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News from the Virginia Conference - November 16, 2017

2018 Advocate Media Kit: Share your local church’s stories    
The 2018 Advocate themes and deadlines are now available. Review the media kit for stories you or your local church can share on the theme topics. Email to submit information. More...

United Methodist Student Day is Nov. 26
Across the country, the people of The United Methodist Church are serving the people God loves in Jesus’ name.We’re doing it at home, but often we’d like to do more. Right now, there are UMC young people who might not have had the resources to attend a school of their choice or any school at all. With your giving on United Methodist Student Day, you are supporting these students as they prepare for a life that unites faith with knowledge More…

Bishop Lewis urges prayer for unity in Council of Bishops sermon
In her Nov. 9 sermon at the Council of Bishops meeting at Lake Junaluska, Bishop Sharma Lewis exhorted her colleagues to pray for unity. She also preached that diversity is an essential part of unity. “We’ve wrestled this week, we’ve been anxious this week, we’ve even been mad sometimes this week, but the question still remains: How do we maintain unity in the midst of disunity?” she preached. “Jesus reveals the oneness. … He prays for oneness with the community, oneness with each other, oneness with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.” More…

Bishops consider three models for church future
United Methodist bishops are exploring three possible models for how the church should handle LGBTQ inclusion.
The models come to the bishops from the Commission on a Way Forward, which has the task of trying to find a way for the church to stay together despite deep divides over homosexuality.
The bishops met in a closed session Nov. 6-9 to discern whether the commission is heading in the right direction. The bishop-appointed commission has three more meetings planned early next year, and the bishops do not plan to develop any final recommendations until May 2018. More…

#GivingTuesday: Connect your passion with God's mission
Now is the time to start thinking about where you want your UMC #GivingTuesday gift to go on Nov. 28. There are more than 600 church-related Advance projects and more than 300 United Methodist missionaries to choose from. One of the great things about The Advance is that it allows you to invest your resources where your passion answers specific needs in the world, said Thomas Kemper, top executive with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. In the Virginia Conference, Heart Havens will once again be participating, see link for more details.

Start your Doctor of Ministry at Wesley
Take your ministry to the next level with a D.Min. from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Coursework is mainly online with a few on-campus residencies, to enable those in full-time ministry to balance their church, family and academic demands. Applications are being accepted for the following tracks (starting May 2018): “Soul Care for Pastors, Chaplains and Clinicians”   and “Church Leadership Excellence.” The deadline to receive applications for the above-stated academic tracks is Feb. 15, 2018.  For more information, contact Doctor of Ministry Program Director Dr. Lew Parks at

“The Power of Spirituals” event at Wesley Theological Seminary Nov. 19
Join Wesley Theological Seminary for "The Power of Spirituals" Nov. 19, 4-5 p.m. This interactive presentation will feature Dr. Eileen Guenther, professor of church music; and Wesley soloists Armand Peterson and Miracle Worrell. In this program, Guenther draws on her book In Their Own Words and combines first-person narratives and former slave interviews with her own commentary, all interwoven with the singing of spirituals by our featured soloists. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Wesley Communications at For directions to campus, go to

2018 Parks Pilgrimage for Younger Clergy
The first National Parks Pilgrimage in the Virginia Conference, Sept. 1-8, 2018, will be an opportunity for younger clergy to focus on the changing climate in ministry and the changing landscape of the denomination over the next few decades.The experience will offer a time for connection among colleagues while learning from the complex beauty of God's creation in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Priority participation will go to those VAUMC clergy who expect 30+ years of appointed service still to come, so primarily those clergy who are around age 40 or younger. Space is limited, and the team will be formed based on balancing considerations of geography, gender, diversity of experience and opinion as well as whether the design of this experience seems congruent with applicants' goals for the experience.  Applications and more information are available.For questions, please contact pilgrimage facilitators Tim Ward ( and Meredith McNabb ( 

Global Migration Sunday is Dec. 3, 2017
Global Migration Sunday is an opportunity for the denomination to support the 65 million displaced people around the world and deepen the understanding of the biblical call to welcome and care for the displaced. Resources and promotion materials are available as you plan for this meaningful Sunday, including an offering talk, PowerPoint slides, an infographic, social media assets, logos and digital banners. More…

Churches bear down on safety after Texas attack
The massacre at a Texas Baptist church has had United Methodist churches across the United States expressing heartbreak and offering prayers. They’ve also been re-focusing on security.

Bishops: Be respectful in difficult times
As the denomination faces an uncertain future, bishops urge their fellow United Methodists to address their differences with respectful conversations.“We are hearing of and observing angry words now escalating to actions that are resulting in fear, anxiety, loss of security and even physical harm,” said the bishops in a letter signed by Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Council of Bishops president. “These actions are repugnant to us as your bishops.” More…

Mike DuBose: A photojournalist’s journey
For American photographer Mike DuBose, a former news agency and newspaper staffer, who was inspired by his father, an amateur photographer, this is the journey that he has taken to provide the quality journalism that he believes is crucial for us to better understand the world around us. “My father was always very supportive of my career decisions, even as I struggled to find full-time employment as a photojournalist,” DuBose recalls. For nearly 22 years now, he has been working for the United Methodist Communications based in Nashville, Tennessee, a church-based organization that has allowed him to travel Africa and other parts of the world to pursue the work he loves. “Working as a daily newspaper photographer was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done,” DuBose explains. More...

Welcoming millennials by preserving their anonymity
Churches often welcome young adults with such urgency and expectation that younger visitors can feel overwhelmed. In an article for Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Scott Chrostek, pastor of Resurrection Downtown in Missouri, said it is actually more hospitable to maintain their sense of anonymity and personal privacy in worship — to help them blend in and feel comfortable without attracting undue attention. More...

♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly- Feb. 1, 2018
Ever wanted to know how to create real change in our state government? Or wanted to know more about real issues facing our legislature? United Methodist Day at the General Assembly is the place for you! This is our opportunity to help faith communities become empowered to serve as missionaries of justice, as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy. This yearly event will be held Thursday, Feb. 1 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Due to construction at capitol square this year and the relocation of the General Assembly Building, space will be more LIMITED this year. Registration for event will be open soon. A briefing will be held Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Bon Air UMC in North Chesterfield at 7:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at or (434) 594-6241. Find more information 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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