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In 2017, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared the vision of the conference "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve." 

    • How can you be a lifelong learner this week? As our local churches remain closed during the pandemic, continue to support your local church and attend their online worship services. Also consider checking in to worship services/experiences from around the conference. List of churches at link.
    • How can you be an influencer this week? Support our clergy and church staff as they continue to lead and work during COVID-19. Pray for their strength and health as they maintain the work of the church. 
    • How can you serve this week? Check on those you know in sectors helping to fight COVID-19 on the front lines. How can you assist them? Help be a support systems for those supporting us. 

News from the Virginia Conference - March 24, 2020

 

Online giving solutions for churches offered through VANCO
Learn more about online giving at your local church in the midst of the pandemic and the closure of churches to in-person worship. The conference Treasurer's Office provides more information with an offer from VANCO. More... 

Bishop Lewis encourages daily noon prayer during pandemic
Bishop Lewis is inviting the Virginia Conference to daily prayer at noon during the pandemic. Last week she shared in a letter, "I would like to thank several of you that have suggested a corporate prayer time for the Virginia Annual Conference. I am very blessed to lead an annual conference that believes in the power of the petitioned prayer! Please join me at 12 noon every day and pray the printed prayer listed on the website. Let us invoke the power of the Great Physician to do a mighty work in eradicating this disease all over the world." More... 

FAQ document shared concerning recent Virginia Conference response, precautions to COVID-19
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document was shared March 16 in order to share important dates for the Virginia Conference to know in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread document was shared March 16 on the CDC website. Due to these changes, in-person worship services are now cancelled for churches in the Virginia Conference on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Please refer to this document going forward as all changes in precautions and important dates will be noted here. As more information is released by Bishop Lewis in the coming days and weeks, the conference website and this document will be updated accordingly. More...

Clergy reminded to check vaumc.org email addresses
As Bishop Lewis and conference leadership continue to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, you can find the latest news and precautions on the conference website at: https://vaumc.org/Coronavirus2020. Clergy are reminded that this news is also being sent to your vaumc.org email addresses, and it is imperative that clergy are checking in with the latest information being released by the conference office. Following directives from national and state officials, these communications will be updated as necessary and precautions now in place will be changed or extended as the bishop and conference leaders continue to monitor the situation. You can also forward your vaumc.org email addresses to your primary email address to cut down on the number of email accounts you are checking. More information here.

Bishop, Cabinet share March projected appointments
Bishop Lewis and the Cabinet shared the March projected appointments on March 23, 2020. You can find these as well as other projected appointments for 2020 on the conference website. More... 

Join DCM for listening sessions for clergy to discuss worship during coronavirus pandemic
Clergy and local church staff and volunteers are being asked to think creatively and adapt as the world is overwhelmed by COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its effect on the health and well-being of individuals all over the world. As leaders look to maintain best practices for the health of national, state and local communities, how are church leaders to best share opportunities for weekly worship and fellowship all while observing safety protocols such as social distancing and quarantines? Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith will offer two listening sessions for clergy to share their thoughts on 1) their new pastoral leadership model and 2) new worship and social connection best practices.

          •    Session 1: Wednesday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
               Join at: https://zoom.us/j/828920902 or by dialing 1-646-876-9923; Meeting ID: 828920302#


          •    Session 2: Thursday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
               Join at: https://zoom.us/j/817813475  or by dialing 1-646-876-9923; Meeting ID: 817813475#

These sessions will be recorded for later viewing as well.

Alignment 2020: Connection Opportunities is the way the conference Connectional Ministries office is better aligning with the conference vision and as a resource to local churches. Be on the lookout for monthly webinars with topics such as worship during the coronavirus and discipleship, other communications from Smith and ongoing ways you can provide your feedback to the conference office.

View information about Annual Conference 2020
You can access all the latest news concerning Annual Conference 2020 on the conference website. Information now available is housing information as well as requests for the Display Space. More... 

Deadline for nominations for Harry Denman awards extended
The deadline for nominations for the Harry Denman Award for Discipleship has been extended until Mar. 27. Is anyone in your congregation someone who goes above and beyond when it comes to discipleship?  Perhaps they are involved in youth or family ministry and have helped many people to have a relationship with God or they are involved in a local mission that has influenced lives for Christ. They can be clergy, laity and/or youth.  Each year the Board of Discipleship recognizes one person in each category who displays discipleship in their lives. Go to https://www.vaumc.org/Denman to get a nomination form and send it to Becky Tate at BeckyTate@vaumc.org or mail it to her attention at VAUMC, PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058. 

40 Days of Lent: Find your own spiritual path
During Ash Wednesday services on the first day of Lent, many United Methodist pastors invited their congregations "to observe a holy Lent: by self–examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self–denial; and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word" (from the United Methodist Book of Worship). While you may be aware of this season leading up to Easter, you may wonder how you might "observe a holy Lent." There is no one prescribed way. Instead, we are each encouraged to find our own method of confronting our sinfulness, remembering our mortality, and giving thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. More... 

Retired bishops find new roles in local congregation
There’s a great guy named Pete at Williamsburg UMC. Teaches Sunday school. Helps out with worship now and then. Plays in the church orchestra. Serves in the church’s ministry with persons who are homeless. Delivers flowers to shut-ins. If you knew Pete, you’d like him. Well, actually, folks around the Virginia Conference do know him. But by a different name … Pete is Bishop Peter D. Weaver, who served as interim bishop of the Virginia Conference while Bishop Sharma D. Lewis was on medical leave in 2019. “It is refreshing to be in the Body of Christ ‘just as you are, without one plea’ or title!” Weaver said of his home church since 2012. “It's great to be called by my real name, Pete. Peter was the name given to me at my Baptism which, I believe, is the ‘essential credential’ of ministry for lay and clergy, not all these other titles or degrees.” Read more of this article...

New scholarship established in partnership with conference Center for Clergy Excellence
The Center for Clergy Excellence, in partnership with the Clergywomen’s Collective, is pleased to announce the establishment of a new scholarship for women enrolled in seminary or course of study programs in preparation for ministry. The Servant Sister Scholarship honors the women who have paved the way for all women in ministry in the Virginia Conference. It will support conference women committed to ministries of word, worship and witness who demonstrate potential for developing creative ministries for a more just world. The goal of $10,000 to create the endowment is nearly achieved. Help grow this scholarship with your contribution, already supported by laity, deacons, elders and bishops. The first scholarship will be awarded fall semester 2020. As the endowment grows, so will the capacity to assist more women, with the goal to award at least one scholarship each semester. Every gift received is valuable. Please make your contribution to The Virginia United Methodist Foundation, memo: Servant Sister Scholarship. Address: P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23060. For more information, contact Jan Rivero at janrivero@vaumc.org.

Join Mission Encounter this summer
Are you looking to learn more about issues important to you, your family and your church?  Are you seeking to grow spiritually as you come upon stories, scripture and information that may help you deal with these issues? This summer join Mission Encounter July 24, 25, and 26 at Smith Mountain Lake. The United Methodist Women (UMW) and the Board of Global Ministries work together in creating this weekend event for the Virginia Conference, providing important studies of interest and purpose. One continuing education credit is offered for full participation in the weekend and the registration fee is all inclusive with meals and lodging. Study books are typically a nominal fee and can be ordered through the UMWmissionresources.org.
The topics and presenters this year are spot-on with their pertinence and significance in helping to discover peace in our lives and in learning more about important social justice issues. Here is the list of this summer’s study offerings:

  •     -Spiritual Growth Study: Finding Peace in an Anxious World    Leaders: Rev. Nancy Robinson, Rev. Rick Geoghegan, Rev. Dr. Clayton Childers
       
       - Spiritual Growth Youth Study: Managing Anxiety (Saturday event for youth and leaders) 
        Dr. Jan Nicholson, Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Life, Ferrum College

      -  Issue Study: Pushout - The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
        Dr. Jack Call, Professor of Criminal Justice, Radford University
        Judy Diggs, Director of Equity, Diversity and Tiered Interventions for Montgomery County Public Schools

       - Special Publication: Women United for Change: 150 Years in Mission
        Louise Miller, Conference UMW Archivist

        This event is highly encouraged for all those who work or volunteer in children’s or youth ministry, mission ministry, clergy, UMW members, UMM members, and anyone who wants to learn more and grow deeper in their understanding of how faith and commitment to a just and peaceful world are important.  More information and registration may be found at the link or by contacting Darlene Runaldue, Mission Encounter dean, at darrunaldue@gmail.org. More... 

Nominations now open for Virginia Conference lay leader
Warren R. Harper will conclude service as Virginia Conference Lay Leader in June 2020. The search process for the next Conference Lay Leader is underway. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church states that the Conference Lay Leader is “the elected leader of the conference laity” who has “responsibility for fostering awareness of the role of the laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community, and world in achieving the mission of the Church and enabling and supporting lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, district, and local church in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents, and pastors” (¶607, 2016 Book of Discipline). The Conference Lay Leader shall be elected for a term of not less than four years by the annual conference as the annual conference may determine. The application for service as the Conference Lay Leader is available in the link below. Interested persons should contact John Meeuwissen, Search Committee chair, with any questions at 7900 Bressingham Dr, Fairfax Station, VA 22039-3156; john.meeuwissen@verizon.net. Nominations profiles must be submitted by March 31, 2020. The Search Committee seeks your prayers as they move through this process. More... 

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General Conference to move to 2021
Subsequent to the announcement by the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference that the 2020 General Conference will be postponed, the full Commission met March 21, 2020 to determine next steps to take in setting a new date. After hearing recommendations from Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the General Conference, and discussion of possible alternatives, the Commission made a determination that the General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned and elected to work toward setting a date in 2021. “As we looked at the complex issues that we will need to navigate to reschedule the event and the lack of options available, it does not appear feasible to plan for 2020,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission. “These issues include the undetermined length of the pandemic, uncertainty around travel bans in different areas of the world, delays in processing visas due to government and business closures and other questions.” In giving direction for next steps, the Commission resolved that holding the event in Minneapolis is a high priority and authorized the business manager to pursue negotiations regarding other dates available at the Minneapolis Convention Center in 2021. More...

In GC2020 delay, leaders see needed pause
General Conference delegates and other United Methodist leaders agreed that postponing General Conference was necessary, given the global health emergency that COVID-19 represents. They also spoke of the need to use this slowdown to pray and prioritize caring for the vulnerable. More...

How to talk to kids about the coronavirus
The Child Mind Instutite has shared a resource on how to talk about the pandemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be.More...


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