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 Dec. 15, 2016
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Nov. 17, 2016
Nov. 10, 2016
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Oct. 27, 2016
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July 28, 2016
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July 14, 2016 - News from SEJ Conference
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June 3, 2016 - Special Annual Conference edition

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News from 2016 General Conference (May 10-20)
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March 30, 2016
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March 21, 2016 - Annual Conference Special Offering
March 17, 2016
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News from the Virginia Conference - Dec. 1, 2016 

New Department of Labor rules blocked
A Texas federal judge on Nov. 22 entered a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new rule from going into effect. In other words, the minimum annual salary amount will not increase to $47,476 on Dec. 1, 2016. This preliminary injunction does not necessarily mean that DOL’s rule will be blocked permanently.  David Dommisse, Virginia Conference treasurer, anticipates a quick appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and then a possible appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. There also may be a decision by the incoming Trump Administration to reverse this rule.  Dommisse says his office will continue following this case and will alert the churches of its resolution.

VUMCU raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital
The Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU), located at the conference center, is selling snowmen to raise money for the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Richmond, Va. Each snowman costs $1 and will be hung within the building. All funds will be donated directly to the hospital. 

Bishop Lewis travels to Virginia Beach for Hurricane Matthew relief updates
Bishop Lewis traveled to Virginia Beach to learn more about the relief efforts following Hurricane Matthew on Nov. 17. Volunteer efforts to help out persons affected by the hurricane will be shared by the conference in the coming months, for now said the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator, every church is needed. "We need the engagement of every person, every church within the annual conference connection," said Pihlcrantz.You can make a gift through your local church. Or, send a check payable to "Virginia United Methodist Conference" to the Virginia Conference Treasurer, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate "Conference Advance #5037-Disaster Response" on your check or apportionment statement. More… 

Advocate editor needs stories about local church knitting ministries
The Feb. 2017 issue of the Advocate will focus on knitting ministries in local churches, sharing the fellowship of these groups as well as the works of art they create.Contact Advocate editor Madeline Pillow to share your articles, to send in pictures or to share points of contact at Deadline for this request is Friday, Dec. 16.

SU Youth Theology Institute now accepting nominations, applications
The Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute (SUYTI) is a new program, funded through the Lilly Foundation, offered to Christian youth as a partnership between Shenandoah University, Wesley Theological Seminary and the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC. The Youth Institute is designed to educate and inspire young Christians to become better leaders in their local congregations through deep and thought-provoking experiences. The program is a two-week immersive experience for rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders (offered July 23-August 5, 2017). There are slots for 30 students per year. Upon completion of the institute (and a self-determined justice project in their local faith community), students earn three undergraduate credits from Shenandoah University. For 2017 there is no cost passed on to student participants, except a $50 registration fee and the cost of travel to and from Shenandoah University.  Pastors and youth leaders can nominate youth they think will benefit from this youth theology institute and students can apply at this link. The 2017 session of the SUYTI is now accepting nominations and applications until May 1, 2017. More…

All God’s Children Camp 2017 is gearing up
Lori Smith, director of All God’s Children Camp, has shared that preparation is already beginning for the 2017 camp dates. All God’s Children Camp is a program that allows children, ages 7-12 who have an incarcerated parent, to spend a week at camp with activities such as boating, hiking, music and crafts. Partnering with Virginia United Methodist camps, All God’s Children Camp provides a week of sanctuary for children who face so many challenges in their lives including economic poverty, temporary living conditions, loneliness, low self-esteem, violence and drugs. 2017 camp dates will be June 18-23 at Camp Chanco on the James; June 25-30 at Camp Overlook; and July 30-Aug. 4 at Occohannock on the Bay. Follow the link to learn more about the ways you can help including mentorship and contact Lori at for more information. More…

Moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward share progress
The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward met on Nov. 17-18, 2016, to continue planning for the commission’s work. They plan to offer consistent communication in collaboration with United Methodist Communications (UMCom). The majority of the meetings will be held in United Methodist facilities and one of the meetings will be held outside of the United States. Commission members have been asked to prepare for the first meeting by reading the following resources: Wonder, Love and Praise from the Committee on Faith and Order; The Anatomy of Peace (Arbinger Institute); and Be Strong and of Good Courage by Gil Rendle (Texas Methodist Foundation). The commission members will participate in a conference call in December, and the first official meeting will take place in January, in Atlanta, Ga. They plan to meet approximately every six weeks to two months.

Church leaders respond to Tennessee wildfires
Holston Conference leaders are asking United Methodists to be prepared but patient while waiting for information about how best to help victims of a wildfire that reportedly destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses since Monday night in Gatlinburg and other parts of Sevier County, Tenn. More…

Pastor changed by experience at Standing Rock
The Rev. David Swinton, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Iowa Annual Conference, returned from a trip to the protest site near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota a changed man. He told Dana Larsen of the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune that the protest is about more than a pipeline. More… 

Water is a human right: mission agency
The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is hosting an awareness event about access to water and the impact of a new pipeline on an indigenous people, the Standing Rock Sioux, at 11 a.m. EST Dec. 10 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. More…

Duke Divinity-partnership offering scholarships for 2017 courses 
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, is offering 10 scholarships to attend an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) program in 2017. ECRF is offered in a number of locations, and scholarship recipients will have the option of picking the particular ECRF course offering that works best with their schedules including the Duke Divinity campus.  Over the past two years, Leadership Education at Duke Divinity has partnered with Lake Institute to offer this program. To learn more and apply for an ECRF scholarship, visit the Lake Institute website. The deadline to apply is Dec. 5, 2016.

Entries requested for 2017 Gabriel Awards
The 2017 Gabriel Awards has announced a call for entries for film, network, cable television, radio and social media that uplifts and inspires. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 for programs that were released via broadcast, Internet or a theatrical release between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016. This competition is open to both entries from media and the religious of all denominations and secular. The Gabriel Awards, sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals, now is including categories for Internet and social media entries. These important programs receive recognition amongst peers in the industry. For more information, please contact Susan Wallace at, 508-238-4095, x2050, or 508-982-1056; or Dave Kindy at or 508-747-1832. More…

Wespath gets wellness award
The Center for Health, part of Wespath Benefits and Investments, received the 2016 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Silver award from the National Business Group on Health. The award recognizes innovative and comprehensive approaches to the health of employees, their families and communities. More… 

Test your Advent knowledge
As United Methodists anticipate celebrating Christ’s birth, offers a quiz testing your knowledge of the season. Do you know why Advent wreaths are shaped in a circle? A new question is posted five days a week. More… 

Four functions of a church choir
Brian Hehn, music minister at Arapaho United Methodist Church, has written a blog post for ChoralNet, “The Four Functions of a Church Choir.” Number one on Hehn’s list: “lead and enliven the congregation’s song.” More… 

♦ 25th Anniversary of UM Day at General Assembly Celebration - Jan. 14, 2017
The Conference Legislative Committee is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration of United Methodist Day at General Assembly, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at Centenary UMC, 411 E. Grace Street, Richmond, Va. The event will start with registration at 11 a.m., lunch at noon followed by a program at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is necessary and child care will be available. Cost for the day is $15 or $35 for both this event and UM Day in February if you register by Jan. 6. Follow this link to register:

♦ 25th Annual United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 2, 2017
The Conference United Methodist Day is Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. It is an avenue of faithful advocacy that helps participants look beyond mercy ministry and join together with elected officials to make a difference and exercise the Social Principles of the UMC. Early bird registration and payment of $25 per person must be received by Friday, Jan. 15. Final registration will be Friday, Jan. 29 and will cost $35. Registration questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at General questions may be directed to the Rev. Pat Shipley at or to the Rev. Randy Harlow at To register and for more information, follow this link:

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
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