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News from the Virginia Conference - June 29, 2017

Conference offices to close at 1 p.m. on summer Fridays
Virginia Conference offices in the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. on Fridays between Annual Conference and Labor Day as they have done in the past. The summer schedule will conclude on Friday, Sept. 1. Conference offices will be closed Monday, July 3, and remain closed Tuesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

Watch Annual Conference live stream archives
Live streaming of the 2017 Virginia Annual Conference is archived and can still be viewed by going to the LiveStream website, The live streaming shows all sessions of the three-day conference, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, June 16, with the opening plenary session and concluding with worship and fixing of appointments Sunday morning, June 18. The live stream at Annual Conference was affected by Internet issues, which were not encountered in the days leading up to conference. Adjustments were made once the problem surfaced and ultimately the convention center’s Internet connection and wireless had to be taken over for live streaming to continue. Live stream footage prior to noon on Saturday, June 17 had to be recovered and,in this process, the Laity Session on Friday, June 16 was not able to be recovered.

Commission on a Way Forward presentation available
The Rev. Tom Berlin’s presentation from 2017 Annual Conference on the Commission on a Way Forward as well as his “Sugar packet” presentation and his recommended reading are available on the conference website. View under heading “Commission on a Way Forward-Reports from Tom Berlin.” More…

Tuck, Morris, Kent receive Denman Awards
The Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and The Foundation for Evangelism presented The 2017 Harry Denman Evangelism Award to Rev. Reggie Tuck, Messiah UMC, Alexandria District;  Johnnie Morris, Journey UMC, Farmville District; and  Nicole Kent, Cunningham UMC, Charlottesville District, during Virginia Annual Conference 2017. 

$118,000.00 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $118,000 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering, nearly $82,000 shy of the goal of $200,000. The offering was designated as follows: $50,000 Cambodia - For continued support for our partnership with the Methodist Mission in Cambodia as they move toward being an autonomous Methodist Church; $25,000 Brazil – For our continued long-term support of the Shade and Fresh Water ministry with at-risk children across several conferences in the Methodist Church of Brazil; $25,000 Mozambique – Our partnership with the United Methodist Church of Mozambique focuses on education by providing lay training resources that strengthens their discipleship and witness across both conferences in Mozambique; $50,000 Virginia Long- Term Disaster Recovery – We are committed to a long term response to those whose lives were changed by tornadoes and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The funding of the recovery will allow further teams to answer the call to make a compassionate response; $25,000 Ethnic Minority Missional Ministries – Funds for grants to go toward developing ministry outreach in the conference to immigrants and other marginalized groups; $25,000 Virginia Volunteers in Mission – To provide funds available to small membership faith communities who wish to engage in mission. Contributions may still be sent to the Conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Annual Conference Offering” on your check or at the bottom of your apportionment statement. If the check is from a church, indicate the church GCFA number on the check. More...

47,012 disaster relief kits contributed to UMCOR
Virginia Annual Conference members brought 47,012 disaster relief kits for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to Annual Conference. The kits included 26,599 Health Kits; 12,987 School Kits; 4,479 Birthing Kits; 1,397 Layette Kits; 366 Cleaning Kits; 390 Bedding Kits; and 540 Sewing Kits.

7,025 pounds of food donated to '4 Cans 4 Conference'
Clergy and lay members of Annual Conference contributed 7,025 pounds of canned goods and boxed dry foods in addition to directing 5,090 pounds of produce to the Peninsula Food Bank from the Potato Drop according to the Rev. Jim Earley, "4 Cans for Conference" coordinator. According to Maria Quigley, Peninsula Food Bank, the 12,115 pounds of food plus $24 in cash translates into more than 10,000 meals that will be provided to those in nutritional jeopardy in the lower Peninsula area.

Annual Conference by the numbers
During the 2017 Virginia Annual Conference session, 15 were ordained as elders, one was ordained deacon, 15 commissioned as provisional members, one recognition as associate member and 40 licensed as local pastors. Fifty clergy retired this year. Members approved a 2018 budget of $31,800,000, a reduction of $200,000 from the 2016 budget. As of the end of 2016, conference membership stood at 325,099, down 1,095 from the previous year. Average worship attendance stood at 98,938, up 685 from the end of 2015.

IGC seeking new director
Dr. Larry Ousley, will complete his tenure as the Executive Director of the Intentional Growth Center (IGC), Lake Junaluska, N.C., on Dec. 31, 2017. The new Executive Director will begin Jan. 1, 2018. A search for this position is underway guided by the IGC Director Search Committee.
IGC is an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. IGC wants to continue its rich service to the UMC by continuing to accomplish its mission of “increasing pastoral and congregational effectiveness.” Persons interested in information about applying to be the next IGC executive director, are invited to send an email and their resume to Dr. Dana Everhart, Board Chair and Chair of Search Committee, to

Commission on a Way Forward meet in Chicago next month
The Commission on a Way Forward will convene in Chicago July 19-21 to continue its work concerning human sexuality and exploring options for the future of The United Methodist Church on the issue. This will be the fourth meeting of the 32-member Commission, which was appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the bishops in discerning a way forward. After the last meeting in April in Washington, D.C., members indicated that were leaning toward a simpler structure with clearer processes for decision-making and accountability for the UMC in its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Conversations at that meeting showed a commitment to finding a way forward that honors the complexity of the global denomination and the unity of a shared faith in Christ. Since that time, the Commission members have received input from several advocacy and renewal groups who have strong interest in the outcome and from general boards and agencies of the church. Members of the commission have also received survey results from constituents such as large-church pastors and seminary students. More…

5 creative ways your church can celebrate Independence Day
For most in the United States, Independence Day is a day of fireworks, picnics and fun. How can your church help applaud the birth of our great nation while keeping Christ the center of your celebration? More…

What is meant by the term 'image of God'?
Genesis 1:27 says that humans are created in the image of God, but what exactly does that mean? InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, looks to Scripture and the writings of John Wesley for the answer in the latest installment of Ask the UMC. More…

Still in 'Deep Denial' on race
As a young person living in the South during the 1950s and 1960s, the Rev. David Billings saw the Methodist Church as a way out of the rigid segregation of the time. He has written a book about his experiences and learnings as an anti-racism trainer, Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in U.S. History and Life, that he hopes will spur others to action. 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. Calvary UMC will be providing a bus for interested parties from Richmond and back at 12:30 p.m. on Jul. 9. Forty people need to commit and pay $25 each. If interested, contact the church at 804-222-2891 or email Pastor Bob at

♦ 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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