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News from the Virginia Conference - March 22, 2018

April Advocate celebrates administrative professionals
In the April issue of the Virginia Advocate magazine, learn more about and celebrate the ministries of local church, district and conference administrative assistants. Don’t forget that April 25 is Administrative Professionals Day! To subscribe to the Advocate—print, digital or both—call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; email; or go to

Learn how to create an intentional discipleship system
Let’s be honest. If we do not know what a disciple is or how they are formed, we will never know how to make them. The lack of clarity here keeps us from doing the hard and intentional work of making disciples. We must know the basic characteristics of a disciple, and we must think intentionally about how our church’s ministries and opportunities work together to assist in disciple formation. Learn more from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. More…

UMCom offers free graphics for Holy Week, Easter
Does your local church need graphics to share your Holy Week and Easter message to your community online? United Methodist Communications (UMCom) has created graphics for local church use. More…

UMCom asking for nominations for UM heroes around the denomination
United Methodist Communications (UMCom) is launching a new social media campaign called #amazingUMCheroes, a campaign featuring United Methodists who are doing extraordinary things – either as difference makers in the community or through courageous or selfless acts. To make a nomination, please send a few sentences about your #amazingUMChero or the link to pre-published content to

Easter programs to feature United Methodist pastor
The Rev. Jason Micheli, executive pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, is the featured preacher April 15 and April 22, the third and fourth Sundays of Easter, on “Day 1.” The nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program is also accessible online at

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!

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.

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…

Bishops, leaders of UMC-related institutions optimistic of denomination’s future
Several leaders of United Methodist Church-related institutions voiced optimism and are preparing for possible changes in the global denomination that could occur as a result of the Special Session of the General Conference called for February next year. The two-day gathering in Dallas on March 15-16 brought together leaders of foundations, colleges, seminaries and other institutions that extend the mission of the church and anchor the faith in the various public arenas of education, health, finance, community development and others. More…

Gay pastor's case heads back to West Ohio committee
The North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals ruled the West Ohio Committee on Investigation made errors of church law in dismissing some of the charges against the Rev. David Meredith, a gay pastor who married his partner, and remanded the case to the conference committee. However, the appeals committee asked the appellant, the West Ohio Conference, to “pause” further judicial proceedings until the completion of the special General Conference next year. More…

Writing helps Irma survivors confront trauma
A devotional-writing workshop — part of a three-day retreat hosted by Upper Room Ministries in hurricane-demolished St. Martin — helped participants express their trauma in dealing with disaster, and opened up the possibility of future workshops. 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.

♦ Faithful Aging Conference- Apr. 24, 2018 
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.

♦ Conference Immigration Summit- May 19, 2018 
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...

♦ 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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