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News from the Virginia Conference - June 4, 2019

Prayer vigil planned for Bishop Lewis
The Board of Discipleship is planning a prayer vigil for Bishop Lewis’ next surgery scheduled June 6 at 3 p.m. It will be a conference wide prayer vigil with individuals and churches sharing a time to pray from 6 p.m. on June 5 through 6 p.m. June 7. The opportunities will be to pray for one hour and a prayer schedule is posted. If you desire a time on the prayer vigil for you and/or your church, please use the SignUpGenius to schedule your time. More than one person and/or church can fill the same time.
All are invited to pray as a conference at 8 a.m. on June 6 and pray the following prayer:
Dear Lord, we know you to be the great physician as we call upon you for healing and restoration of Bishop Sharma Lewis. We pray for a successful surgery, your will be done, for her doctors, nurses and staff. We pray for a quick and successful recovery and healing. We know O Lord, that you alone fill our spirits and that through you all things are possible. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Amen!

The Rev. Joanna Dietz named new Associate Director for Call & Discernment
On June 3, Bishop Pete Weaver and The Center for Clergy Excellence announced the new Associate Director for Call & Discernment will be the Rev. Joanna Dietz. Ordained a deacon in 2010, Dietz most recently served as Minister of Mission and Service at Braddock Street UMC, Winchester District, where she was actively involved in bridge building between the church and the community. More…

Bishop Weaver responds to Virginia Beach shooting
On June 1, Bishop Weaver shared a letter asking for prayer and for action in light of the shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31 that left a number injured and 12 dead. More…

Volunteers still needed for Annual Conference 2019
Volunteers are still needed for Annual Conference 2019 from June 20-22 in Roanoke.  Ushers are especially needed for:
Friday, June 21 from 9 a.m. - Noon (which includes 11 a.m. worship)
Friday, June 21 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. (which includes the Ordination service)
Saturday, June 22 from 8 a.m. - Noon (which includes Communion/Worship at 11 a.m.)

Help is also needed with set up, Registration, UMCOR Kits, 5K Walk/Run/Bike (on Saturday at 6:15 a.m.), and Cans for Conference. you can sign up online or by calling the Roanoke District at 540-989-3335. More…

Virginia attendees of UMCNext share thoughts following gathering
More than 600 U.S. United Methodists spent three days grappling with possible options for forging what they hope will be a more just and inclusive church future. What united those at UMCNext, which met May 20-22 behind closed doors at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., was their opposition to the Traditional Plan. Read more of this article from UMNews with additional Virginia quotes inserted by Virginia Conference news associate Forrest White.

The Rev. John Peters announces his retirement as AEI executive director
The Rev. John Peters, executive director of the Association of Educational Institutions (AEI), has announced his retirement from that position effective June 30, 2019. Peters has served in this role for six years, relating to the six United Methodist-related schools in the Virginia Conference: Ferrum College, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Randolph-Macon Academy, Shenandoah University, and Virginia Wesleyan University. More…

AC 2019: Learn more about motions, opportunity to meet GC nominees at Laity Session
At this year’s annual conference, the Rules Committee is recommending a new paragraph II.D.4 to the Standing Rules for the purpose of defining motions and proposals after the 2018 Virginia Annual Conference approved a recommendation from Common Table for Church Vitality that resolutions no longer be part of the annual conference business. There will be a time to “meet the nominees” during the Laity Session on Thursday, June 20, 2019 beginning at 10 a.m. For all information concerning Annual Conference 2019, visit

Clergy encouraged to take directory picture at Annual Conference 2019
Remember Church Directories will be at Annual Conference again this year and ALL clergy are encouraged to take a couple minutes to have your picture taken in the Display Area. Remember Church Directories will begin taking pictures Wednesday evening during registration hours (4-8 p.m.) so feel free to register and then go to the Display Area to have your picture taken. Or check with them throughout conference if you can’t find time Wednesday. Those who drop by to do so can enter into a raffle to win a 40’’ HDTV or assorted gift cards.

Virginia Wesleyan Honored Nationally as a 'College of Distinction'
Virginia Wesleyan University has again received national recognition for the integrity of its individualized and engaging education. As an institution whose primary goals are based on student success and satisfaction, the University has been honored among the 2019-2020 Colleges of Distinction.This award is unique among popular college guide classifications, which typically rank schools on the basis of endowment and selectivity. Virginia Wesleyan instead earned its recognition for the excellence exhibited in the classroom, incorporating High-Impact Practices throughout every student’s undergraduate education. Such student-centered programs include first-year seminars, community-based learning programs, service-learning programs, alternative spring breaks, diversity and global learning programs, interdisciplinary programs, undergraduate research, living-learning communities, capstone projects, study away programs, and internships. More…

CEU offered to clergy taking August Lay Servant Academy course
One CEU has been approved for those clergy taking a 10-hour course at the 40th Anniversary Lay Servant Academy at Randolph-Macon College August 2-4, 2019.  These courses are scheduled Friday night and all day Saturday or all day Saturday and Sunday morning.  For detailed course descriptions and/or to register, please go to and click on the Lay Servant Academy link on the conference calendar for August 2019.  For questions, contact David Bailey, Registrar,  at or 804-338-3168.

Advocate editor looking for submissions related to Advocate magazine memories
Do you have memories of the Advocate magazine? After almost 200 years, the print and online publication will come to an end in 2019. In upcoming issues and on the conference website, memories from around the conference will be shared. Email Madeline Pillow at or mail to the conference office: ATTN: Madeline Pillow, P.O Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058.


Two US conferences ordain, commission LGBTQ clergy
Three LGBTQ clergy were ordained or commissioned as United Methodist deacons by the Northern Illinois Conference, and the Baltimore-Washington Conference ordained an LGBTQ elder and commissioned a gay provisional deacon. The ordination and commissioning services were held during the June 2-4 Northern Illinois Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois, and the May 29-June 1 Baltimore-Washington Conference in Baltimore.  More…

Outreach ministry for addiction is simple, effective
Wayne Worth said he’s never been afraid of people. “I’m afraid of dogs, though. They bite.” Worth, a member of United Methodist Temple in Clarksburg, has plenty of opportunity to encounter both in his ministry. Concerned by the opioid epidemic rampant in his home state, he goes door to door in neighborhoods throughout West Virginia passing out flyers containing information about local resources for anyone struggling with addiction. “This is a great opportunity for any church in our state, a simple ministry outreach,” he said. “It’s a great way to be a reflection of Christ in the world.” The ministry began three years ago after three people in Clarksburg died from overdose in a single weekend. More...

Council of Bishops unveils new website
The Council of Bishops (COB) announced in a press release on June 3 the unveiling of their new website. The site will be dedicated to issues and business of the 120-plus leaders, who give oversight to the denomination, and contains the biographical information of the active and retired bishops; latest news regarding the COB; information about annual conference dates; and detailed information about the ecumenical work that the COB and its staff undertake on behalf of the church. More…


Virginia Annual Conference - Jun. 20-22
The Virginia Annual Conference will be held in Roanoke, Va. in the Berglund Center from Jun. 20-22. More information is available at

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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