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News from the Virginia Conference - January 8, 2019

2018 Journal now posted to conference website
The 2018 Journal of the Virginia Annual Conference has been posted to the conference website at (or go to and click on Resources>Publications and scroll down to the Journal section). For those who have ordered print copies, the pages are currently at the printer and will be mailed to you as soon as the printing process is finished.

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 reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 22

Virginia General Conference delegation being prayed for this week by Praying Our Way Forward initiative
This week the Virginia delegation to the Called General Conference session is listed by name in The UMC Praying Our Way Forward initiative. Martha Stokes, head of the delegation, has asked the conference to pray for the delegation this week. “Please lift us all in your prayer time. It’s truly a God-thing when you see your name at the top of this list,” Stokes said. More…

Women invited to leadership event in Richmond
All clergy and lay women are invited to a two-day event in Richmond, Virginia, facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Kutz. As more and more women step into significant leadership roles, every woman is encouraged to consider her own unique opportunities to make a difference. Discover what may be holding you back from having your valuable contributions fully embraced. Then with the assistance of a peer partner move from self-awareness to self-management. The event will be Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Location is Bon Air UMC (1645 Buford Road, North Chesterfield, VA 23235). Cost is $75 which includes both dates and two lunches. To register and for more information, contact Kutz at More…

Consider being a 2019 All God’s Children mentor
All God's Children Camp is in full swing and gearing up for the summer! Mentors are needed to join the campers at Camp Chanco on the James, near the Richmond area. Please consider giving a week this summer to mentor a child who is waiting for you! Contact Lori Smith at 571-245-9591 or Dates are June 16-21 and Aug. 11-16. More…

Start your new year right with a plan to study at Wesley Seminary
Is this the year to begin your Doctor of Ministry? New D.Min. in Spirituality and Story and Church Leadership Excellence tracks begin in Spring 2019. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15, 2019 or you can attend the Doctor of Ministry Info Day /Webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. You can also try a course this spring from a wide range of challenging topics in a format that fits with your busy life – days, evenings, weekends, online and hybrid. Choose from courses like:
o    Healthy Stewardship in the Local Church
o    The Gospel of Peace in a World of Violence
o    Beginning Ministry in a New Setting
o    The Black Church to #blm
o    Radical Discipleship: Biography, Theology, and Ministry
o    Theologies of Resistance and Liberation: MLK + Gandhi
View more courses at: At Wesley Seminary you can study part-time over 5 years to gain your M.Div. or access our many scholarships and study full-time! As well there is a new 100% full-degree scholarships for Latinx students now available. If you hear God’s call on your life, contact Wesley Admissions today at or call 202-885-8659. More...

Applications now being accepted for Youth Service Fund
The Youth Service Fund exists to support and encourage initiatives that are created and/or led by youth and aimed at engaging and/or serving youth. Funding for these grants comes from individuals, local churches, districts and conference offerings/fundraisers throughout the year. Check out the conference website for additional information and for the application guidelines. For questions, contact Becky Tate in the Office of Next Generation Ministries at or 804-521-1139. Deadline for all applications to be received is Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, at 5 p.m. via email to beckytate@vaumc.orgONLY COMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED. More…

Virginia Conference Center for Justice and Missional Excellence accepting new and continuing projects for 2019
Applications for new and continuing projects are now being accepted for 2019 Virginia Conference Advance Specials from the Office of Justice and Missional Excellence. The applications are available on the conference website: An Advance Special Guidelines document is available on the same webpage. The Advance Application Forms are due in the Justice and Missional Excellence Office by Feb. 8, 2019. If you have any questions about the process, please contact Cindy Ingroff at or 804-521-1153.

Marriage Enrichment Retreats at Lake Junaluska
We are created for a lifetime of love and intimacy, but relationships can be hard, even for the happiest couples. Distance, frustration and disconnection can enter through any number of life's events. Come to a Christian-based marriage retreat at Lake Junaluska to better understand your partner and learn to cultivate a warmer, more joyful and loving relationship. You will learn things such as: 
•    How to stop rigid negative patterns in communication that lead to frustration and disconnection.
•    How to be more accessible, responsive and engaged in your relationship.
•    How to better understand your partner and help them to understand you.
Pastoral participants earn 1.5 CEUs for participation in this program. This retreat is perfect for pastors who regularly do marriage counseling or anyone who wants to strengthen the bond in their marriage. The cost of the program for two people is $250 and two nights lodging for two people and five meals is $319. Dates for the program are Mar. 10-12, 2019; Aug. 18-20, 2019; or Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2019. More...

Council of Bishops shares letter to global LGBTQ community
At the end of December, the Council of Bishops shared a letter to the global LGBTQ community. "At the fall meeting of the Council of Bishops at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, bishops approved a motion to send a pastoral letter to the Global LGBTQ community. A writing team, composed of a bishop from each central conference and jurisdiction, completed this task, on behalf of the Council." More…

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, Rapphannock River, Arlington, Alexandria)  Location: TBD

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. 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.

Unity struggle is major story of 2018
The struggle to hold The United Methodist Church together despite longstanding division over homosexuality was the denomination's top news story of 2018, as chosen by church communicators and United Methodist News staff. More…

Church helps fight ageism in Zimbabwe
Elderly patients in Zimbabwe are often excluded from receiving the same health care as young people, said the Rev. Farirayi Nyabote. The United Methodist Church is helping fight ageism through new health initiatives that make senior citizens a priority. More…

LGBTQ churchgoers wary of bishops’ letter
At the prompting of some church members, the Council of Bishops published a letter lamenting harm to the global LGBTQ community. A number of LGBTQ United Methodists said the letter falls short. More…

♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly- Jan. 30, 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! Event costs are $40 and registration closes Jan. 11. 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…

♦ Goodson Academy of Preaching - Mar. 27, 2019
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. Online registration is open. For more information, email More…

♦ 2019 Faithful Aging Conference- Apr. 2, 2019
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 later in January 2019. Opportunities are still available for sponsors and exhibitors. For general information, contact Martha Stokes at  or 804-474-8718. 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
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