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News from the Virginia Conference - September 21, 2017

Conference still actively engaged in Virginia disaster recovery
The Virginia Conference is still actively engaged in Disaster Recovery in the Farmville and Elizabeth River Districts. In Feb. 2016, tornadoes struck across Virginia and multiple tornados hit the communities of Waverly, Tappahannock and Evergreen. Two recovery projects in those areas have been completed but the third in Evergreen is still ongoing in building three more homes. In the Hampton Roads area, recovery continues from Hurricane Matthew and it may take as long as two years to complete. There are over 500 possible clients that have unmet needs and the recovery team is working many hours to meet the needs of the families in the City of Virginia Beach. To volunteer in either location, please contact Forrest White, UMVIM Coordinator, at or by calling (804) 938-1026. Please also consider a financial gift to Advance Special #5037 which is the Disaster Response fund within the VAUMC Conference. You may send checks directly to the conference treasurer or through your local church.

Basic Early Response Team training available
There will be a basic Early Response Team (ERT) training available to Elizabeth River and the surrounding districts on Sept. 23, 2017. The event will be led by the Rev. Kirk Culpepper at St. Mark UMC in Portsmouth, Va. Cost is $55 which includes background check fee, materials and ERT T-shirt. Register by contacting Culpepper at 757-434-0078 or email

Grapple with issues facing all Americans today with Wesley Seminary course
Recent events have uncovered the deep racial, political and religious divisions in America. The course, “Church, Politics, and Race in a Polarized Society,” will examine the way these three realities intersect to shape the cultural consciousness and impact public policies as well as explore ways people of faith might bridge these divides and work for a common good in an increasingly polarized society. The course will meet in downtown Washington, D.C., at Mount Vernon Place UMC on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. for six weeks beginning on Oct. 5. For more information, contact Wesley Admissions at or (202) 885-8659. More…

Be part of the Wesleyan Political Theology Project Conference
How can your Wesleyan heritage inform political engagement in today's society? Wesley and the Center for Public Theology invites you to consider this question with noted academics, historians, ethicists, theologians and others involved in politics and government. This two-day academic conference from October 26-27, 2017, is open to the public. Register today - space is limited. Visit link for more information or to register. More…

Start your Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Seminary in January
Take your ministry to the next level with a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Wesley! Applications are still being accepted for the following specializations: “Soul Care for Pastors, Chaplains and Clinicians” and a study in Cambridge, England, in the new specialization “Holiness, Effective Ministry, and Engagement with the World.” For more information, contact Doctor of Ministry Program Director Dr. Lew Parks at

World Communion Sunday is Oct.1
Get ready for World Communion Sunday on Oct. 1 with a free, downloadable kit for pastors and leaders from United Methodist Communications. It includes preaching helps, social media assets, videos, infographics, posters and more. Join with millions of brothers and sisters in a celebration of Communion and generosity that will provide scholarships to students in the United States and around the world. More…

Participate in UMC sexual harassment survey
Sexual misconduct has been a problem in all religions and denominations. Fortunately, The United Methodist Church has been addressing the problem for about three decades, but there is more to do. In efforts to hear from those who work and worship in UM churches and offices, and to better understand the extent, nature, and trends of this problem among both clergy and laity, you are invited by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) to participate in the “2017 Sexual Harassment Survey.” Survey deadline is Oct. 3, 2017. More…

Group to church: Let’s stay together
The new group Uniting Methodists Movement is getting under way with the message that different views of same-gender marriage and gay ordination need not be church-dividing. Two of the group’s leaders are members of the Commission on a Way Forward. More…

Conferences connecting across regional lines
At a rare joint session, the New York Conference and Northern Illinois Conference bishops and their Cabinets shared joys, frustrations and best practices as they discussed what they have in common and what they could learn from each other. It worked so well that they suggest other United Methodist conferences do the same. More…

New Advent outreach resources available
New resources that support local church Advent outreach efforts are now available. The resources carry the theme “Unwrap the true meaning of Christmas” and complement The United Methodist Church’s national Advent advertising campaign, which will feature children sharing about their faith and what Christmas means to them. More…

Commentaries: Two views of centrism
The Rev. Kevin Watson, a professor at United Methodist Candler School of Theology, wrote about his struggles with United Methodist centrism and particularly the Rev. Adam Hamilton’s book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White. Hamilton, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., responded to Watson’s critique and explains why it’s possible to disagree and still be one church. More…

Commentary: Bishop speaks to Way Forward fears
Bishop Gregory Palmer, a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, often senses the anxiety United Methodists feel about the denomination’s future. In a commentary, the bishop , who leads the West Ohio Conference, writes about what moves him away from fear. More…

♦ Small Congregation Leadership team event- Sept. 26, Oct. 14, Nov. 4, 2017
David Canada talks about spiritual disciplines at the “Spring Day Apart” for the diaconate.The Small Congregation Leadership Team invites small church clergy and laity to a day of learning, conversation and discussion with the Rev. David Canada. Event will take place in three locations across the conference: Sept. 26, 2017, Mint Spring UMC, 53 Mint Spring Cir., Staunton; Oct. 14, Wesley Grace UMC, 288 E. Little Creek Rd, Norfolk; or Nov. 4, Chestnut Hill UMC, 4660 Fort Ave., Lynchburg.
The time for each date will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $25 per person with lunch provided.The event is worth 0.5 CEU. Group discounts are available.To register, visit Contact the Center for Congregational Excellence for more information at 804-521-1100 or by emailing or

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy- Oct. 3, 2017
Join in for “Stir up the gift: Fan into flame the gift of God,” a one-day preaching enrichment experience, Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Aldersgate UMC, Charlottesville, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $45. Registration ends Sept. 27. Course is worth 0.5 CEU. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, guest presenter, will give two talks on effective sermon preparation and delivery and preach the closing worship service. Register via the conference website by going to Calendar and then to Oct. 3. For questions, email

♦ 2017 Fall Diaconate Retreat- Oct. 3-4, 2017
The current realities in social, cultural and political lives are calling for more compassion and justice. For such a time as this, there is the diaconate. This retreat, held October 3-4, 2017 at the Eagle Eyrie Retreat Center in Lynchburg, will be a time of renewing baptismal and ordination vows as participants strive for and lead the church in compassion and justice. This event is open to all deacons (ordained and provisional) as well as inquiring or certified candidates.
Retreat leader will be the Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and an ordained deacon in the Virginia Conference.Event will begin 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and conclude at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Registration fee is $150 per person which includes all meals and lodging in a double room. For questions, contact the Rev. Kelley Lane at More…

♦ 5 Talent Academy- Oct. 19, 2017
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Oct. 19 event, "How to Structure your Church for Evangelism" with Jacob Armstrong. Armstrong will lead the event in exploring key principles for evangelism in local church including crafting a vision that fits your mission field, rethinking worship and leadership development and structure. The event will be streamed to locations across the conference. Gather a team from your church to take part. Early bird pricing as well as team discounts are available. Visit link for more information and to register. 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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