4,000 Virginia United Methodists to gather in Hampton June 20-22

Nearly 4,000 clergy and laity representatives of United Methodist churches across Virginia will gather at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Va., June 20-22 for the Annual Conference meeting of worship, mission projects, celebration of ministries and conducting the business of the Virginia (regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church. Theme of the gathering is “Lord, Renew Us With Your Spirit.”

An equal number of laity and clergy make up the voting members at the Virginia Annual Conference, which is composed of 1,196 local churches covering the entire state of Virginia — except the section west of Christiansburg, which is part of the Holston Conference.

Annual Conference will begin with separate meetings of the clergy and laity at 1 p.m. Friday, June 20. Annual Conference business sessions will begin at 3 p.m.

Bishop Young Jin Cho, the first Korean-American to lead the Virginia Conference and the first Korean-American elected bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, will preside over conference sessions.

Bishop Cho will deliver an Episcopal Address at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, June 20.


Ordination of new clergy will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21. Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr., leader of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference, will preach. Thirteen men and women will be ordained elders; one will be ordained deacon; 22 will be commissioned as provisional members; one will have orders from another denomination recognized; and 26 will be licensed as local pastors.

A memorial service to remember those who died since the last Annual Conference session will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20. The Rev. Dr. Rhonda VanDyke Colby, vice president for Student Life at Shenandoah University in Winchester, will preach.

The Rev. Jim Noland, senior pastor of Reveille United Methodist Church in Richmond, will preach at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 21, during a service recognizing pastors who are retiring this year.

Bishop Cho will preach for the closing worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 22. The service will include announcements of pastor appointments to all the churches in the conference.

Study leader will be the Rev. Dr. Elmer Colyer, professor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa and pastor of a United Methodist congregation.

Helping others

During a mission worship service at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 21, a special offering will be taken to support a variety of ministries, including Imagine No Malaria, a denomination-wide effort to end malaria in Africa; Cambodia church construction and Christian education; Mozambique lay leadership and communication training; Brazil Shade and Fresh Water program for street children; promotion of mission engagement of Virginia Conference small membership churches; Community Outreach Program in Roanoke; Agape Children’s Center in Horntown; and connection of Virginia Conference churches with Haiti mission projects.

Speaker during the mission service will be Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr., leader of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference.

In response to natural disasters in the United States and abroad, local churches will bring kits of critically needed items to conference for distribution through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Health Kits, School Kits, Baby/Layette Kits, Birthing Kits and Cleaning Buckets will be collected in two or more semi-trailers to be driven to UMCOR distribution sites. Collection site will be the Hampton Roads Convention Center far northeast parking lot, off Pine Chapel Road. Collection hours are 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, and 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 21.

On Saturday, June 21, at 5:30 a.m. in the Best Lot (corner of Pine Chapel Road and Coliseum Drive) in Hampton, volunteers will help bag and load more than 20 tons of donated potatoes to be picked up by regional food banks, church pantries, soup kitchens and other local feeding agencies. Co-sponsored by the Society of Saint Andrew, a national, nonprofit food salvage hunger-relief program, the potato drop will provide 120,000 to 135,000 servings of food to the region’s poor and hungry. Bagging is expected to be completed before 7:30 a.m.

Those attending the conference will also be bringing canned goods or boxed dry foods to be given to the Peninsula Food Bank. The food will be collected near the truck with the "Food Bank" banner in the Convention Center far northeast parking lot near the Kits Collection area.


In business sessions, members will consider seven resolutions, including one petitioning The United Methodist Church to be more open to homosexuals, one calling on the church to divest from fossil fuel companies, one calling on the U.S. government and the state of Virginia to increase the minimum wage, one urging a moratorium on hydro-fracturing for gas and oil in Virginia, and one calling on the Virginia General Assembly to enact legislation banning questions about criminal history from job applications.

Annual Conference is scheduled to end early afternoon on Sunday, June 22.

More information about this year’s session, including live streaming of the entire event and the complete agenda for the conference, is available on the conference website at www.vaumc.org/ac2014.




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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center