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News from the Virginia Conference - June 8, 2017

Annual Conference 2017 information available online
Have questions about Annual Conference? View information on the conference website to see the most up-to-date information. More…

Urgent need for mentors at All God's Children Camp
There is an urgent need of 6-8 male mentors for All God's Children Camp at Camp Chanco on the James, June 18-25. Please contact Lori Smith, director, at or 571-245-9591 for more information.

AC 2017 discussion about Commission on the Way Forward, called General Conference
The Rev. Tom Berlin, a Virginia Conference elder who is serving on the Commission on a Way Forward, will provide a report on the work of the Commission on June 16, in Ballroom B of the Hampton Roads Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. His report will include what to anticipate as we move toward the called General Conference in 2019. Tom will discuss why marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons is such an important and challenging matter in the life of the UMC. He will provide ways for pastors and laity to begin to prepare for the General Conference in their churches. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and consider the work of the Commission. This discussion will not be livestreamed. Berlin will be giving a 20-minute presentation during the Saturday afternoon session, Jun. 17, that will be livestreamed and recorded.

Transgender person commissioned as deacon
The Northern Illinois Conference on June 4 commissioned an openly transgender individual as a provisional deacon. The Rev. M Barclay is believed to be the first openly “non-binary trans person” to become a United Methodist deacon. More…

Commentary: Pet peeves of a church visitor
Churches need their most positive and smiling personalities on their front lines. Greg Atkinson, a church consultant, offers tips on where churches too often fall short in making visitors feel welcome. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership shared his commentary. More…

Spiritual pilgrimage to Wesley's grave
A trek on foot this summer by the Rev. Jörg Niederer, a United Methodist pastor, will take him from his home in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, to the gravesite of John Wesley, located behind Wesley’s Chapel in London. More...


♦ United Methodist Men's Spiritual Advance- Jun. 9-11, 2017
Register now for United Methodist men's Spiritual Advance. For more information, contact Andrew Kissell, president, at or 757-839-0790. It will be held at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. More...

♦ Olde Time Revival- Jul. 9, 2017
Olde Time Revival, hosted by the Virginia Conference Older Adult Council, will feature dynamic preaching from Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and worship led by Michael Berkley, associate director of music at Woodlake UMC. The event will be hedl Sunday, Jul. 9 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Verona UMC in Verona. Pre-register or get more information by calling 540-248-7777.

♦ Mission Encounter- Jul. 28-29, 2017
Mission Encounter is a cooperative event sponsored by the Virginia Conference Missional Ministries Board and the Virginia Conference United Methodist Women. This event offers a wonderful opportunity for your whole congregation to come alive to mission, by participating in an weekend mision education experience. There are classes for men, women, clergy and laity alike. This year from Jul. 28-29, the classes offered will be climate justice, living as a covenant community and the missionary conference of The UMC in the United States (Red Bird, Oklahoma and Alaska). Contact Gail Sutcliffe with questions at 703-490-3381. Event will be held at Bon Air UMC in Chesterfield. More... 

♦ 5 Talent Academy- Oct. 19, 2017
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Oct. 19 event, "How to Structure your Church for Evangelism" with Jacob Armstrong. Armstrong will lead the event in exploring key principles for evangelism in local church including crafting a vision that fits your mission field, rethinking worship and leadership development and structure. The event will be streamed to locations across the conference. Gather a team from your church to take part. Early bird pricing as well as team discounts are available. Visit link for more information and to register. 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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