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Sunday Morning

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Bishop Lewis started the morning by recognized all the fathers in the gathering as it is Father's Day.

Lizzy Lawrence came to the stage to pray. Lizzy is a member of Christ United Methodist Church on the Alexandria District.  She is an incoming co-chair of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries.

The Rev. Stan Thompson brought a report from the Minutes Committee. It was approved.

David Dommissee brought the reports of the Statistitian and Treasurer. Statistics show we are still in decline but the conference has 320,000 members and over 100,000 in worship every week. The conference has over 95,000 in small groups. Some 3,300 persons were received by professions of faith and 2,400 were baptized. Some 75,000 serve in mission reaching over 1 million in our communities and around the world. Financial resources are good. Virginia Conference church members tithed $200 million. Church owned assets generated $25 million. Health care costs have gone up but Pensions is keeping it under control. Dommisse summarised, "We have 1,000 active clergy serving the conference led by one great bishop!"

Dommissee moved on to the Treasurer's Report. 2.6 percent increase over 2016, 881 churches paid 100 percent of their apportionments. The lowest number ever paid 0 and some of those churches were closed this year. Some $2.5 million was given in second mile giving, much of it to hurricane relief. The conference is in strong financial position.

Betty Forbes came to the stage to present the report from the Council on Finance and Administration. The 2019 budget is $31,615,000. It is a reduction over the 2018 budget. The district superintendents salaries have been increased to $90,000, the first increase in eight years.

Larry Thompson presented an amendment to incease Va. Council of Churches budget line 401 from $10,000 to $50,000.  The amendment failed. Justin Allen brought an amendment to lines 405 and 406 that would put more money toward the Virginia Education Fund and leave the Church Extension & Development Fund would remain the same. The amendment failed.

The budget was approved as printed in the Book of Reports.

Volunteers will receive 27 cents per mile. There will be no impact to the budget with this change.

Sections 2-6 of the CFA report were approved.

A recommendation from CFA reads: CFA requests the Bishop to appoint a task force to determine the feasibility of maintaining and improving the existing Wesley Foundation properties currently used for the purpose of Campus Ministry. The study shall include an independent appraisal and analysis of the buildings. The task force shall submit a report of their findings to CFA by January 15, 2019. The costs of this task force shall be funded by CFA. CFA shall give a report of its findings at the 2019 Annual Conference in Roanoke. This did not require a vote and the task force will report next year.


  Fleischer, Lewis, Mays.

Green Award - Presented by the Rev. Anita Mays
Each year the Caretakers of God's Creation team, a branch of the Conference Board of Church and Society, presents the Green Church Award to a church who has demonstrated the importance of answering God's call to be caretakers of God's good creation.  This year, the award goes to Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church in Newport, VA.  Newport-Mt. Olivet and their pastor, the Rev. Morris Fleischer, have been actively opposing the fracked gas pipeline that is going past their church in Giles County, and in so doing they are serving as advocates for their community and for the earth. 

Denman Award - Presented by the Rev. Don Jamison and the Rev. Karen Workman
Justin Robins - Shady Grove UMC Mechanicsville – Youth – Richmond District
Larry Cochran - Belmont UMC - Clergy - Richmond District
Kevin & Judy Mooers - Northumberland Charge - Laity - Rappahannock River District

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award is named for Dr. Harry Denman, founder of The Foundation for Evangelism and renowned lay evangelist.  Harry spent his life focused on providing the Word of God to everyone he encountered and believed that should be the focus of every Christian.   This award is given to persons who are recognized by the Annual Conference for the impact their lives and personal ministry have on those around them.

Lewis, Cochran, Jamison

The Clergy award goes to Rev. Larry Cochran, pastor of Belmont UMC on the Richmond District. Pastor Cochran is known by his congregation as a Ppastor who not only brings great messages from the pulpit, but more importantly, is the one standing in the Feeding Ministry and in the parking lot handing out food and messages of hope. His consistent presence has grown the food ministry to serve over 60,000 individuals last year. He shares prayer, devotionals in English and Spanish and reaches out to the needs of the community. Cochran focuses on building relationships with the people who surround Belmont and works at reconciling those in his community who are least, feeling unloved and lost. His desire to bring together people of a diverse background for Christ continues to be an inspiration to his congregation and the community.

  Lewis, Kevin and Judy Mooers

The Laity award recipients are Kevin and Judy Mooers’ from the Northumberland Charge. Kevin and Judy have a tireless love for children. Since January 2013, they have been working with 50-60 students in after school programs teaching Bible lessons, nurturing and sharing. To date the Mooers’ have influenced over 650 elementary aged students and have shared in over 180 professions of faith because of their efforts. Children’s lives are being transformed by the message of the Gospel that is shared with them in their activities with these children. We celebrate their evangelism that we believe sets a foundation for young people that will result in the witness of Christ to many within their community.

Justin Robins is the 2018 recipient of the Youth Award. He is a member of Shady Grove UMC on the Richmond District. Robins is a person whose warmth, enthusiasm of Christ and his desire to reach those who do not share belief is evident in his work in the youth group at Shady Grove. Through his personal efforts, at least a dozen youth joined the youth program. He reached out to athletic and theatre groups, band members, boy scouts and drop-outs to bring them into relationship with Christ. He has spoken to over 50 youth with messages of the love and grace of Jesus Christ his youth leader writes. He has the passion, humility, drive and great love that it takes to be a minister of the Gospel. Justin has a way of seeing people like Jesus did, to see the person that God created them to be and not what the world says they are. The Rev. Jay Kelchner accepted the award on Justin's behalf as Justin was in the mission field.

Advance Recognitions

  Lewis, Rowley, Barker

Bishop Lewis recognized Dr. Amy-Valdez Barker, executive director for Global Mission Connections, for presentation of Advance recognitions.  The Rev. Glenn Rowley (director for the Center of Justice and Missional Excellence) received these recognitions for the following categories based on the ranking within the annual conferences in the United States. Barker asked the gathering to take our giving and our service up another level. She challenged the conference to commit to taking care of 1 million children around the world. That is three children per member. God is calling the conference to step up in mission. "It may seem the Virignia Conference has met the pinnacle with six awards," she said. "You all know what it's like to scale up in mission, but you are not done yet."
United States Disaster Response (#1)
International Disaster Response (#3)
Missionary Support (#1)
Mission Initiatives (#4)
In Mission Together (#2)
Health-Related Programs (#4)

Great Day of Service
Fighting tears, Bishop Lewis said, "Something spectacular happened yesterday," referring to the Great Day of Service. She related that nine months ago she started praying about the clergy and the laity of the conference daily. She said God placed in her spirit to put our faith in action. She said she had people tell her they couldn't see it. She recognized the Rev. R. Shaun Smith and the Rev. David Magruder. She also gave kudos to Evonne Dickey, York River administrative assistant. She recognized the annual conference planning team and the Great Day planning team for pulling it all together. The point she was trying to make, "God will do the impossible. The word says all things are possible." Bishop Lewis said she would have loved to see half of the people attending conference participate in this Great Day of Service. Some 1,637 people, over half, participated. Bishop Lewis shared some of the prayers that were brought back from the local community. "I thank you for just being obedient for something I asked you to do." She thanked Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, for the work he has done on Glory Sightings videos. A video about the Great Day of Service was shared with the gathering.

Motion from the floor
Jan Rivero brought a motion that the annual conference condemns the manipuliation of Scripture to justify political policy that is contrary to the command of Jesus to love all people, especially children. She spoke to the motion about the history of children being separated from their parents and is now being done on the U.S. southern border. After speeches for and against the motion was adopted.
Full text of Rivero Motion
I move that the Virginia Annual Conference, meeting in Hampton, VA, June 15-17, 2018:
• Condemns the manipulation of scripture to justify a political policy that is contrary to the command of Jesus to love one another, especially children;
• Calls upon all public figures to implement policies and actions that reflect the words of Romans 13:10 which reads, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”
• Calls upon the Department of Justice and appropriate agencies to release detained children, reunite families unjustly separated, and develop immigration reform that protects all children and families.
• And requests that a copy of this motion, be delivered to the Attorney General of the United States.

Motion from the floor
The Rev. Tom Thomas brought a motion from the floor about an exit path to be considered by General Conference for churches pertaining to the outcome of the plans from the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops. The motion was tabled.

The Rev. Shaun Smith introduced Jonathan McBride from the City of Hampton who helped with the logistics of the Great Day of Service.

Morning Worship

The morning worship was livestreamed. Churches throughout the conference were invited to use the service in their congregations.
Bishop Lewis based her sermon on  I Peter 4:10 “… Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

  Bishop Lewis took to the floor of the conference while
  preaching her morning sermon.

She said, "Beloved, last year at my Service of Installation at Reveille UMC, I challenged you that it was 'time to stir up the gifts.' As the body of Christ; we no longer experience the freedom of the Holy Spirit or operate in our spiritual gifts; because we are too concerned with what we may look like to our fellow colleagues or parishioners or just too afraid - as United Methodists -- that we will be labeled as charismatic.  Beloved, I believe just like we experienced yesterday; that it’s time for the body of Christ to discover your gifts; use your gifts and stir up gifts."

Bishop Lewis emphasized that, "The Bible clearly teaches that EVERY Christian has a spiritual gift with which to serve the Lord.
"When you use the gifts God has given you; you will discover that God will give you the power you need to operate in your gift," she said.  "It is by grace we received the gift and it is by grace that we use the gift.  My brothers and sisters, spiritual gifts enable the body of Christ to function as whole."

And then Bishop Lewis reminded, "Once you have discovered your gift; you need to do something with it. In other words, DO SOMETHING specific with the gift God has given you.  Just think about it:  when someone gives you a gift, what do they expect you to do with it.  They expect you to use it."

Bishop Lewis concluded, "Yesterday as we worked in the Hampton area you may have discovered your gift or gifts; in your church,  you may have discovered your gift or gifts.  This is just a reminder don’t sleep it on – use it to serve others."

Fixing of Appointments
Copies of the July edition of the Virginia Advocate were distributed. The Advocate publishes the list of appointments for the coming year.

The following corrections were made to the printed copy of the Advocate.

Eastern Shore
Greenbackville will be served by Barbara Parker (FL)

Otter will be served by Willie Butler (RE)

Rappahannock River
Bethel in Caroline County will be served by Mark Roscoe (PL)

Mount Olivet in Franklin County will be served by Jeffery T. White (PL)

York River
Forrest Benjamin Teague will serve as campus minister of United Campus Ministries at Christoper Newport University

Click here to download a copy of the 2018-19 Appointments (pdf)




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