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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 5, 2017 

Bishops’ Foundation creates booklet honoring bishops
The Bishops’ Foundation was created by action of the Virginia Annual Conference in 2011 to provide training for leadership development of both laypersons and clergypersons in the areas of evangelism and preaching in the Wesleyan spirit. The Foundation has recently created a booklet providing information on bishops honored by the Foundation. More… 

Bishop Lewis challenges conference to 2017 Bible reading
Bishop Lewis is challenging the Virginia Conference in 2017 to read the Bible in entirety with her. Details about the challenge can be found in the January 2017 Advocate issue as well as on the website.  

Faithful Aging Conference set for March
Faithful Aging 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. Details and registration information will be available later this month about the event. 

Virginia Conference retired elder honored by Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy 
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy honored two individuals and two faith communities for many years of faithful service to the Commonwealth on Dec 15, 2016. The recipient of Citizen of the Year was former interim director of the center and retired Virginia Conference elder the Rev. Charles Swadley. The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is the oldest interfaith organization in the Commonwealth, advocating for Virginia’s poor and disadvantaged since 1982. More… 

Lay Servant Academy to be held March 31- April 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. Register for the Academy on the website. Registration questions may be directed to Sandy Kelley at and other questions to Beth Christian at For more information about Lay Servant Ministries, contact your district lay servant director

Pillow named Virginia Conference Director of Communications
Madeline Pillow, who currently serves as editor of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, has officially been named Virginia Conference Communications director as of Jan. 1, 2017. More…

Bishops invite Church to ‘pray our way forward’ 
United Methodist bishops launched a new phase of the “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative on Jan. 1. The effort began in the North Carolina Conference and will wrap up in the West Angola Episcopal Area in June 2018. "The aim of 'Praying Our Way Forward' is to ask and listen for God’s leadership at this critical time in the life of our church,” said retired Bishop Al Gwinn. More… 

Two bishops rule on ordination questions
Two bishops ruled on the role of conference boards of ordained ministry in determining whether clergy candidates meet the denominational standards related to marriage and homosexuality. More… 

Interim director and associate director of Lake Junaluska Singers announced 
Lake Junaluska has announced new leadership of the Lake Junaluska Singers, a choral group that has been a part of Lake Junaluska’s history for more than 60 years. Mary Wannamaker Huff began as the interim director of the Lake Junaluska Singers on Jan. 1, 2017.  As Huff assumes her duties as interim director, Kathy McNeil joins her as the associate director of the Lake Junaluska Singers. The Lake Junaluska Singers were formed in 1954, and their legacy includes national and international performances for conferences, dignitaries and major events. Their music ranges from classical choral and contemporary works to gospel, folk, traditional hymns, and musical theater styles. More… 

Scholarships available for 2017 Wesley Pilgrimage 
Registration is underway for the 2017 Wesley Pilgrimage to England for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders, and the deadline to apply for 25 available scholarships is Jan 15. During the 10-day journey, scheduled for July 10-20, pilgrims will learn, pray and explore places where John and Charles Wesley lived. More… 

Learning when to end a church ministry 
Every ministry has a lifespan, according to pastor and author Graham Standish. When a church forces dying ministries to stay alive, it prevents new ministries from being resurrected from the death of the old.  More… 

Free from Ground Zero dust, organ shines anew
An organ from Trinity Church in New York, just three blocks from Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001, has been refitted and restored for Johns Creek United Methodist Church. A community concert is planned Jan. 29. More… 

♦ 25th Anniversary of UM Day at General Assembly Celebration - Jan. 14, 2017
The Conference Legislative Committee is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration of United Methodist Day at General Assembly, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at Centenary UMC, 411 E. Grace Street, Richmond, Va. The event will start with registration at 11 a.m., lunch at noon followed by a program at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is necessary and child care will be available. Cost for the day is $15 or $35 for both this event and UM Day in February if you register by Jan. 6. Follow this link to register:

♦ 25th UMVIM Recertification, Arlington District- Jan. 21, 2017
The Conference Team Leader Recertification is required for all United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team leaders who completed basic team leader training five years ago or longer. The focus of the training is to update leaders on the Virginia Conference UMVIM policies and guidelines, to share practices and to answer any questions you may have. Location will be at Galilee UMC, 45425 Winding Road, Sterling, VA 20165 from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Register on the website. Cost for the event is $25. For more information, email Forrest White at

♦ 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. Early bird registration and payment of $25 per person must be received by Friday, Jan. 15. Final registration will be Friday, Jan. 29 and will cost $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:

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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