April 10 to be conference-wide day
to pray for General Conference

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has invited each annual conference to designate one day to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil for General Conference. These prayer vigils began on Jan. 1 with the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and are continuing through the 131 days from Jan. 1 to May 10, the opening day of General Conference. Because The United Methodist Church has 131 annual conferences throughout the world, each annual conference is able to take one day.

Bishop Young Jin Cho selected Sunday, April 10, to be the day for the Virginia Conference prayer vigil. Each district is invited to plan activities using resources being developed on both the conference and general church levels. (Scroll down the page for resources.)

Organizers are encouraging districts to use a Prayer Wheel to allow all congregations on the district to sign up for half-hour or one-hour increments so there will be 24 hours of continuous prayer beginning at 12 a.m. April 10 and continuing until 12 a.m. April 11. As part of this initiative, the chapel in the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will be open for prayer. In addition, all congregations are asked to include the prayer initiative in their Sunday services on that day.

District Plans

Arlington and Alexandria Districts - have asked all district churches to sign up for at least one hour to cover all 24 hours with prayers on April 10. What they do during those hours is up to each church. Some will meet and pray together as a congregation. Some are praying during their "prayer meeting hours," and others are organizing special prayer services. For more information, contact Keiko Foster at keikofoster@vaumc.org. As of March 9, the following churches had signed up to participate in the prayer vigil:

Alexandria District
12 (midnight)-1 a.m. - District office staff
1-2 a.m. - Mount Vernon, Sydenstricker, Warrenton and Woodlawn-Faith
2-4 a.m. - Ghana Wesley
4-5 a.m. - Accotink-Cana
5-6 a.m. - Sudley
6-8 a.m. - Grace
8-9 a.m. - Old Bridge
8:30-9 a.m. - St. George’s
9-10 a.m. - Silverbrook
10-11 a.m. - Wesley and Del Ray
11 a.m.-12 p.m. - Spirit & Life and St. Paul (St. Paul will also pray for GC at their Wednesday prayer meetings April 13-May 25)
12–1 p.m. - Springfield and Washington Farm
1-2 p.m. - St. Matthew’s
2-3 p.m. - Franconia
3-4 p.m. - Fairlington, Bethel (Fauquier), Washington Street and Buckhall
4-5 p.m. - Good Shepherd
5-6 p.m. - Messiah
6-7 p.m. - Cranford and Bethel (Woodbridge)
7-8 p.m. - St. Stephen’s
8-9 p.m. - New Light
8-8:30 p.m. - ARISE Campus Ministry
8:30- 9 p.m. - St. John’s
9-10 p.m. - Beverley Hills, Annandale
10-11 p.m. - Robert’s Memorial
11 p.m.-12 a.m. - Annandale
Christ Church will participate 5:30-6:30 a.m. Monday, April 12, and 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 13

Arlington District
12 (midnight)-1 a.m. - District office staff
1-2 a.m. - Culmore
2-5 a.m. - Korean UMC of Greater Washington
5-6 a.m. - Culmore
6-7 a.m. - Calloway, Mt. Olivet, Trinity and Graham Road
7–8 a.m. - Floris and Dulin
8-8:30 a.m. - Community of Faith and Pleasant Valley
8:30- 9 a.m. - Church of the Good Shepherd
9 a.m.-12 p.m. - Oakton
9:30-10:30 a.m. - Bruen Chapel
11 a.m.-12 p.m. - St. Luke’s
12–1 p.m. - Great Falls and Andrew Chapel
1-2 p.m. - Wesley
2-4:30 p.m. - Galilee & The Chapel at Lansdowne Woods
4:30-5 p.m. - Arlington Temple
5-6 p.m. - Epiphany
6-7 p.m. - Central
7-8 p.m. - St. Mark’s
8-9 p.m. - Christ Crossman
9-10 p.m. - Pender
10-11 p.m. - The Vine
11 p.m.-12 a.m. - Pender

Charlottesville District - is using Sign Up Genius, an online sign-up program, to allow district churches to sign up for the prayer vigil. To sign up or view the schedule, go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0a45a9af2fa6fe3-prayer.  More than one individual can sign up for each 30-minute time slot.  A special thank you to Pam Baldwin, Marc Rickabaugh and Linda Truslow for working on the prayer vigil.

Eastern Shore District - has designed a Prayer Wheel to allow all congregations on the district to sign up for one-hour increments so there will be 24 hours of continuous prayer on April 10 beginning Saturday night at midnight through Sunday until midnight. In addition, all congregations are asked to include the prayer initiative in their Sunday services on April 10. Contact the district office at easternshoredistrict@vaumc.org or call (757) 665-6295 for more information on available time slots for the Eastern Shore District prayer vigil or go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044aaeab2faa8-prayer.

Elizabeth River District - churches are participating in the 24-hour prayer vigil. Each hour on April 10 from midnight to midnight will be covered in prayer by two or three churches from the district. Each church has been sent prayer resources including names of Virginia Conference delegates to General Conference, candidates for bishop, devotions from the Upper Room, and a synopsis of issues that will be discussed at General Conference. In addition, two workshops are being held that day to make strands of prayer beads for General Conference delegates. One workshop will be at Community UMC in Virginia Beach and another at New Creation/Aldersgate in Chesapeake. McKendree UMC in Norfolk will hold a prayer service for General Conference at 5 p.m. on April 10. Some churches are planning prayer times in their small groups or opening their chapels for prayer throughout the day. For more information, contact Ellen Clements, District Program Coordinator, at ellenclements@vaumc.org.

Farmville District - To maintain the vigil of prayer for 24 hours on April 10, the Farmville District Leadership Team created a schedule. They took all churches of the district and randomly assigned 20-minute blocks of time, during which that church is responsible to pray. It is up to the individual pastors to ensure that their respective churches do pray throughout their 20-minute block, by whatever means they choose. Some will be at their church, asking the congregation to come pray with them there, others may simply remain at home, making phone calls just ahead of time to select members. Congregations may use whatever means (these or any other) that suits them the best. In the schedule sent to pastors, there is an empty column labeled "Door 2 Door Prayer" that is present so pastors can ask congregants (especially youth) during the weeks before April 10, to ask their neighbors/friends/associates/strangers what they would like prayer for. These can be added in the Door 2 Door column. Then, on April 10, these prayers can be included with those for General Conference. For more information, contact the Rev. Randy Kiel at (434) 292-3400.
12-12:20 a.m. - Centenary - J. Drinkard
12:15-12:35 a.m. - Mt. Harmony - Nona Allen
12:30-12:50 a.m. - Asbury - James Brown
12:45-1:05 a.m. - Farmville - Mike Kendall
1-1:20 a.m. - Trinity - Dan Walker
1:15-1:35 a.m. - Zion - Kent Wise
1:30-1:55 a.m. - Prospect - K. Thrasher
1:50-2:10 a.m. - Mount Pleasant - Nona Allen
2:05-2:25 a.m. - Rocky Mount - Rebecca Trovalli-Cook
2:20-2:40 a.m. - Jamieson Memorial - John Bright
2:35-2:55 a.m. - Brown's Chapel - Rebecca Trovalli-Cook
2:50-3:10 a.m. - Salem - June Carpenter
3:05-3:25 a.m. - Olive Branch - George Schaefer
3:20-3:40 a.m. - Mount Tabor - Don Collins
3:35-3:55 a.m. - Rehobeth - Red Moore
3:50-4:10 a.m. - Brodnax - Pam Pickard
4:05-4:25 a.m. - Rehobeth - Mike Day
4:20-4:40 a.m. - Lebanon - Ben Taylor
4:35-4:55 a.m. - Southall Memorial - Allan Murphy
4:50-5:10 a.m. - Antioch - Ben Taylor
5:05-5:25 a.m. - Cherry Hill - Patricia Nielsen
5:20-5:40 a.m. - Rocky Hill - Randy Kiel
5:35-5:55 a.m. - St. Marks - Mike Johnson
5:50-6:10 a.m. - Smyrna - George Schaefer
6:05-6:25 a.m. - Mount Cana - Randolph Holmes
6:20-6:40 a.m. - Fields - Randy Baisey
6:35-6:55 a.m. - Ward's Chapel - Lisa Meyers
6:50-7:10 a.m. - Hobson's Chapel - Jerry Drinkard
7:05-7:25 a.m. - Olive Branch - Randy Williams
7:20-7:40 a.m. - Meherrin - Larry Lehman
7:35-7:55 a.m. - Mt. Calvary - Justin Hicks
7:50-8:10 a.m. - Bethel - Jennifer Fletcher
8:05-8:25 a.m. - Scottsburg - Kerry Halbert
8:20-8:40 a.m. - Phenix - Mike Teixeira
8:35-8:55 a.m. - Woodland - Don Collins
8:50-9:10 a.m. - Cedar Grove - Bonnie Pizzeck
9:05-9:25 a.m. - Memorial - Russell Cheatham
9:20-9:40 a.m. - Keysville - Loretta Benninghove
9:35-9:55 a.m. - Macedonia - Jennifer Fletcher
9:50-10:10 a.m. - Glenmore - Betty Marshall
10:05-10:25 a.m. - Centenary - Marsha Davis
10:20-10:40 a.m. - Kingswood - Mike Day
10:35-10:55 a.m. - Piney Ridge - Herndon Jeffreys
10:50-11:10 a.m. - Mt. Carmel - Mike Teixeira
11:05-11:25 a.m. - Halifax - Thad Decker
11:20-11:40 a.m. - Payne Memorial - Jerry Drinkard
11:35-11:55 a.m. - McKendree - James Brown
11:50 a.m.-12:10 p.m. - Tabernacle - Dan Walker
12:05-12:25 p.m. - Mt. Laurel - Don Pizzeck
12:20-12:40 p.m. - Harmony - Bonnie Pizzeck
12:35-12:55 p.m. - Charlotte C.H. - Justin Hicks
12:50-1:10 p.m. - Trinity - Jody Jessup
1:05-1:25 p.m. - Beulah - Nona Allen
1:20-1:40 p.m. - Pamplin - Herndon Jeffreys
1:35-1:55 p.m. - Shady Grove - Shayne Estes
1:50-2:10 p.m. - South Hill - Brian Siegle
2:05-2:25 p.m. - Easters - Sandra McMillen
2:20-2:40 p.m. - Thrifts - Mike Johnson
2:35-2:55 p.m. - Wesley Foundation - Richard Meiser
2:50-3:10 p.m. - Bethel - Lisa Meyers
3:05-3:25 p.m. - Centenary - Herndon Jeffreys
3:20-3:40 p.m. - Main Street - Ed Rigg
3:35-3:55 p.m. - Hebron - Justin Hicks
3:50-4:10 p.m. - Glenwood - Ohhwan Freedman Kim
4:05-4:25 p.m. - Clover - Kerry Halbert
4:20-4:40 p.m. - Lebanon - Justin Hicks
4:35-4:55 p.m. - Arvonia - Betty Davis
4:50-5:10 p.m. - Lawrenceville - John Jones
5:05-5:25 p.m. - Union Chapel - John Connor
5:20-5:40 p.m. - Boydton - Sandra McMillen
5:35-5:55 p.m. - Plantersville - Red Moore
5:50-6:10 p.m. - Epworth - June Carpenter
6:05-6:25 p.m. - LaCrosse - Jerry Malone
6:20-6:40 p.m. - Antioch - Richard Meiser
6:35-6:55 p.m. - Evergreen - Herndon Jeffreys
6:50-7:10 p.m. - Kenbridge - Tim Beck
7:05-7:25 p.m. - Jetersville - June Carpenter
7:20-7:40 p.m. - Bethel - Callie Jacksoon
7:35-7:55 p.m. - Thomas Chapel - Richard Bucher
7:50-8:10 p.m. - Grace - Randy Kiel
8:05-8:25 p.m. - Laurel Hill - Michael Johnson
8:20-8:40 p.m. - Oakwood - Giani Manieri
8:35-8:55 p.m. - Trinity - Don Collins
8:50-9:10 p.m. - Rock - Randy Williams
9:05-9:25 p.m. - Friendship - Randy Baisey
9:20-9:40 p.m. - Williams - Alan Layman
9:35-9:55 p.m. - Victoria - Kyungsuk Cho
9:50-10:10 p.m. - Shiloh - Kent Wise
10:05-10:25 p.m. - Prospect - George Schaefer
10:20-10:40 p.m. - Butterwood - Randy Kiel
10:35-10:55 p.m. - White Hall - Billy Swan
10:50-11:10 p.m. - Ephesus - Randy Baisey
11:05-11:25 p.m. - Antioch - Alan Layman
11:20-11:40 p.m. - Centenary - Betty Marshall
11:15-11:35 p.m. - Salem - Kent Wise
11:30-11:50 p.m. - Sardis - Linda Betit-Buck
11:35-11:55 p.m. - Hanes Chapel - Rebecca Trovalli-Cook
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - Providence - Jody Jessup
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m - Bethany - Paul Beighley
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - Journey - Mike Davis
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - Olive Branch - Ohhwan Freedman Kim
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - Union - Tony Johnson
11-11:20 p.m. - St. Johns - Callie Jacksoon
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - New Hope - Allan Murphy
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - Crenshaw - Celeste Heath
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m. - McCanless Memorial - Joe Trickey
11:40 p.m.-12 a.m - Bethel - Billy Swan

Fredericksburg District - has asked each district church to take responsibility for praying for one day from March 9 through the last day of General Conference (May 21) so that the entire period will be bathed in prayer. Each congregation is invited to organize in whatever manner it chooses and to invite its members to pray for the UMC, for the General Conference gathering and for delegates. The Rev. Jarvis Bailey, district program director, and the Rev. Gerry Headley, district prayer coordinator, created the following prayer vigil schedule:
March 9 - Afton
March 10 - Andrew Chapel (Stafford)
March 11 - Andrew Chapel (Westmoreland)
March 12 - Antioch
March 13 - Asbury
March 14 - Bethany (Reedville)
March 15 - Bethel (Hanover)
March 16 - Bethel (Lancaster)
March 17 - Bluff Point
March 18 - Bowling Green
March 19 - Calvary
March 20 - Carmel
March 21 - Coles Point
March 22 - Colonial Beach
March 23 - Dahlgren
March 24 - Eastland
March 25 - Ebenezer (Oldhams)
March 26 - Ebenezer (Stafford)
March 27 - Edgewater
March 28 - Emmanuel
March 29 - Epworth
March 30 - Fairfields
March 31 - Falmouth
April 1 - Fletcher's Chapel
April 2 - Fredericksburg
April 3 - Galilee
April 4 - Grace (Hartwood)
April 5 - Grace (Oak Grove)
April 6 - Heathsville
April 7 - Henderson
April 8 - Hillcrest
April 9 - Hopewell (Caroline)
April 10 - Hopewell (Lancaster)
April 11 - Irvington
April 12 - Kilmarnock
April 13 - Lebanon (Dunnsville)
April 14 - Lebanon (Montross)
April 15 - Liberty
April 16 - McKendree
April 17 - Melrose
April 18 - Midland
April 19 - Mila
April 20 - Mizpah
April 24 - New Hope
April 25 - Oakland
April 26 - Olivet
April 27 - Peace
April 28 - Providence (Bruington)
April 29 - Providence (Montross)
April 30 - Regester Chapel
May 1 - Rehoboth (Caroline)
May 2 - Rehoboth (Northumberland)
May 3 - Remington
May 4 - Salem
May 5 - Shady Grove
May 6 - Shepherds
May 7 - Shiloh
May 8 - St. Matthias
May 9 - St. Pauls
May 10 - Tabernacle
May 11 - Tappahannock Memorial
May 12 - Trinity (Catlett)
May 13 - Trinity (King George)
May 14 - Trinity (Lebanon)
May 15 - Warsaw
May 16 - Wesleyan
May 17 - White Stone
May 18 - Wicomico
May 19 - Wilderness Community
May 20 - Wright's Chapel
May 21 - Zio

James River District - is using Sign Up Genius, an online sign-up program, to allow district churches to sign up for the prayer vigil. Churches are asked to choose one or more half-hour spaces to lift prayers for all those preparing for General Conference 2016. To sign up or view the schedule, go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0a49acac2da0fd0-general.

Richmond District - Superintendent Pete Moon sent the following letter to all pastors in his district:
Dear Richmond District Pastors,
     I would once again like to encourage each of you and your congregations to deliberately engage the Bishop’s call to prayer on April 10th.
     All of us are aware of the critical nature of our upcoming General Conference. As I travel around the District, I continue to encounter a mixture of fear, cynicism, and guarded hope around the upcoming gathering of our United Methodist Church. As I have prepared for the upcoming days, I have found the words of Psalm 46 particularly helpful. In these days of surging spiritual waters and quaking mountains, the reminder that God is our refuge and strength rises with a particularly appropriate and timely Easter message. Corrie Ten Boom used to say “There is no pit so deep that he is not deeper still.” The words of Scripture and the message of the resurrection remind me and all of us that God is even deeper than General Conference.
     However, the conviction of this truth and the power that rises from it does not occur nominally. It occurs when we as the people of God pray. A long time ago I learned that cynicism is really just lazy grief and faith. Prayer is always the cure for spiritual sloth.
     And so I invite us to heed the Bishop’s call to prayer on April 10th. Each congregation on the District is invited to prayer as you would like. It seems particularly fitting, however, for each church to develop a 24-hour prayer vigil. At the very least, I am hopeful that every church on the District will devote time in worship for this key time in the life of our church. Please know that I will be in prayer at 3:00 AM and invite every church on the District to place my name on your sign-up sheet for that hour!
     Please take a look at some of the resources the Upper Room has provided. You can find them at this site: http://60daysofprayer.org/prayer-vigils/.
     In addition, you may want to take a look at a very old book that Abindgon has recently reprinted from Francis Asbury entitled, “The Causes, Evils, and Cures of Heart and Church Divisions.” I am reading through that now.
     Finally, please take a moment after reading this note to respond to me to let me know how you and your congregation will be joining this prayer vigil. I look forward to hearing great stories of how we participate in this important work together, and more importantly, how God uses our prayers to make a difference during this critical season in our church. I am looking forward to joining all of you in prayer on April 10th!

The Rev. Chris Bennett, pastor of St. Matthew’s UMC in the Richmond District, responded that his church Leadership Council decided to devote time in worship to praying for General Conference and then to invite others, through various means, to set aside time on April 10 to pray on their own.

Roanoke District - is using Sign Up Genius, an online sign-up program, to allow all congregations on the district to sign up in half-hour increments so there will be 24 hours of continuous prayer. One slot is available for each of the 70 district churches, so there will be 24 hours of continuous prayer. Each church pastor/lay leader should select a 30-minute slot and have one person sign up for their church to indicate that they have committed to cover that particular time in prayer. To sign up for the prayer vigil or view the schedule, go to www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F054CAAA628ABF49-2016 .  Additional prayer activities and locations are encouraged considering the individual character of each church. More resources are available. For more information, contact Carol Beville, prayer vigil coordinator, at (540) 343-0445.

Staunton District - is also using Sign Up Genius to enable churches to step forward for one-hour increments, so that churches and individuals will be praying continuously on April 10, from Saturday midnight through Sunday until midnight. (To sign up or view the schedule, go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f054fa5a72fa5fa7-conference.) In addition, all congregations have been asked to include the prayer initiative in Sunday services on April 10. DS Dave Rochford made the invitation this way: “I want to call on our Staunton District churches to pray for the discernment and work of the General Conference, the only body that speaks for the entire UMC, on April 10, but also on every Sunday until May 10.  Of course many of us are anxious and have passionate beliefs about what changes should or should not be made, but my hope is that we together will pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the Conference in the discernment of God’s Will for our Church.  I think God will be pleased by our praying with earnest and humble hearts on this matter, because no one of us is fully in possession of God’s Will.” For more information, contact Beth Christian, director of Congregational Resources, at (540) 932-1055 or (804) 347-5999.

Winchester District - has asked district pastors and churches to sign up online using Sign Up Genius to designate the hour they will be praying for General Conference on April 10. They can pray in their homes, local churches, or sitting in the woods. The district set up three slots per hour. Some of those slots will be individuals praying and some small groups coming together to pray. For more information, contact  Martha Reynolds, director of Congregational Excellence, at MarthaReynolds@vaumc.org or (540) 662-7332.

York River District - is using Sign Up Genius, an online sign-up program, to allow district churches to sign up for the prayer vigil. All congregations are asked to participate. There are 68 congregations in the York River District (67 churches and one Wesley Foundation). Total time of the prayer vigil is 24 hours or 1440 minutes, allowing each district congregation a 22-minute segment. So, each pastor is asked to register his or her church to cover one 22-minute segment of this 24-hour period. Pastors are asked to recruit persons to come together and pray specifically for General Conference during this 24-hour period. To sign up or view the schedule, go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f044da5ab2ba13-general. For more information, contact Shannon Sixbey, Program coordinator, at programs@yorkriverdistrict.org or (757) 596-3476.

Prayer Vigil Resources

Suggested Prayer for General Conference Prayer Vigil (pdf)
Prayer Resources for the Bishop’s Prayer Initiative —131 Days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (pdf)
The Upper Room 60 Days of Prayer (pdf)
General Conference 2016 Labyrinth Request Quilters Needed (pdf)
Acts 9 Scripture and Ideas  
Wonder, Love, and Praise: Sharing a Vision of the Church  
John 21 Scritpure and Ideas       
Psalm 30 Scripture and Ideas  
Revelation 5 Scripture and Ideas    
Book of Worship Resources    
Lectionary Scriptures for April 10     
Why Do We Gather? an article by Benjamin Pratt  



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