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News from the Virginia Conference - Mar. 16, 2017

Register now for Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer
Both clergy and laity are invited to attend Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer on Saturday, Apr. 1, 2017, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Henrico, VA 23229 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Rev. Juanita Campbell Rasmus will be the plenary speaker. The event will feature a plenary session followed by two workshop sessions, lunch and a worship service. Click the link to view the schedule, register and to view workshops. Deadline to register is Mar. 27 and the cost is $10 which includes lunch. More… 

VUMAC contents being sold at auction
In May 2016, the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) ceased its ministry after a fire destroyed the boiler. The property, according to the conference treasurer’s office, is currently under contract to be sold and all of the contents in the facility will be auctioned off on Saturday, March 25 starting at 9 a.m. Members of the conference are invited to attend and the conference treasurer’s office will be providing concessions. A portion of these profits will be given to Virginia disaster relief fund, Extension Ministers Annual Conference Support Fund as well as other United Methodist funds. More… 

April issue of Advocate shares church hospitality 
The April issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will share how churches from around the conference show hospitality to visitors and make it part of their internal culture. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate—print, digital or both—call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; email; or go to

UMCOR Sunday on Mar. 26
UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) is a special offering taken across the United Methodist connection on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It empowers the United Methodist Committee on Relief to assist people impacted by crisis or chronic need around the world. The Virginia Conference is engaged in disaster recovery ministry in areas impacted by the Feb. 2016 tornado outbreak and by Oct. 2016 flooding from Hurricane Matthew; therefore, it's important to make this distinction: contributions made to UMCOR as part of UMCOR Sunday are only used to cover the administrative costs of UMCOR and are NOT used for direct disaster services to disaster survivors.

Financial gifts by persons within the Virginia Conference to UMCOR by donation to the UMCOR Disaster Relief Fund do not automatically return to our conference to fund our disaster recovery. To receive any funding from UMCOR, we must go through an extensive grant process. Also, please know that the Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery ministry does not receive funding through apportionments, another common misconception around the conference. The United Methodist Church is the only faith-based organization actively involved in disaster recovery around Virginia. We continue to need your support through prayers, donations, and work teams.To make a donation to support the Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery, please make a check payable to Virginia United Methodist Conference with Advance #5037 in the memo line and mail to: Virginia Conference Treasurer, PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA, 23058.To schedule a work team, contact Forrest White, Long Term Recovery Manager for the conference, via email at

UM Communications offering local church grants 
United Methodist Communications has established a series of grants and resources to support local church communications. All grants are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Grants include website development, new church starts and demographic data. More… 

Rückert elected United Methodist bishop
The Rev. Harald Rückert was elected bishop by the Germany Central Conference on the fourth ballot. More… 

Black caucus celebrates 50-year legacy
More than 400 members of The United Methodist Church’s African-American membership caucus celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first meeting, even as many speakers addressed work that still needs to be done in fighting racism. More… 

New web page spotlights Native ministries 
The United Methodist Church recognizes the contributions and gifts of Native peoples to the church and their communities around the globe. In support of Native Americans and indigenous peoples and their traditions, United Methodist Communications has launched a new “Native Peoples and the UMC” landing page on The site features stories by and about Native people, along with resources, information about upcoming events and links to ministries. More… 

Scholars raise doubts about church's future
The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry brought together 28 seminary professors to discuss the denomination’s current impasse on homosexuality. A number of the scholars expressed doubts the denomination can stay together in its current form; others believe unity remains a possibility. More… 

Baptism gown goes way back
Six-month-old Payden Rose Manning was baptized recently at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, TX, wearing a gown purchased 150 years ago by her Methodist ancestors in England. Payden is the sixth generation and 31st infant to wear the gown. More… 

Mobile clinic provides medical, dental care
The first United Methodist mobile clinic in the Philippines offers medical and dental care to people in “far-flung areas,” said United Methodist Bishop Rodolfo Juan. More… 

♦ Wesley Foundation at UVa partnering with Virginia Festival of the Book- Mar. 25-26
The Wesley Foundation at UVa is partnering with the Virginia Festival of the Book for this year's annual McDonald Lecture on Mar. 25-26 in Charlottesville, Va. Amongst the authors, the Rev. Jason Micheli will offer reading, reflection and a Q & A on his book Stage-Serious Cancer: Responding with Humor and Faith on Saturday, Mar. 25 at 12 p.m. at McLeod Hall, 202 Jeanette Lancaster Way, Charlottesville, VA 22903. For more information about the Wesley Foundation at UVa, visit More... 

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer- Apr. 1, 2017
Registration is open for The Bishop's Convocation on Prayer on Apr. 1, 2017. The event will take place at Trinity UMC in Richmond with the Rev. Juanita Rasmus acting as plenary speaker.  Fee is $10 and participants will get to choose two workshops to attend. A workshop in Spanish is also being offered. More... 

♦ Conference-wide Week of Prayer- Apr. 2-8, 2017
A prayer movement in response to the Council of Bishops initiative is called Praying Our Way Forward. You are invited whether clery or laity to pray for God's guidance. The Virginia Conference will hold its designated Week of Prayer from Apr. 2-8. The website will host prayer resources and prayer support for the church. Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of North Alabama Conference and Bishop Al Gwinn serve as co-chairs of the Praying Our Way Forward movement. Virginia Conference resources are available at 

♦ Caretakers of God's Creation Climate Justice Conference- Apr. 28
The 10th Annual Methodist Caretakers of God's Creation Conference will be held in the Washington, D.C area this year to complement the National People's Climate Justice March on Apr. 28. Mt. Olivet UMC in Arlington will act as host for the event. Please contact Jaydee Handon at or 703-231-5956 with questions. More... 

♦ Ministers' Convocation- May 8-10, 2017
Register now for Ministers' Convocation, "Making Space for Yourself and Others," which will be held May 8-10 at Virginia Crossings Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center. You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. 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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