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News from the Virginia Conference - November 9, 2017

Former heroin addict now leading worship at Roanoke church
A former heroin addict now leads worship at a church in the same neighborhood where she used to buy drugs. Amanda Bocchi had a traumatic childhood and a boyfriend who introduced her to painkillers to help her cope with the trauma. She started her recovery from addiction about 18 months ago with Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. In the 12-step program, she came face to face with her demons and said she believes she was finally healed. The road to recovery led her down an unexpected path to a long conversation with Huntington Court United Methodist Church pastor Jeff Wilson. 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

Register now for the High School Fall Youth Retreat
Registration is open for the High School Fall Youth Retreat. High School Retreat is Dec. 1-3 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg, Va. Deadline to register is Nov. 18. Click link for more information about pricing and how to register. More...

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…

Crossing borders without leaving a country
The Rev. Bence Vigh, 31, is a young pastor in The United Methodist Church in Hungary. The charge conference he is serving also includes the Roma church Kürtöspuszta. His work with youth gives him a unique view into how the digitalization of the world shapes the lives of people in Hungary who have technology and the sharp differences for those who do not. More…

Bishops called to navigate 'off the map'
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, likened his colleagues to explorers of old as they seek to navigate through the denomination. He spoke as the bishops were about to embark on discussing the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. More…

Call for 'bold action' at Bonn climate summit
Leaders of four United Methodist general agencies are calling for “bold action to protect God’s people and God’s planet” as world leaders gather in Bonn, Germany, for the Nov. 6-17 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A joint delegation from the denomination’s Boards of Church and Society and Global Ministries is participating in the conference’s first week. More…

♦ ERT Basic class held in Richmond- Nov. 11, 2017
The Rev. Kirk Culpepper, Conference ERT Coordinator, will offer an ERT Basic class on Nov.11 at Unity of Richmond in Richmond from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $55 which includes background fee, materials and ERT t-shirt. For registration or questions, contact Culpepper at 757-434-0078 or email

♦ 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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