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News from the Virginia Conference - Mar. 9, 2017

New series seeks to answer questions about apportionments 
A new series by the Communications office at the conference center will offer in-depth information about apportionments. From what they are to how they fit into the United Methodist connection, the series will get information from the Rev. Marc Brown, Virginia Conference director of Connectional Ministries, as well as David Dommisse, conference treasurer, and John Fuller, executive director of the Pensions office. Have questions about apportionments? Share them with Madeline Pillow, Virginia Conference director of Communications and Advocate editor, at to be shared in future articles in the series. More… 

Annual Conference 2017 offering announced 
This year’s Annual Conference mission offering has been announced on the main Annual Conference 2017 page. More… 

Office of Justice and Missonal Excellence shares resources on immigration, refugee issues
The Office of Justice and Missional Excellence has shared resources on immigration and refugee issues to the conference and local churches. More...

Northern Virginia church hosting seminar on immigration issues
Vale UMC in Oakton will be hosting a seminar by Just Neighbors to help churches respond to the immigration issues. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 16 at Vale UMC, 11528 Vale Road, Oakton, VA 22124.Just Neighbors is a 501(c) 3 organization founded by United Methodist pastors and lawyers, helping U.S. immigrants flourish. It is an Advance Special of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (#907), as well as a program of the General Advance through the worldwide United Methodist Church. 

Wesley Foundation at UVa partnering with Virginia Festival of the Book
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, 22903. For more information about the Wesley Foundation at UVa, visit More…

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… 

Caretakers of God’s Creation Climate Justice Conference will take place in Northern Virginia
The 10th Annual United 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. The conference will be a day of inspiration, education and preparation. It will begin with worship, including a message of hope brought by United Methodist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, will include major addresses by the Rev. Fletcher Harper, the Rev. Jenny Phillips, and will conclude with worship and communion with sermons by Bill McKibben and Michelle Roberts. Please contact Jaydee Hanson at or 703-231-5956 with questions. More… 

Women in ministry find shoulders to stand on
Women in The United Methodist Church often draw inspiration from those who have helped pave the way for them, from historical figures to more recent groundbreakers like Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly, the denomination’s first African-American female bishop. Even today, however, clergy and laywomen are challenged simply because of their gender. A few women share their thoughts for Women’s History Month. More… 

Ministry idea: Church youth teach tech
Asbury Memorial UMC in Savannah, Ga., recently offered an unusual workshop — the congregation’s youth group taught elder members how to use new technology. “This is a great way to build one-on-one relationships between the generations,” said a church member. More… 

A Wesley hymn devotion for Lent
Charles Wesley’s “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast,” extends the invitation to Holy Communion in song. Joe Iovino writes in a devotion that the hymn is an important reminder that Lent is not only a time for engaging in reflection but also extending welcome. More… 

Young clergywomen challenge evangelical group
More than 200 United Methodist clergywomen under the age of 40 have signed an open letter disputing statements by the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a new evangelical group. The clergywomen argue differing views on homosexuality can be Wesleyan. More… 

Pulpit exchanges preach justice, love
As he approached the Wesley Foundation’s meeting room at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, the Rev. Wayne Wiatt hesitated. What could a 61-year-old white pastor say that would be of any interest to a group of black college students? More… 

New planets raise old questions
The discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby dwarf star, Trappist-1, is raising lots of questions with religious implications. More… 

Abingdon to publish Clinton devotional book
During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the Rev. Bill Shillady, a United Methodist pastor, organized daily devotions from himself and others for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic nominee. Abingdon Press will publish a collection of the devotions — along with personal notes, portions of her speeches and relevant headlines — with a forward by Clinton. A portion of the proceeds will go to the United Methodist City Society in New York. More… 

♦ Lay Servant Academy- Mar. 31- Apr. 2, 2017
The Lay Servant Academy is about equipping laity to carry out the mission of the church of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. All courses are open to everyone. Each course is designed to help those serving the local church to learn more about leadership, personal faith development and a deeper understanding of the UMC. Many courses offered this year will support those seeking to become Certified Lay Servants and Lay Speakers. To register and for more information on the Academy, visit the website. Registration questions may be directed to Sandy Kelley at and other questions to Beth Christian at 

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer- Apr. 1, 2017
Registration is now open for The Bishop's Convocaiton 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. 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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