adults
    -    Using music to deepen spirituality
    -    Scams and financial exploitation
    -    Practical ways to enhance ministries with people with dementia
    -    Dealing with loss and grief
The conference will be held at Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, VA. Conference details and registration information will be available in January 2019. Opportunities are still available for sponsors and exhibitors. For general information, contact Martha Stokes at  or 804-474-8718. More...

Mark calendar for March for Goodson Academy of Preaching
The Goodson Academy of Preaching urges you to save Mar. 27-28 for “Preaching as storytelling.” Guest presenter will be Donald Davis, a retired United Methodist elder and well-known as one of the nation's leading storytellers. The event will be held at Trinity UMC in Henrico and online registration will open early in January 2019. For more information, email More…

Local Richmond church to hold MLK day of service
Westhampton UMC in Richmond is inviting all to join them for a "Faith In Action" worship at 9:30 a.m. and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 21, 2018.  There will be service opportunities for all ages! More…

Upcoming schedule for e-Advocate
The e-Advocate will now be shared on Tuesdays each week. The newsletter is posted to the website each week, shared with all clergy and LaityNet as well as through conference social media.

2019 Bible Reading Challenge released
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared that her 2019 Bible Reading Challenge will be read in a blended style with readings from the Old and New Testament each day.  Information about the challenge and monthly readings are on the conference website. More…

Pose questions to General Conference 2019 delegation
A reminder that you can share your thoughts, prayers and questions with members of the Virginia delegation to General Conference 2019. All information about the upcoming denominational gathering and ways to contact the delegation can be found on the conference website. More…

Watch conference center chapel services each Wednesday    
The conference Communications office has started showing the sermons of the chapel services held each Wednesday on Facebook Live at the Virginia United Methodist Center located in Glen Allen. Coverage will start back on Jan. 2. Tune in by going to the conference Facebook page. More…

Learn more about Convergence summer program for high school students
Convergence: Where Faith and Science Meet is a nine-day program (June 22-30, 2019) that allows current 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students to come to Randolph-Macon’s campus in Ashland, Va., and learn about the intersection of science and Christian faith. They will dive deeper into their religious beliefs, deeper into the study of science, and will meet other high school students and Randolph-Macon College student leaders with those same interests. There will be time in the classroom and outdoor experiences throughout the region. The cost to participate is only $250. Upon high school graduation, if a Convergence participant chooses to attend Randolph-Macon, they will receive a $1,000 annual scholarship for each year they participated in Convergence.  If you would like to nominate a participant, you can fill out the nomination form, and the Convergence staff will contact your nominee with further information. The application form for participants is available. Please contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes or Laura Ruxton  at with any questions about the program. More...

Learn more about Shenandoah University’s summer institute for high school students
Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute (SUYTI) is a 14-day institute (July 14-27, 2019) where high school students explore the exciting intersection of faith and justice. Upon completion of the institute, and a self-identified justice project in their local context, students receive three credits from Shenandoah University. At SUYTI students spend one week at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. and one week at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Each day includes worship, class time with world class professors, compelling afternoon immersive experiences and mentoring from undergraduate and seminary students. The cost for students in 2019 is only $200. SUYTI is open to current 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. If you would like to nominate a student, you can fill out a nomination form. You can find the 2019 student application and more information on the website at  For more information, please contact the Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger ( 540-665-5453.

2018: Remembering influential Christians
United Methodists in 2018 marked the passing of multiple trailblazing women, a Holocaust survivor, a world-changing evangelist and a Bible popularizer. Here are 17 remembrances, listed in order of date of death. More…

Korean United Methodists and bishops struggle to find a way forward
United Methodist bishops and Korean United Methodist leaders in the U.S. met to discuss a way forward through the denomination’s debate over homosexuality. Many in the Korean Caucus specifically raised concerns about the One Church Plan, one of the proposals heading to the special General Conference on Feb. 23-26.“If the One Church Plan passes, KUMC would have difficulty in accepting an LGBT bishop assigned to the Korean UMCs due to its cultural and moral traditions,” said the Rev. Paul Chang, executive director of the denomination’s Korean Ministry Plan. “The new definition of marriage also would be something KUMC would be struggling with in the future, too.” More…

Delegation chairs look toward General Conference
The Rev. Judy Zabel has had her ears bent this fall, listening to fellow United Methodists talk about the upcoming special called session of General Conference. As chair of the Minnesota Conference delegation, she’s been all over the state attending open meetings where people could offer opinions or ask questions about legislative plans to address The United Methodist Church’s long, schism-threatening conflict over homosexuality. Lots of impressions linger from her many conversations. But one theme resounded. “People want a decision to be made,” said Zabel. “They’ll be most disappointed, I think, if nothing happens.” More…

Christmas story crosses all borders  
The sound of children’s laughter flowed out over the neighborhood as a migrant shelter opened its door for a Christmas party. Border walls that keep two nations apart could not contain the spirit of Christmas that flowed freely at La Posada Sin Fronteras on the U.S.-Mexico border. More…


♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly- Jan. 31, 2019
Now that the election is over. . . Would you like to continue to make an impact in having your voice heard? Then register today for United Methodist Day at the General Assembly! Register by December 28 and pay $30 early registration. After December 28, pay $40 until January 11 when registration closes. Hotel reservations can be made for January 30 at the Hyatt Place, 201 Arboretum Place, Richmond, 23236, near Bon Air UMC. Call 804-560-1566 to make your reservation and mention “Virginia United Methodist Conference” to receive a special room rate of $109/night (single or double). Hotel reservation deadline is Dec. 31, 2018. Contact the Rev. Barbara Lewis, registrar, with questions at More…

♦ Clergy Spouses Retreat- Mar. 8-9, 2019
Are you anticipating some kind of major transition in 2019? Maybe a new appointment or the results of February's denominational vote? This session is designed exclusively for you – the clergy spouse! Retreat on Mar. 8-9, 2019 will include small group discussions and time to connect with other clergy spouses. Theme is "Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses" by Julie Anderman of Artos Retreats. Anderman, a clergy spouse in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference for 20 years, co-founded Artos Retreats two years ago out of a calling to improve the well-being of clergy spouses through connection and learning. Before starting Artos, Anderman provided independent instructional design and communications consulting for over 20 years. She has facilitated small group learning in both corporate and church environments for 25 years. Location will be Blessings Lodge at Camp Overlook, near Harrisonburg. Cost is $100 with accommodations and meals. Registration is available. Contact Judy Hall at 804-264-0524 with any questions. 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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