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News from the Virginia Conference - September 20, 2018

Update on Hurricane Florence relief efforts
As information becomes available, the conference will share more ways that you can help in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Earlier this week the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference disaster response coordinator, shared that all Early Response Team (ERT) members and churches should not self-deploy in response to Hurricane Florence. "This is such a large event that all response efforts must be closely coordinated. I know that there are congregations that have relationships with churches in NC, SC, and GA and even those desires to jump in immediately to do something should be discouraged at this point," said Pihlcrantz. "It is simply not safe and many communities are still cut off and are not accessible. We must, I repeat must, not become a second disaster by going to help when resources are not in place to support our desires to assist." 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 Pihlcrantz at 757-408-6653 for disaster-related questions or concerns. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has offered instructions and tips for donating to help with Hurricane Florence Relief efforts. Visit to learn the best ways to get involved (and what not to do).

View how apportionment dollars are making a difference in Africa   
In August, Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, and the Rev. Glenn Rowley, conference director of Justice and Missional Excellence, traveled to Mozambique, Africa, to see how mission is being carried out by the conference’s mission partners. You can now view videos from the trip including an overview video, Chicuque Rural Hospital, the Creator’s Co-op and how you can help support a school through the donation of a desk. More…

October Advocate explores concept of call
Learn more about call in the Virginia Conference in the October Advocate issue.. You are "called" whether clergy or laity! To read these excellent articles, order your subscription to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate today. Click here to subscribe online. Or call Pam Culler at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or email or It costs just $20 for one year of the printed magazine; $10 for one year of a digital version; $25 for a year of both print and digital. Subscribe today!

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

UMFS welcomes you to their campus
Come and learn more about United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) and the work they do in Richmond and across the state. The tour helps bring the agency to life while you walk around the Richmond campus. You also get to learn a bit of fun history, since UMFS continues to operate today on the land where they were founded as an orphanage in 1900. The next tours will be held on Wednesday September 26, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday October 17, 1:30 to 3 p.m., and Wednesday November 7, 5:30 to 7 p.m. All are welcome. The tours start at Walker House on the UMFS campus, 3900 W. Broad St in Richmond. Please contact Jill Gaynor ( or 804.254.9463) with any questions.

Foundation grant applications now open
Applications are open for Virginia United Methodist Foundation Grants. Now is the time for churches, districts and ministries across the conference to consider how they may apply for the available grants from the Foundation. The deadline for completed applications is October 31, 2018.  Distributions will be made in January 2019. More…

Join mission team traveling to U.S.-Mexican border
Why do people migrate? What happens on the migrant journey? Learn from people directly affected by current economic and immigration policies. Meet with humanitarian aid organizations and immigration rights advocates, walk desert trails, witness court proceedings, visit migrant shelters and immigration detention centers and learn about community-based projects that create economic and social opportunities within immigrant communities. Team will travel February 4-11. Deadline to register is September 30. For more information, please contact the Rev. Judy Worthington at or 757-442-3481.

Downtown Richmond church celebrates ninth anniversary as reconciling congregation
Centenary UMC in Richmond will celebrate its ninth anniversary as a Reconciling Congregation the weekend of September 22-23. On Saturday, September 22, members from Centenary will staff a booth at PrideFest to extend the church’s welcome. On Sunday, September 23, the church will celebrate the church’s decision to become a Reconciling Congregation in its services at 8:40 a.m. and 11 a.m. A reception will follow the 11:00 a.m. service. Nine years ago, after months of study and discussion, Centenary declared itself “a Reconciling Congregation, extending hospitality and encouraging full participation of all, regardless of age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, educational or economic background, and physical or mental ability.” If you would like more information about these events, please contact Matt Bates at or 804-971-7563.

Thank you from All God’s Children camp director
“Wow! What a fantastic 2018 summer for All God’s Children Camp.This year we sent 74 children to camp at three different sites around Virginia. Through Harmony (our self -esteem building and conflict resolution class), Bible study and arts and crafts, they were able to hear and talk about how Jesus is FOR them,” said Lori Smith, All God’s Children camp director in a letter. “They began to understand what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who wants nothing more but to be in relationship with them. Through outdoor activities such as rock wall climbing, boating, archery, swimming, low ropes and much more, they began to lean on and trust each other and build each other up.
“We are so thankful for the 58 mentors who gave up a week of their summer to volunteer their time to hang out with some kids who need it most. I want to thank each and every one of you for being the hands and feet of Christ for our beautiful children. You started out as a mentor but you became someone who they laughed with, cried with, confided in; you became someone they could trust. You became their friend. To those who donated monetarily and adopted cabins, we were ready to welcome and receive the campers with everything they needed for the week. Through our churches and individual donations, all the needs and supplies were met for every camper.” More…

Time to Start Your Doctor of Ministry at Wesley?
Take your ministry to a new level through the enriching experience of the Doctor of Ministry program at Wesley. Wesley’s newest Doctor of Ministry tracks (start in January 2019):
•    Public Engagement: Confronting and Healing Communal Brokenness and Despair
•    Spirituality and Story
•    The Winds of the Spirit and Ministries for a Changing World (at Wesley House, Cambridge, UK)
•    Church Leadership Excellence
There is still time to apply. Deadline for January 2019 start is October 15, 2018. More information can be found at For questions, contact the Office of Admissions, 202-885-8659 or email

Noted theologians gathering at Wesley Theological Seminary to explore Hispanic/Latino/a church in America
Join Justo González and others engaged in Hispanic/Latinx ministry at “The Public Witness of the Hispanic/Latino/a Church in the United States” October 19-20, 2018 at Wesley Theological Seminary, in partnership with the Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH) and presented by the Justo and Catherine González Resource Center 2018 Lecture Series. Noted theologians, including Justo González, will gather from across the country to explore the unique gift of the Hispanic/Latino/a church in America. In addition to keynote speakers, workshops and a closing liturgy, the Lecture Series will 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. All are invited. Registration fee (includes meals) for non AETH members: $125; AETH active members $100; WTS Students (only WTS Students) $35. Register here. For more information, contact Marta Luna: 407-482-7598 or

Dallas police shooting prompts United Methodist march
A white Dallas police officer's fatal shooting of a black man in his apartment and authorities' handling of the case have prompted national media coverage and various demonstrations locally. One called "United Methodists of All Colors Walk for Justice" occurred Sept. 19, with clergy and others gathering outside Dallas police headquarters and marching to the nearby apartment complex where the shooting occurred. More…

Methodist Church of Cambodia becomes official
The Methodist Church of Cambodia officially came into being in early September, the result of years of collaboration among five mission agencies, their missionaries and the work of indigenous leaders. More…

What does the church teach about tithing?
Tithing is commonly understood as the giving of one-tenth of one’s income for God. John Wesley offered an even higher standard for giving. Ask The UMC reports on what Wesley said and what The United Methodist Church teaches. 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…

♦ 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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