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 Dec. 15, 2016
 Dec. 8, 2016
Dec. 1, 2016

Nov. 17, 2016
Nov. 10, 2016
Nov. 3, 2016

Oct. 27, 2016
 Oct. 20, 2016
 Oct. 13, 2016
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Sept. 22, 2016
 Sept. 15, 2016
Sept. 8, 2016
Sept. 1, 2016

Aug. 25, 2016
Aug. 18, 2016
Aug. 11, 2016
Aug. 4, 2016

July 28, 2016
July 21, 2016
July 14, 2016 - News from SEJ Conference
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July 12, 2016
July 7, 2016

June 29, 2016
June 23, 2016
June 14, 2016
June 10, 2016
June 3, 2016 - Special Annual Conference edition

May 26, 2016
News from 2016 General Conference (May 10-20)
May 3, 2016

April 27, 2016
April 22, 2016
April 15, 2016
April 7, 2016

March 30, 2016
March 23, 2016
March 21, 2016 - Annual Conference Special Offering
March 17, 2016
March 10, 2016
March 4, 2016

Feb. 24, 2016
Feb. 17, 2016
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Feb. 8, 2016
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Jan. 28, 2016
Jan. 14, 2016
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News from the Virginia Conference - June 14, 2016

Tom Berlin withdraws candidacy for bishop
Saying that he has been able to reaffirm "a clear call to pastoral ministry," the Rev. Tom Berlin has withdrawn his name from the list of nominees seeking to be elected bishop at this year's Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Berlin, who serves as lead pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, had been endorsed by the Virginia Conference delegation to General and Jurisdictional conferences. More ...

'Thy Will Be Done' is theme of 2016 Annual Conference
The 234th session of the Virginia Annual Conference will be held June 17-19 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke. Theme of the 2016 Annual Conference is “Thy Will Be Done.” The logo was developed by Cathryn Huff, contract graphic designer for the conference Communications office. Information about this year’s session is available on the conference website at Preacher for the ordination service will be Bishop Mark Webb from the Upper New York Annual Conference. Preacher for the Saturday morning mission service will be the Rev. Eun Pa Hong from Bupyeong Methodist Church in South Korea. Preacher for the Friday evening memorial service will be the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher, pastor of Main St. UMC, Suffolk, James River District. Preacher for the retirement service will be the Rev. Jim Tongue. Annual Conference teacher will be Dr. L. Gregory Jones, Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School. More ...

Watch Annual Conference via live stream on website, Facebook
Live streaming of the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference will be available, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, June 17, from the Virginia Conference website,, and from the Virginia Conference Facebook page, Or go directly to The live streaming will show all sessions of the three-day conference, including worship at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 19, when Bishop Young Jin Cho will preach.

Follow Annual Conference on Twitter, Facebook
Follow activities of the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference and post your own comments on Facebook and Twitter. The Virginia Conference Facebook page can be found at Follow the Virginia Conference @vaumc on Twitter at Participate in the conversation by using hashtag #vaumc16.

Your congregation can participate in Annual Conference Sunday morning worship
Local churches may show the live stream video of the Annual Conference closing worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 19, and have the congregation participate with Annual Conference members in Sunday morning worship. Bishop Young Jin Cho will preach. The liturgy for the service is posted on the conference website and can be downloaded for use in a church bulletin. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FINAL HYMN FOR THE SERVICE HAS CHANGED AND THE BULLETIN HAS BEEN REVISED. Final hymn will be "Trust and Obey." Click here to download the bulletin in pdf format. Click here to download the bulletin in Word. If your congregation will be participating in the Annual Conference worship service, please send an email to and indicate the name of your church and district and how many people are expected to participate. The Annual Conference Planning Committee will be holding all participants in prayer.

All invited to conversation about General Conference June 17 in Roanoke
Martha Stokes and Tom Berlin, the heads of the Virginia Conference delegation to General Conference, invite you to a special meeting about General Conference 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, June 17, in the dining area of the Special Events Center at the Berglund Center in Roanoke. All those attending Annual Conference and others in the Roanoke area who may be interested are welcome. Stokes and Berlin will give a 15-minute report on General Conference during the Saturday morning session of Annual Conference. This called meeting is offered for those who wish to hear more about topics like the new Bishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality. Participants will hear analysis of confidential meetings held prior to and during General Conference that led to the bishops’ proposal. You will also have the opportunity to ask any other questions about General Conference. Other delegates will be available who served on various legislative committees. Goal of this meeting is to share information, answer questions you may have and engage in thoughtful dialogue about the future of our denomination.

Bags will not be distributed at Annual Conference
This year at Annual Conference, members will not receive recyclable bags filled with informational material from United Methodist Communications (UMCom). As a cost-saving measure, UMCom decided to stop providing the bags free of charge to Annual Conferences. A limited supply of empty bags will be available at the Communications display in the Special Events Center. If you need a bag to carry papers and other materials during Annual Conference, you are encouraged to either visit the Communications display or bring a bag received in previous years.

Communications office selling DVDs of Annual Conference
The conference Communications office is selling DVDs of the 2016 Annual Conference session. Volume 1 will include the Friday evening memorial service with the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher preaching and Bible study led by Dr. L. Gregory Jones, Duke University Vice President and Vice Provost for Global Strategy and Programs. Volume 2 will include the Saturday evening ordination service with preaching by Bishop Mark Webb of the Upper New York Area and a short overview video of the 2016 Annual Conference (suitable for use in making a report on Annual Conference to your local church). Cost is $20 for Volume 1, $20 for Volume 2 and $30 for both volumes. Deadline to order is June 27. The overview video will also be available to view on the conference Facebook page or YouTube channel, free of charge. DVDs may be ordered at the Communications display at Annual Conference, go to to order online, or call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

July Advocate features reports, photos from General Conference
The July issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will feature articles on General Conference 2016, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, held in Portland, Ore., May 10-20. With 864 delegates from around the world in attendance, important decisions were made for the denomination. Featuring vivid photos from the 10-day conference, this issue helps you experience the sights of General Conference and, particularly, the work of the Virginia Conference delegation. The July issue of the Advocate also contains the complete list of clergy appointments for 2016-17 and will be distributed to all members of Annual Conference during the Sunday morning worship service that "fixes" the appointments. Also in this issue: Find out how your congregation can help United Methodist Volunteers in Mission help victims recover from the Feb. 24 tornadoes, and learn helpful tips for saying “goodbye” to your pastor and “hello” to a new one in this time of appointment transitions. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or go to

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 8-June 19
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering between Mother’s Day on May 8 and Father’s Day on June 19 for the 2016 Samaritan Offering to support the Samaritan Program of Virginia United Methodist Homes (VUMH), a benevolent fund which provides financial assistance to residents who have outlived their monetary resources and, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full cost of their care. VUMH mailed each charge a packet of promotional materials and giving envelopes. With the exception of the envelopes, all of the materials are available on the VUMH website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. The website also includes bulletin inserts for each Sunday during the offering emphasis. For help in telling the VUMH story within your congregation or extra copies of promotional materials, contact Martha Stokes, director of Church and Community Relations at Virginia United Methodist Homes, at or (804) 474-8718. More....

Submit names of students heading to college
Do you have a student or students heading off or returning to a Virginia college, community college or university this fall? Submit their names to the conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries so our campus ministers and chaplains can connect with them. It’s easy to do. Just click on, fill out the form and submit. Our campus ministries will take it from there. The schools can’t give our ministries student names, so we rely on you to help us make these connections. Pastors, parents, youth leaders and students – click the link, fill out the form, submit and help us all stay connected and in ministry with one another. Your campus ministers, chaplains and conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries thank you.

Council of Bishops president issues statement on Orlando shooting
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued a statement about the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., pledging that United Methodists will work together to overcome evil with good, terrorism with peace, hatred with love, and inequity with justice. More ...

Florida bishop responds to massacre
Florida Area Bishop Kenneth Carter Jr. urged churches to share the message of God’s unconditional love after the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. The early-morning massacre at an gay nightclub left at least 50 dead and 53 injured. More ...

United Methodists urged to take stand against gun violence
“Pray for Orlando" we read on Facebook and Twitter. Prayer is vitally important, but is there more we can do? As United Methodist Christians, we mourn with the victims and families of those wounded and killed in the shootings on June 12 in Orlando, Fla. We may even pray and wonder if anything could have been done to avert this heinous act. But should we do more? Is there anything that can be done to keep something similar from happening in the future? More ...

New York Conference commissions, ordains gay clergy
The New York Annual Conference commissioned, recognized, or ordained 33 individuals on June 11 at Hofstra University in what Bishop Jane Allen Middleton called an “historic ordination service.” Four of the clergy candidates had come out as gay earlier this year. Read story by the Rev. Joanne S. Utley, editor of The Vision for the conference. More ...

Wisconsin clergy complaint resolved
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung announced the resolution of a complaint against retired clergywoman the Rev. Janet Ellinger for conducting two same-sex marriage ceremonies. More ...

Churches urged to support healthful lifestyles
The Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children initiative seeks to engage at least 10,000 churches in the United States to develop and support healthful lifestyle choices in their communities. The General Board of Global Ministries is encouraging churches to engage their neighboring communities by promoting physical activity, a healthful diet and nutrition, providing education for tobacco- and drug-free living, and promoting mental health education. Your church can participate in these efforts to reduce preventable deaths in the United States by increasing opportunities for healthier lifestyle choices. Learn more about the 10,000 Church Challenge and sign up today. You can also watch a video in which Patricia Magyar, executive secretary for U.S. Health, Global Ministries, shares more about the 10,000 Church Challenge.

Upper Room offers new program for young adults
The Upper Room is introducing a new ministry of spiritual formation for young adults, Journey to the Table. Registration is now open for the first such gathering July 8-10 at the headquarters of The Upper Room in Nashville. More ...

United Methodist clergywomen to gather in Houston Aug. 29-31
United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston Aug. 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons. The gathering is the culmination of regional gatherings of United Methodist clergywomen that have taken place throughout the connection and will be held in the days leading up to the World Methodist Conference. Click here to register. More ...

After General Conference, future murky for agency reform
Plan UMC has taken an unplanned detour — at least for now. The 2016 General Conference referred parts of the agency reform plan for further study, while petitions to eliminate three general church agencies died in committee. Heather Hahn reports on what happened at General Conference and what happens now to restructuring. More ...

♦ Helping Hands mission experience for children - June 22-23, July 21-22
Helping Hands, an exciting two-day mission experience for rising 4th-6th graders, parents and adult leaders, will be June 22-23 at St. Paul’s UMC in Staunton and July 21-22 at Woodlake UMC in Midlothian. Space is still available in the Midlothian Helping Hands event July 21-22, but the deadline of June 24 is quickly approaching. Register online today at Come and learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost is $36 per person and includes a t-shirt, meals, snacks and overnight stay. The event will include worship, fellowship and mission experiences in the community. Registration forms for each site can be found at

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - July 16, Sept. 24
Some confusion remains regarding training necessary to serve in tornado-affected areas now that the Recovery (rebuilding) phase has begun. Volunteers do not need Early Response Team (ERT) training. Each volunteer team does need a trained United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leader. To that end, Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM coordinator, will lead UMVIM team leader training on Saturday, July 16, in Fredericksburg; and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, July 16, in Fredericksburg; and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification.

♦ 2 Days 2 Serve for high school youths - July 22-23
"2 Days 2 Serve" will be held July 22-23 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland to help high school youths examine God's call, whether they are feeling called to be teachers, scientists, artists, pastors, social workers, public servants or something entirely new and different. This event offers four hands-on experiences requiring different skills and gifts, each experience followed by a time of reflection and discernment. This is an opportunity to stretch, to try new things, and to learn a new way of listening for God's call. Cost is $20, including meals and one night lodging at R-MC. Sign up with the conference office of Clergy Excellence at More ...

♦ Small Church Pastor Training - July 23
All VAUMC pastors of small congregations (149 or fewer in worship) are invited to a day of training and conversation 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at Chamberlayne Heights UMC in Richmond. “From Strength to Strength: Asset-based Ministry” is designed to help encourage and equip small church pastors to lead their congregations. The Rev. Dr. Lynne Caldwell, pastor of Brookland UMC, Richmond, and member of the faculty for Practical Theology at The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, will be keynote speaker and facilitator. More ...

♦ Mission Encounter - July 29-31
Mission Encounter, the only conference-wide mission education and interpretation event, will be July 29-31 at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. Mission Encounter is an opportunity for clergy and laity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship. It is open to men, women and youths. Participants may attend one of three workshops: spiritual growth study on "The Bible and Human Sexuality" led by the Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn, the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher and Prof. Esther Barkat; issue study on "Climate Justice" led by the Rev. Pat Watkins and the Rev. Dottie Yunger; or geographic study on "Latin America-People and Faith" led by Don Edwards. For more information, contact Dennis Lipke, dean of the Mission Encounter Committee, at or (804) 262-8651. More ...

♦ UMVIM Trip to Israel/Palestine - Jan. 30-Feb. 11
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society is sponsoring a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) trip to Israel and Palestine Jan. 30 to Feb. 11, 2017. The trip will provide opportunities for learning, serving and seeing. Team members will visit religious sites and United Methodist missions projects. There will be opportunities to serve at some of those mission projects. Team members will also visit and meet with Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as well as Israeli Jews. The team will learn more about the struggles of life in Palestine and efforts to create a just and hopeful future. Team leaders are the Rev. John Copenhaver and the Rev. Steve Jones, both certified VIM team leaders. For more information, contact either leader at or

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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