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News from the Virginia Conference - January 29, 2019

Update on Bishop Lewis' surgery
A prayer service organized by the Virginia Conference Cabinet was held at Good Shepherd UMC last Friday to pray for Bishop Sharma D. Lewis who underwent an additional surgery stemming from her hip replacement in late December. The Lewis family later in the day shared their thanks for everyone's prayers and for the prayer vigil. Bishop Lewis had all the parts of her hip replacement exchanged, and she is now recovering.

Bishop announces staff changes in Center for Clergy Excellence
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis announced changes in the Center for Clergy Excellence effective March 24, 2019. After serving with distinction as the director of the Center of Clergy Excellence for five years, the Rev. Meredith L. McNabb is relocating to Indianapolis, IN for family reasons. She will become associate director of  the Lake Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), leading their clergy and congregational trainings around the country. The Rev. Lindsey M. Baynham, currently associate director for Call, Candidacy, and Discernment, will become the interim director of the Center for Clergy Excellence. She will serve in that position through the rest of the conference year. Please join Bishop Lewis in praying for both McNabb and Baynham and the continuing work of the center during this time of transition.

Two summer conference internships available
Connectional Ministries of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is looking to select summer interns for two roles: Communications and Next Generation Ministries. CX-21 (Connections 21) is a 10-week full-time summer internship for college students interested in using their gifts/skills in a faith-centered work environment. In addition to each specific role, during the 10-week period interns will: read books/articles together; reflect on the intersection of faith and work; develop their strengths; listen to stories of others who have been through the journey of professional and vocational discernment. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at

Safe Sanctuaries Policy workshop to be held in March
Prepare for your children and youth programs with this five-day online workshop for congregations that don’t have a Safe Sanctuary policy or whose policy is outdated, needs revision or doesn’t meet the needs of current ministries. Participants will learn why congregations should have an up-to-date policy, what the policy includes generally and specifically, and how to get a policy written, approved, and implemented – or edited. This is an INTENSIVE workshop, so participants need to be involved on the site every day to receive a completion certificate. Plan on reading two documents, posting a response to one question, and posting responses to at least two other participants every day – a minimum of an hour a day. You are required to read Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth by Joy Thornburg Melton as a part of this course.  Please make sure you have access to a copy of this book throughout the duration of the course.Following this workshop, you may decide to schedule six additional weeks of support while you get your policy written or edited. The additional time would consist of once-a-week, one-hour conference calls or chat room conversations, for an additional $150.
This course is eligible for 0.5 CEU. More...

Virginia pastor Tom Berlin featured in UM News article on One Church Plan
The Rev. Tom Berlin and other VAUMC delegates discuss their reaction to the Council of Bishops' proposal of "A Way Forward.""The One Church Plan puts trust in clergy, congregations and conferences to find their own way," Berlin said in the article. Berlin is pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon. This article is the second of a series of four stories briefly explaining each of the most prominent plans that will be considered at the February special General Conference in St. Louis by UM News. More…

Job opportunity: Foundation seeks president
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation (VUMF), Glen Allen, Va., is seeking a president. The Foundation provides stewardship education and manages assets for local churches, districts and agencies of the Virginia United Methodist Conference. VUMF seeks a proven nonprofit leader with at least five years of progressive leadership experience and a passion for the Foundation’s mission. The selected candidate will be a visionary with strong strategic planning experience and skills. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at and scroll down to “Other.”

Bishop Lewis appeals conference for disaster recovery in Danville
Bishop Lewis shared an appeal for aid to the city of Danville following historic flooding in the city in from September 2018 to October 2018. Contributions can be sent to the conference Treasurer’s office with the reference “Conference Disaster Response Fund #5037.” More…

February is Heart Havens month
Heart Havens is a Virginia Conference Advance Special mission that provides residential support to adults with a developmental disability, but it’s so much more than just providing a house. Heart Havens empowers people to discover what it is they love and then pursue it. No matter what the goal is, Heart Havens is all about helping the people they support find a way to make their dreams a reality. More…

Submit nominations for Annual Conference 2019 awards
Is anyone (clergy, laity or youth) in your congregation someone who goes above and beyond when it comes to discipleship? The Board of Discipleship each year recognizes one person in each category who displays discipleship in their lives for the Harry Denman Award for Discipleship. Go to: to get an application and send it to Becky Tate, or send to the conference office (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058)  c/o Becky Tate. Applications are due no later than Mar. 1, 2019.
Are you a church that has experienced significant turnaround in professions of faith and/or baptisms? You may be eligible for the One Matters Award. Churches are chosen by a process that looks at the past three years and the most current last year for significant changes in Professions of Faith.  The church that is chosen will receive a One Matters plaque and $1,000 to continue their ministries of intentional discipleship. Their story of transformation will be shared during the annual conference session, and their story will be shared across the connection through Discipleship Ministries website and other publications. Applications are due no later than Mar. 1,2019. Applications may be obtained at and by clicking in the left column for “One Matters Award application” under the “Board of Discipleship” heading. Applications should be sent to Don Jamison, or Becky Tate, or to the conference center (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058) (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058) c/o Becky Tate. 

Information available about nomination of clergy delegates for 2020
Information regarding the nomination of clergy delegates for the 2020 General Conference and 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference is available at The deadline for clergy nominations is Mar. 1, 2019.

Learn more about Convergence summer program for high school students
Convergence: Where Faith and Science Meet is a nine-day program (June 22-30, 2019) that allows current 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students to come to Randolph-Macon’s campus in Ashland, Va., and learn about the intersection of science and Christian faith. They will dive deeper into their religious beliefs, deeper into the study of science, and will meet other high school students and Randolph-Macon College student leaders with those same interests. There will be time in the classroom and outdoor experiences throughout the region. The cost to participate is only $250. Upon high school graduation, if a Convergence participant chooses to attend Randolph-Macon, they will receive a $1,000 annual scholarship for each year they participated in Convergence.  If you would like to nominate a participant, you can fill out the nomination form, and the Convergence staff will contact your nominee with further information. The application form for participants is available. Please contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes or Laura Ruxton  at with any questions about the program. More...

Learn more about Shenandoah University’s summer institute for high school students
Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute (SUYTI) is a 14-day institute (July 14-27, 2019) where high school students explore the exciting intersection of faith and justice. Upon completion of the institute, and a self-identified justice project in their local context, students receive three credits from Shenandoah University. At SUYTI students spend one week at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. and one week at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Each day includes worship, class time with world class professors, compelling afternoon immersive experiences and mentoring from undergraduate and seminary students. The cost for students in 2019 is only $200. SUYTI is open to current 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. If you would like to nominate a student, you can fill out a nomination form. You can find the 2019 student application and more information on the website at  For more information, please contact the Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger ( 540-665-5453.

Homes of Congolese refugees demolished in Kenya
United Methodists have responded after more than 600 people, including 35 families from Kayole St. John's United Methodist Church, were left homeless when excavators demolished their apartments. More…

Church projects empower deaf community
The United Methodist Church's St. John's Circuit in Zimbabwe is helping members of the deaf community earn a living by assembling bicycles and breeding rabbits. The projects are aimed at helping church members with disabilities learn new skills so that they can become self-sufficient. More…

When your church talks about you, without you
As the church continues its debate over homosexuality, Jorge Lockward argues that discussion must be with LGBTQ people, not about them. He offers suggestions for how that can happen in an article with UM News. More…


♦ Clergy Spouses Retreat- Mar. 8-9, 2019
Are you anticipating some kind of major transition in 2019? Maybe a new appointment or the results of February's denominational vote? This session is designed exclusively for you – the clergy spouse! Retreat on Mar. 8-9, 2019 will include small group discussions and time to connect with other clergy spouses. Theme is "Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses" by Julie Anderman of Artos Retreats. Anderman, a clergy spouse in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference for 20 years, co-founded Artos Retreats two years ago out of a calling to improve the well-being of clergy spouses through connection and learning. Before starting Artos, Anderman provided independent instructional design and communications consulting for over 20 years. She has facilitated small group learning in both corporate and church environments for 25 years. Location will be Blessings Lodge at Camp Overlook, near Harrisonburg. Cost is $100 with accommodations and meals. Registration is available. Contact Judy Hall at 804-264-0524 with any questions. More…

♦ Goodson Academy of Preaching - Mar. 27, 2019
The Goodson Academy of Preaching urges you to save Mar. 27-28 for “Preaching as storytelling.” Guest presenter will be Donald Davis, a retired United Methodist elder and well-known as one of the nation's leading storytellers. The event will be held at Trinity UMC in Henrico. Online registration is open. For more information, email More…

♦ 2019 Faithful Aging Conference- Apr. 2, 2019
The third Faithful Aging Conference, presented by the University of Lynchburg Beard Center on Aging and Pinnacle Living, will be held Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2019. Persons of all faith traditions are invited to come learn, network and share best ministry practices as opportunities related to aging congregations and meeting the needs of older adults, inside and outside the walls of our faith communities are addressed. Melissa Andrews, chief executive office of LeadingAge Virginia, will offer the keynote address on the theme of Aging Abundantly. Workshop offerings will include:
    -    Effective communication across the stages of dementia
    -    Things everyone needs to know when making hospital and end-of-life visits
    -    Health equity and the needs of older adults
    -    Using music to deepen spirituality
    -    Scams and financial exploitation
    -    Practical ways to enhance ministries with people with dementia
    -    Dealing with loss and grief
The conference will be held at Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, VA. Conference details and registration information will be available later in January 2019. Opportunities are still available for sponsors and exhibitors. For general information, contact Martha Stokes at  or 804-474-8718. More...

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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
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