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News from the Virginia Conference - May 31, 2018

Changes to VUMPI health care plans
This year at Annual Conference Virginia United Methodist Pensions, Inc. (VUMPI) will be introducing new health care plans and changes that will occur in 2019. This video from John Fuller goes into more detail about the changes. More…

Latest pastoral appointments made
The latest pastoral appointments were shared earlier this week by Bishop Lewis and the Cabinet. More…

Learn more about Young Preachers Festival
The Young Preachers Festival, funded through a grant of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, on June 27-28 in Leawood, Kansas, is designed to foster a call to ministry, provide networking and support to those discerning and pursuing a call to ministry, provide practical tools and training in sermon preparation and presentation and provide guidance to hone these skills through the opportunity to give a sermon and receive feedback. Featured speakers for the Festival include the Rev. Sarah Heath, the Rev. Dr. Kevin Murriel, Dr. Jerusha Neal, the Rev. Charley Reeb and the Rev. Scott Chrostek. Details and registration may be found at the festival website. Contact Kari Burgess at or call 913-232-4139. More…

Special recognition from Olive Branch UMC, Gasburg
Mrs. Mable King, the oldest living member of Olive Branch UMC (OBUMC), Gasburg, celebrated her 102nd birthday with other women from OBUMC on April 18.  We wish her congratulations and a blessed birthday!

Dancers needed for Annual Conference 2018
Are you involved in a liturgical dance ministry or love to dance? If so, the 2018 Worship Planning Committee of the Virginia Annual Conference is looking for you! There is an opportunity to participate in the Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion on Friday, June 15 at 7:30 pm at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, VA. If you are interested, email no later than June 1, 2018. The committee is looking for as many participants as possible. Participants will prepare themselves by listening to the musical selection and studying the scripture (once they have been selected), and they will faithfully receive ongoing instructions prior to June 15. There will be one mandatory rehearsal for this engagement, which will take place on Friday, June 15 from 6-7 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, so participants are asked to make themselves available. Participants are also asked to wear long black yoga style pants (no shorts, tights or leggings, please) and a red T-shirt or long sleeved shirt.

Bring cans to Annual Conference
Annual Conference attendees, pastors and lay members, are encouraged to bring at least four pop-top cans of food (meat/fish, veggies/fruit or soup/stew). In addition, staple goods like cereal, flour and boxed items (think Hamburger Helper, Ramen Noodles, grits, etc.), are readily needed and acceptable. Please try to send four boxes of food from your church. Volunteers are also needed for at least one shift of two hours to receive the food that laity and clergy will be bringing for the Peninsula Food Bank. Questions may be directed to Jim Earley at  More…

Volunteers needed for Annual Conference 2018
Annual Conference 2018 from June 15-17 cannot happen without volunteers! A weekend of worship, service, fellowship and friendship, Annual Conference is only made possible by volunteers living out their faith to service. Follow the link to sign up. More…

Kindred Project retreat at Annual Conference 2018
Virginia delegates Shirley Cauffman, Martha Stokes and the Rev. Meredith McNabb pray during a time of prayer following Bishop Bruce Ough's address calling for unity in The United Methodist Church.The Kindred Project is an ecumenical gathering of clergy and laity of the Virginia Conference to promote contemplative practices. For the third year in a row, the Kindred Project will be hosting a retreat prior to Annual Conference. You are invited to join on June 14, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in the conference prayer room. This is an excellent way to center in preparation for the work of the church. Retreat leaders will be the Rev. Becky Cloud; Janie Mitchell, D.Min; the Rev. Tom Frost and Joy Crawford. For further information or to RSVP please contact the Rev. Kimberly Barker-Brugman at

Annual Conference 2018: Great Day of Service registration is available
Members of Annual Conference 2018 can sign up for the Great Day of Service taking place on the afternoon of Saturday, June 16. You will find on the registration there is a donation to help defray the cost of a T-shirt for participants, health kits, transportation and other expenses associated with the Great Day of Service.  Please contact Marc Brown at if the amount of this donation prevents your participation in this event. More…

Bishops, The Upper Room launch Phase 3 of Praying our Way Forward
The Council of Bishops, in partnership with The Upper Room, is launching Phase 3 of Praying our Way Forward. Phase 1 involved 84 members of the Council of Bishops praying for The United Methodist Church’s way forward for 15 minutes daily, from August to December 2016. This was followed by Phase 2, which resulted in 18 continuous months of daily individual and corporate prayer by faithful members of annual conferences around the globe.
“Now we are ready to launch Phase 3, which begins June 3 and continues through the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019.  In this phase, we are encouraging every United Methodist to fast weekly and to pray daily with the Council of Bishops,” said Bishop Al Gwinn, the Prayer Team Coordinator. More…

Bishops offer video as resource for One Church plan discussions
The Council of Bishops is offering a video outlining the One Church Plan as a resource for annual conferences as they prepare for the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. During their meeting earlier this month, the bishops voted to recommend the One Church Plan as the best way forward for the future of The United Methodist Church. The recommendation is based on the work of the 32-member Commission on a Way Forward. More…

1,800 UMW letters seek climate action from Chevron
More than 1,800 letters from United Methodist Women were delivered to Chevron’s corporate headquarters on April 29, the day before its annual meeting. The letters call on Chief Executive Officer Michael Wirth to improve the company’s performance on methane waste to help lessen the impact of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. More…

Diversity shows unity in Christ
As he attended a missionary gathering and visited local churches, Thomas Kemper was struck by the “growing diversity” of the church’s missionary community. The top executive of United Methodist Board of Global Ministries writes that in Cambodia, missionaries come from other parts of Asia and from Africa and North America. More…

♦ SEJ Historical Society Annual Meeting - July 17-20, 2018 
The Virginia Conference Historical Society (VCHS) will host this year’s Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society of The United Methodist Church (SEJHS) Annual Meeting, whose theme is Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism. Everyone is invited to the event held from July 17-20 in Williamsburg, Va. Those who participate in all lectures and tours of the Annual Meeting are entitled to receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU). The event will include guided tours of Williamsburg churches and Historic Jamestowne, and lecturers delivering the stories of Virginia Methodism - Origins of the Old Brunswick Circuit, Chesapeake Methodism, African Americans and Religious Liberty in Virginia Methodism and The Evangelical United Brethren Church in the Valley of Virginia.  Keynote speaker, David L. Holmes, Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, College of William and Mary, will discuss Religious Freedom in the Colonial Era. Attendees will also enjoy a banquet celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Uniting Conference. The three-day event costs $85, with tours and dinner meals included. Registration ends July 10. Group rates are arranged with several local hotels, but cut-off dates are in May or June, so register soon! A brochure, registration and further information are available at the link. More...

♦ Embrace: Clergywomen's 2018 Retreat - Sept. 25-26, 2018
Embrace 2018 is the first gathering of the Virginia clergywomen in 30 years! Join for two days of worship, study and community. Engage in hands-on missions, show off your skills in a Talent/No Talent Show and participate in panel discussions on change and growth within your own ministry context. But most importantly, connect with other clergywomen and claim a renewed sense of call. Be inspired. Be nourished. Be embraced. Event will be held September 25-26, 2018 at the Virginia Crossings Conference Center in Glen Allen. Click link for more information about schedule, grant money, registration and more. 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 at



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