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News from the Virginia Conference - September 13, 2018

Update on Hurricane Florence   
As information becomes available, we will share more ways that you can help in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Landfall is expected after midnight tonight in North Carolina. For now, please pray for those persons who are in the path of the storm as well as all first responders. You can make a donation to disaster response through United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).Use the toll free line 1-866-264-8488 for questions regarding Early Response Team (ERT) deployments or issues. Call the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at 757-408-6653 for disaster-related questions or concerns.

ERT training available on Sept. 29
Early Response Team (ERT) training will be available Saturday, Sept. 29 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m at Blacksburg UMC in Blacksburg. Training will provide teams knowledge of teh many ways to help in disaster recovery. Fee for training is $55 and includes a background check, ERT badge and T-shirt. Lunch will be provide. Contact Steve Cass, Virginia Conference UMCOR trainer, for questions and registration at

Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer cancelled
The Rev. Marc Brown, Director of Connectional Ministries, announced on Tuesday that the Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer, scheduled for September 15, has been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. Brown shared that an announcement about a rescheduled date for a future convocation will be shared as information becomes available.  He asked that everyone pray for the wellbeing of all who will be affected by this hurricane in the days ahead.

New live sites for the Commission on a Way Forward, General Conference 2019 Q&A event
If you have questions about the Commission on a Way Forward, the Commission’s reports going before General Conference 2019 or GC 2019 itself then save the date for “A Way Forward: a Q&A event with Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, the Rev. Tom Berlin and Ms. Martha Stokes." The 90-minute event will be held on Wednesday, September 26 at 7 p.m. at Reveille UMC, 4200 Cary Street Rd, Richmond, VA 23221-2526. Bishop Lewis, the Rev. Berlin and Ms. Stokes will share their thoughts as well as moderate questions on these topics. You can watch from home as the event will be livestreamed and archived for later viewing at . If you would like to watch from a location, there are nine additional live sites around the conference where you can attend:

Floris UMC, Arlington District
First UMC, Danville District
Adams UMC, Eastern Shore District
South Hill UMC, Farmville District
Afton UMC, Rappahannock River
Hillcrest UMC, Rappahannock River District
Thrasher Memorial UMC, Roanoke District
New Town UMC, York River District
Williamsburg UMC, York River District

Questions for the event will be taken via email. You can start to submit your questions now and during the event at For questions about the event, please contact conference Director of Communications Madeline Pillow at

Videographer shares about trip to Africa in recent blog
In his "Through the Lens" blog, conference videographer Nick Ruxton shares his recent experience in Africa with the Rev. Glenn Rowley, conference director of Justice and Missional Excellence. More…

Email newsletter available from The Upper Room
A new monthly email newsletter from The Upper Room called "From the Center" provides resources for spiritual leaders who find it extremely challenging to lead others and who seek grounding beneath the shifting sands of church and culture. This e-newsletter offers wisdom from the ages, prayer practices and a sacred space for the journey. More...

Kindred Project holding event on Sept. 18
Kindred Project invites you to a morning of contemplative prayer and holy conversation on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Welborne UMC at 920 Maybeury Dr, Henrico, VA 23229. Bagels and spreads and coffee will be provided.  There will be a celebration of the Eucharist and devotions followed by silent contemplative prayer and the conversation that flows from it.  Donations will be accepted to cover the cost of the bagels.  If you can attend, please email Joy Crawford at or David Canada at

Haitian Methodist School of Music Benefit Concert to be held on Oct. 14
There will be a benefit concert for the Haitian Methodist School of Music on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. at Braddock Street UMC. Address is 115 Wolfe Street, Winchester, VA 22601. Musical instruments, funds for musical literature and supplies are needed. For more information, contact the Rev. Dr. Jack Martin at

Wesley Theological Seminary featuring lecture series on unique gift of the Hispanic/Latino(a) church in America
The Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH) in collaboration with Wesley Theological Seminary is honored to present The Justo and Catherine González Center Lecture Series 2018. Noted theologians and church leaders from across the country will gather to explore the unique gift of the Hispanic/Latino(a) church in America. In addition to keynote speakers, workshops and a closing liturgy, the Justo and Catherine González Lecture Series will once again gather leaders (clergy, church leaders, lay ministers, students and others) committed to the goal of AETH of promoting excellent and pertinent theological education of Hispanic/Latino(a) leaders in their service to the church and the world. For information on speakers, workshops or registration, please visit the link. More…

Save the date for day to discuss cooperative parish ministries
Could cooperative parish ministry be a way of re-imagining ministry by joining forces with those who can help you reach more people? What if our churches and ministries were formed or re-formed in a way that links resources and individuals? Can Christ do more through us when we come together? Come to Good Shepherd UMC in Richmond to learn more on Sept. 22, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Day will also include preaching by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, presentation on exploring models of cooperative parish ministry and a panel on best practices. Questions can be directed to Tobias Lutz at More...

Clergy nomination forms for 2020 General Conference now available
Clergy nomination forms for the 2020 General Conference may be accessed at  Conference Standing Rule III.1.a states “all clergy members in full connection are eligible to be nominated (2016 Book of Discipline ¶35), except as provided in 2016 Book of Discipline ¶354.8.”  The deadline for submission of clergy nomination forms to the Office of Connectional Ministries is March 1, 2019.  Nomination forms completed online will be submitted automatically to the Office of Connectional Ministries.

General Conference, Jurisdictional nomination forms available for district lay members
District lay nominations for the 2020 General Conference and 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be voted upon at each district conference. Laity who wish to be nominees as delegates for these conferences shall complete the lay nomination form at  Upon completion, the form automatically will be submitted to the district office in which the lay nominee’s church is located.   Electronic submission is preferred but if a nominee is unable to complete an electronic nomination, he/she may contact their district office. 

Paths collide for immigrants, border agents
The McAllen station is the busiest U.S. Customs and Border Protection station in the nation for apprehending undocumented immigrants and drugs. It is located in a rural area of Texas where the winding Rio Grande narrowly divides the U.S. from Mexico. Agents patrol 53 miles of the river, which is surrounded by farmland on the U.S. side and tall trees and thick underbrush in Mexico. More…

Churches can help erase stigma of HIV/AIDS
Denominational attention to HIV/AIDS has diminished since more than 130 United Methodists went through HIV/AIDS testing at a Council of Bishops meeting in 2010. Organizers of the “Breaking Barriers” HIV/AIDS ministry conference in October are hoping to spark a new commitment by church members to overcome stigma and help save lives. More…

Law brings church closures in Rwanda
Since the beginning of the year, when Rwandan lawmakers enacted new laws requiring pastors to be educated and church buildings to be renovated, an estimated 8,000 churches and 100 mosques have been closed across this East Africa nation. More…

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - Sept. 15, 2018
Event has been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. 

♦ 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…

♦ Virginia offering 'revamped' spiritual weekend - Oct. 26-27, 2018 
For the 40th year the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men (UMM) will host a Spiritual Weekend, this time at Baylake UMC in Virginia Beach October 26-27, 2018. Theme will be “Go! and make disciples” and featured speaker will be Bishop James Swanson from the Mississippi Conference. As part of revamping the weekend, changes include making the event open to families and spouses, bringing in nationally renowned speakers and offering special rates. For more information about United Methodist Men in the Virginia Conference, please contact Andrew Kissell, president, at 757-839-0790 or More...

♦ 5 Talent Academy- Oct. 30, 2018 
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy event “Influence: Worship 2018.” Event takes place on October 30, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be hosted live from Floris UMC in Herndon and will be livestreamed to 12 locations. For more information visit or contact the Center for Congregational Excellence at 804-521-1100.

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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