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News from the Virginia Conference - March 15, 2018

Register for United Methodist Women’s “The Power of Bold” Assembly
When women UNITE, bold and courageous actions happen!  “The Power of Bold” Assembly from May 18-20, 2018 in Columbus, OH will include a line-up of bold and courageous women leaders including Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, resident bishop of the Richmond Episcopal Area, and 10 other female bishops in attendance. This Assembly is a must attend event for women leaders to stay connected. At this important gathering for women you will be inspired by deep spiritual experiences on The Journey of Mary each and every day. You will also be inspired by dynamic women speakers who are justice experts like Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow. You will learn to mobilize at a public rally, workshops, Town Hall meetings and presentations by Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia. You will leave with action plans for your local churches and communities. United Methodist Women (UMW) will also celebrate focusing on women, children and youth for 150 years at this event. Continuing Education Credits are available for professional women seeking company support to attend. Registration closes April 9. More…

Prayer Vigil for the 2019 Called General Conference Session
A cluster of congregations in the Shenandoah Valley have agreed to join together to pray for the 2019 Called General Conference Session from February 22 to February 26, 2019. These congregations are asking for your help by becoming their prayer partners during the time of this conference.  There are a couple of ways that congregations can participate: having a prayer service as can be found in the United Methodist Hymnal or Book of Common Prayer and/or by holding a prayer vigil for a day or a set number of hours in the church with space for people to have free prayer. Additional prayer resources will be provided in the days ahead. For more information, contact the Rev. Jonathan Jennings Lamb, pastor at Shenandoah Charge (Christ & Fields United Methodist Churches), by 540-218-4233 (office), 540-742-1535 (cell) or

Upper New York Conference recruiting conference treasurer
The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church is currently recruiting for the position of Conference Treasurer and Director of Administration. The deadline for receiving applications is Wednesday, April 4, 2018. If interested, email resume and cover letter to Human Resources via email at  If you have any questions about the open position, please contact Tricia Baker, Director of Human Resources, at 615-369-2326. More…

Event shares strategies to help young people discover, love your church
It's not news to you that most churches have been steadily "growing old." While the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains as relevant as ever, we have struggled to capture the hearts of young people in our communities. But what if there are ways we could help our churches grow young once again? And what if the answer has nothing to do with church size, money, or being "cool?" On April 21, 2018, the Virginia Conference Next Gen Ministries, in partnership with the Fuller Youth Institute, will host Jake Mulder, co-author of Growing Young - Six essential strategies to help young people discover and love your church. Price is just $35 until March 25. Price will increase to $45 after March 25, so register today!

The foolishness of God: When Easter falls on April Fool’s Day
Easter hasn’t fallen on April Fool’s Day in 62 years. While the combination is a bit unusual, creativity, fun and a little humor can help you embrace both holidays in your church this year. The Rev. Jerry Herships said, “Every Easter really is April Fool’s Day. For three days, the whole world, all of humanity, thought that hope and love were dead. But God came back to say, ‘Surprise!’” More…

Conference Immigration Summit to be held May 19
Bishop Lewis formed the Virginia Conference Committee on Immigration Outreach in 2017 to help the conference communicate the Gospel as it relates to immigrants and refugees. The committee also seeks to help the conference understand issues related to immigrants and refugees and how to advocate for them.  In partnership with the General Board of Church and Society, Just Neighbors and the Southeastern Jurisdiction Hispanic Caucus, the committee is sponsoring an Immigration Summit at Ramsey Memorial UMC in Richmond on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to educate and empower those who want to be in ministry to immigrants and refugees.  Attendance to the summit is free of charge, and a boxed lunch can be purchased at the time of registration. Registration is now available on the conference website at and go to Conference Calendar. More…

Kits for Annual Conference 2018
As your church begins preparation for collecting items for kits, there is currently an appeal from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for Hygiene, School, and Cleaning Kits only. Click here for the complete list of items and instructions on packing each kit. Collection times at Annual Conference will be from Thursday, June 14 from noon to 8 p.m. and on Friday, June 15 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For questions, contact the Kit Collection Coordinator, the Rev. David Magruder at Zion UMC in Seaford (York River District) at (757) 898-7417 or Money for the kits should be sent to Conference Treasurer, Virginia Conference UMC, PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Checks should be made payable to Virginia Conference UMC.

Registration now open for 2018 Faithful Aging Conference
The Faithful Aging Conference attempts to address opportunities related to an aging congregation and meeting the needs of older members, inside and outside the walls of our faith communities. Presented by the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College and Pinnacle Living, the conference will be held this year at Williamsburg United Methodist Church on Tuesday, April 24. The conference is supported by a range of sponsors including the Virginia Conference Older Adult Council. A request for .5 CEU for clergy and certified professionals has been submitted to the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries. The registration deadline is April 6, 2018. Cost is $40/individual which includes lunch, refreshment breaks, and all conference materials. Adults 65+ can register for $30/person. Groups of 3 or more individuals from the same church or organization can register for $25/person. Limited scholarship funds, sponsored by Pinnacle Living, are available for Virginia Conference United Methodist Church congregational teams. For more information about the scholarship assistance, contact Martha Stokes at Register online at this link

Bishop Ough, thousands of United Methodists to join in rally against racism
As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., United Methodists will unite with members of the National Council of Churches in Washington, D.C., April 3-5, for the Truth and Racial Justice Initiative.The events begin with a briefing on alleviating racism and injustice in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, the media, health care, voting, civil and human rights, environmental justice, education and immigration. Led by the General Board of Church and Society, the briefing will be held April 3, from 1 to 2 p.m., at the United Methodist Building at 100 Maryland Ave., NE, in Washington, D.C. A Rally to End Racism will be held April 4 on the National Mall. The day begins with a silent prayer walk from the MLK Memorial to the Mall at 7 a.m. An interfaith worship service is on the Mall at 8 a.m. and the rally and call to commitment will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More…

Moving Beyond Church in A Box
Pastor Carey Nieuwhof says congregations need to break free of the mentality that people need to come to church at a set time and place to be in relationship with Christ. Churches need to innovate and keep experimenting to reach people, for example, through digital outreach, remote locations, and pop-up churches. More…

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Race and Reconciliation- Apr. 14, 2018 
Bishop Lewis has called a Convocation on Race and Reconciliation on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Annandale UMC. Lunch will be served. The convocation will empower participants to become lifelong learning disciples who will be able to conduct the difficult conversations we all need to have related to issues of racial division, justice, and God’s call to ministries of reconciliation and peace. Keynote speaker will be Romal Tune. Register and learn more at the link.

♦ Ministers' Convocation- Apr. 23-25, 2018 
This spring, The Center for Clergy Excellence invites you for a time of Sabbath retreat, learning and fellowship together as ministry leaders at Ministers’ Convocation – Apr. 23-25, 2018. Come be engaged in theological and academic conversation while experiencing rejuvenation for ministry. Theme is “The Paradox of Perfection: Our Wesleyan Heritage” with an emphasis on Christian Perfection. Dr. Rex Matthews, professor in the Practice of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Candler School of Theology will be teacher for the event. Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and the Rev. William Lamar, pastor of Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., will lead in worship. For event details and to register visit: Worship, keynote and workshop sessions, lodging and meals will be held at Virginia Crossings Conference Center in Glen Allen. You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. The deadline for in-residence registration is Monday, Apr. 2, 2018. All clergy, diaconal ministers, and professional/paraprofessional certified ministers in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church are invited.

♦ Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation- Oct. 14-19, 2018 
Registration is now open for the 2018 Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation to be held Oct. 14-19, 2018 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond. Sponsored by the Virginia Conference in cooperation with The Upper Room, this retreat is open to clergy and laity who are seeking to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, learning, and worship.This year, faculty leaders will be Dr. Luther Smith, professor emeritus at Candler School of Theology; and Dr. Amy Oden, professor at St. Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University. Registration at link. 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



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