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News from the Virginia Conference - November 21, 2018

New conference Director of Connectional Ministries announced
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis announced on Monday, Nov. 19 that the Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith, currently serving as the district superintendent of the Rappahannock River District, will be the new Director of Connectional Ministries effective July 1, 2019. More…

UMFS is official conference December offering
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is honored to be the official conference offering for December. Local churches have been faithful partners for over 118 years. It is because of Virginia Conference support that this ministry has continued to grow and bear good fruit. Today UMFS serves high-risk children and families across the commonwealth, providing foster care and community based services, specialized therapeutic education and residential treatment services. Support for UMFS creates brighter futures for high-risk children. UMFS thanks you for your partnership in this ministry! Bulletin inserts and offering envelopes were recently mailed to each church to assist with the offering. You can order additional printed copies or download an electronic copy of the bulletin insert at, or contact Brenda Foster at or 804-254-9450 for assistance.

Heart Havens participates in Giving Tuesday
Heart Havens will be participating in Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27 once again this year. This global day of giving is a non-profit response to the consumer focused days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Heart Havens' goal for Giving Tuesday is to raise $2,500 for improvements to the accessibility of the shower at the Garber Morris home. Donations will be matched up to $2,000 thanks to SIL and the Heart Havens board. Donors will also have a chance to win tickets to the Lewis Ginter or Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Please spread the word about this upcoming online event! More...

Advance hope on Giving Tuesday is Nov. 27
United Methodists will come together to support vital ministry projects and missionaries around the world on #GivingTuesday as they generously #GiveUMC. Giving through The Advance empowers hundreds of dedicated project leaders and missionaries to share the love of Christ in meaningful, life-saving ways. As always, 100 percent of all giving will support the designated Advance ministry. How will you #GiveUMC? Find a project you are passionate about and make a donation. More…

United Methodist Student Day is Nov. 25
On United Methodist Student Day, Nov. 25, congregations will gather to support students as they prepare for a life that unites faith and knowledge. The gifts on this churchwide Special Sunday provide scholarships for diligent United Methodist students in local congregations just like yours. More…

Share your stories in February 2019 Advocate issue
The Advocate office would welcome your submissions for the February 2019 issue. The issue will be focused on "Relationship Heartbreak" with the deadline of Dec. 10. We have all been there. We have all felt loneliness and pain that comes from heartbreak, no matter the source. Share your reflections on how you grew from heartache or heartbreak whether romantic, familial or involving a friendship. How can we best be an aid to those around us dealing with this pain? How has your faith journey been shaped by these feelings? How did your faith help you through these feelings? Submit all stories, contacts for stories or ideas to Advocate editor at

Advocate magazine 2019 media kit now available 
The 2019 Advocate magazine media kit, which includes deadlines and issue feature topics, is now available on the conference website. Please email Advocate editor Madeline Pillow at with any corresponding story ideas or contacts or any other stories throughout the year.  More…

Clergy Spouses Retreat to be held in March
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.Are you anticipating some kind of major transition in 2019? Maybe a new appointment or the results of February's denominational vote? This session is designed exclusively for you – the clergy spouse! Retreat on Mar. 8-9, 2019 will include small group discussions and time to connect with other clergy spouses. Theme is "Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses" by Julie Anderman of Artos Retreats. Anderman, a clergy spouse in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference for 20 years, co-founded Artos Retreats two years ago out of a calling to improve the well-being of clergy spouses through connection and learning. Before starting Artos, Anderman provided independent instructional design and communications consulting for over 20 years. She has facilitated small group learning in both corporate and church environments for 25 years. Location will be Blessings Lodge at Camp Overlook, near Harrisonburg. Cost is $100 with accommodations and meals. Registration will be available soon. Contact Judy Hall at 804-264-0524 with any questions. More…

United Methodist Day at General Assembly is Jan. 31
Nearly 300 United Methodists assemble outside the new entrance to the State Capitol during the Feb. 3 United Methodist Day at the General Assembly.Now that the election is over. . . Would you like to continue to make an impact in having your voice heard? Then register today for United Methodist Day at the General Assembly! Register by December 28 and pay $30 early registration. After December 28, pay $40 until January 11 when registration closes. Hotel reservations can be made for January 30 at the Hyatt Place, 201 Arboretum Place, Richmond, 23236, near Bon Air UMC. Call 804-560-1566 to make your reservation and mention “Virginia United Methodist Conference” to receive a special room rate of $109/night (single or double). Hotel reservation deadline is Dec. 31, 2018. Contact the Rev. Barbara Lewis, registrar, with questions at More…

Members of migrant caravan 'seeking better lives'
Thousands of migrants from Central America have been labeled criminals or opportunists by some, but United Methodist leaders say many people of faith see the members of the migrant caravan as children of God escaping desperate situations in their home countries. More…

Wendy's asked to sign worker agreement
A delegation of United Methodist Women joined forces with the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and farm workers organizations to call on Wendy's to sign the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Wendy's is the only one of the five major fast-food companies that has not signed the agreement. More…

Churches balance safety with piety, openness
Churches concerned about safety in this era of mass shootings are considering security cameras, key card entry systems, armed guards and even arming members. More…

Choirs needed for 2020 General Conference
United Methodist choirs and worship ensemble groups from around the world may now audition online for an invitation to perform at the 2020 General Conference, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly, which meets May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. More…

♦ Conference center closed for Thanksgiving observance - Nov. 21-23, 2018
The Virginia United Methodist Conference Center will be closed for Thanksgiving observance starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and will remain closed through Friday, Nov. 23

♦ Conference center closed for Christmas observance- Dec. 21-26, 2018
The Virginia United Methodist Conference Center will be closed for Christmas observance starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21 and will remain closed through Wednesday, Dec. 26

♦ Conference center closed for New Year's Day observance- Jan. 1, 2019
The Virginia United Methodist Conference Center will be closed for New Year's Day observance on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. 

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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