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News from the Virginia Conference - September 27, 2018

Update on Hurricane Florence relief efforts and ERT response
The Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference disaster response coordinator, has confirmed this week with the North Carolina Conference Disaster Response staff that teams can begin to deploy to the state from the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Early Response Teams (ERTs) are being asked to come in many areas in North Carolina and ERTs need to go through the operation center in the North Carolina Conference by contacting them at 888-440-9167 or Pihlcrantz emphasized that all ERTs must notify the VAUMC ERT Coordinator Kirk Culpepper when they register with the North Carolina Conference (NCCUMC) and before they deploy in support of Hurricane Florence Response. You can contact Culpepper at or 757-434-0078. At this time only UMCOR ERT teams may deploy and must first register with the NCCUMC Disaster operations center. Later on UMVIM teams will be able to respond as well.

Miss the General Conference 2019 Q&A? Resources and video available now   
Did you miss the livestream event last night with Bishop Lewis, the Rev. Tom Berlin and Martha Stokes covering General Conference 2019, the Commission on a Way Forward and the three plans going before the General Conference body in February 2019? If so, you can still find the resources, presentation slides and the livestream video at the link listed. The conference is appreciative of our speakers last night as well as all the sites who hosted this event. 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!

No e-Advocate for the next two weeks
Just a notice that there will be no e-Advocate for the next two weeks. The e-Advocate will resume for the week of Oct. 15.

Help high-risk children with the UMFS 2018 Offering
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) has treasured their church partnerships since their founding in 1900. Churches have partnered with them as unwavering champions for high-risk children and families, providing dedicated volunteers, much needed prayers and critical donations. UMFS is the Virginia Conference designated offering in December. The money raised through the offering provides critical support to their ministries across the state. This year they are creating bulletin inserts and offering envelopes to assist you with the offering. You can order them online at, or contact Brenda Foster ( or 804.254.9450) by October 15 to let them know how many inserts and envelopes you would like.

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.

Register now for the Middle School and High School Retreats
Register now for the conference retreats offered through the conference Next Generation Ministries office. Deadline for Middle School retreat is Nov. 1 and will be held from Nov. 9-11 at Eagle Eyrie Retreat Center in Lynchburg, Va. High School Retreat deadline is Nov. 20 and will be held from Nov. 30- Dec. 2. Learn more about registration and the event theme at the link. 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

Young clergy still in short supply
Elders under age 35 continue to be rare in The United Methodist Church. And the number of young women elders has dropped for the past three years. Those are two findings of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership's 2018 clergy age trends study of the denomination. More…  

Accident puts family on 'sacred road of suffering'
After a pastor’s son was seriously injured during Hurricane Florence, the United Methodist connection surrounded the family with caring. More…

Healthy newborn symbolizes 1 million goal
Marie Ngombe’s healthy newborn is one in a million. Specifically, her baby is one of 376,122 children already assisted by Abundant Health, the global health initiative of The United Methodist Church, as part of a commitment to reach 1 million children with life-saving interventions by 2020. More…

African bishops won’t support call for dissolution of UMC
Bishops in Africa have resolved not to support any proposed legislation that calls for splitting The United Methodist Church over the issue of human sexuality, according to a statement released on Monday, September 24, 2018. “We do not support any legislation that calls for the dissolution of The United Methodist Church. We uphold our values as a connectional and worldwide church committed to ‘Making disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world’,” the bishops said. In the statement released by Africa College of Bishops President Bishop John K. Yambasu, the African bishops further resolved to support and pray for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward as the denomination prepares for the Special Session of The United Methodist Church next year in St. Louis, Missouri. More…

Survey: More preaching on abuse in #MeToo age
Half of Protestant pastors say they preach to their churches about domestic and sexual violence, an increase from four years ago, when only a third said they raised the issue, a new survey shows. During a panel discussion, United Methodist Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi said training and preaching are necessary to confront both abuse and harassment, but also can be used to address the earliest stages of a predator’s attempts to get to know a potential victim. 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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