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News from the Virginia Conference - June 23, 2016

Conference offices to close at 1 p.m. on summer Fridays
Virginia Conference offices in the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. on Fridays between Annual Conference and Labor Day as they have done in the past. The summer schedule will begin this Friday, June 24, and conclude on Friday, Sept. 2. Conference offices will also close at 1 p.m. Friday, July 1, and remain closed Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

234th Virginia Annual Conference held June 17-19
Nearly 4,000 Virginia United Methodists gathered at the Berglund Center in Roanoke June 17-19 for the 234th session of the Virginia Annual Conference. Theme of the 2016 Annual Conference was “Thy Will Be Done.” Click here to view photos and articles about this year's Annual Conference session. More ...

You can still watch Annual Conference live stream archives
Live streaming of the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference is archived and can still be viewed by going to the LiveStream website, The live streaming shows all sessions of the three-day conference, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, June 17, with the Laity Session and concluding with worship and fixing of appointments Sunday morning, June 19.

Annual Conference remembers victims of Orlando shooting
With 49 candles on the altar representing lives lost during the Orlando shootings, Bishop Cho read a statement from the Council of Bishops and offered prayer for the victims’ families, leaders of the country and members of the Florida Conference. Annual Conference members later approved a resolution encouraging United Methodists to work to destroy the systemic fear, hatred and discrimination that leads to violence against LGBTQ persons and communities. Click here to read the resolution.

$131,003.58 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $131,003.58 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering, nearly $19,000 shy of the goal of $150,000. The offering goal includes $50,000 for continued commitment to the rapid growth and expanding influence of the Methodist Mission in Cambodia through support for training lay and clergy leadership and building of churches. Another $25,000 is to continue to support the Methodist Church of Brazil programs with at-risk children in cities and communities across Brazil. Another $25,000 is to support our long-term relationship with United Methodist churches in Mozambique, focusing primarily on the vital area of education and development of resources for training laity in two conferences in that country. In Virginia, the goal is $50,000 to fund disaster response, particularly long-term recovery work following Feb. 24 tornadoes in three districts of the conference. Contributions may still be sent to the Conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Annual Conference Offering” on your check or at the bottom of your apportionment statement. If the check is from a church, indicate the church GCFA number on the check. More ...

52,016 disaster relief kits contributed to UMCOR
Virginia Annual Conference members brought 52,016 disaster relief kits for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to Annual Conference. The kits, valued at $644,388, included 29,676 Health Kits; 17,637 School Kits; 2,634 Birthing Kits; 1,352 Layette Kits; 303 Cleaning Kits; 55 Bedding Kits and 359 Sewing Kits. Total number of donated kits exceeded last year's offerings by more than 9,000.

10,039 pounds of food donated to '4 Cans 4 Conference'
Clergy and lay members of Annual Conference contributed 10,039 pounds of canned goods and boxed dry foods plus $50 in cash as part of the "4 Cans 4 Conference" drive to benefit the Roanoke area Rescue Mission, according to the Rev. Jim Earley, "4 Cans for Conference" coordinator. "In 10 years of offering '4 Cans 4 Conference,' you have given nearly 100,000 pounds of food to feed hungry folks in Norfolk, Hampton and Roanoke," Earley said. If you would like to help with "4 Cans 4 Conference" in 2017, contact Earley at

Annual Conference by the numbers
During the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference session, 21 were ordained as elders, two were ordained deacons, 14 commissioned as provisional elders, two commissioned as provisional deacons and 31 licensed as local pastors. Fifty clergy retired this year. Members approved a 2017 budget of $32,000,000, an overall reduction of $315,000 (slightly less than 1%) from the 2016 budget. As of the end of 2015, conference membership stood at 326,194, down 1,453 from the previous year. Average worship attendance stood at 98,253, down 4,633 from the end of 2014.

Annual Conference endorses Ted Smith for bishop
Members of Annual Conference voted by acclamation to endorse the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith for election as bishop at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference to be held in July. Smith, who currently serves as Fredericksburg District superintendent, has also been endorsed for bishop by the Virginia Conference chapter of Black Methodists for Church Renewal and the executive committee of the Asian-American Ministers’ Association. More ...

Nkrumah, Fuquay, Galway receive Denman Awards
Denman Evangelism Award for clergy was presented to the Rev. Emmanuel Nkrumah, founding pastor of Ghana Wesley UMC in Arlington. Denman Laity Award went to Mary Elle Fuquay, chair of the Evangelism/Vital Church Team at St. Matthias UMC in Fredericksburg. Denman Youth Award went to Heather Galway, member of St. Paul's UMC in Staunton.

Mount Olivet UMC receives Green Church award
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society Caretakers of God's Creation team awarded the 2016 Green Church award to Mount Olivet UMC, Arlington, for its participation in the conference Green Church Initiative in which churches covenant to care for the environment and God's creation by supporting a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world. The Rev. Ed Walker, senior pastor, accepted the award for the church at the Missional Ministries Board/Board of Church and Society combined Annual Conference luncheon on Saturday, June 18.

Annual Conference votes to 'ban the box,' urge ministry to adolescents
Annual Conference voted to call on Virginia state legislators to enact legislation banning questions about criminal history from initial job applications for public and private employment. Annual Conference members also voted to encourage all United Methodist local churches to establish a ministry to adolescents who are not reaching their full academic potential. To read the full text of both resolutions, click here to download the 2016 Book of Reports and scroll to pages 153 and 154. A third resolution, "Responding to requests from Christians in the Holy Land," was withdrawn because it was already approved by General Conference.

Send comments on Annual Conference to Marc Brown by July 1
Email your concerns, questions or suggestions about the 2016 Annual Conference to the Rev. Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, at by July 1 so they may be shared with the Annual Conference Planning Committee at its review meeting. Your feedback on this year's conference will help as plans are made for the 2017 Annual Conference.

Videos shown at Annual Conference can be viewed on YouTube
Many of the videos that were shown at Annual Conference can be viewed on the VAUMCvideos YouTube channel, including videos for Bishop Cho's ministry, 20th Anniversary of Order of Deacon, Common Table report, General Conference report, Association of Educational Institutions, Hallelujah Chorus and the Historical Society.

Stokes, Berlin report on General Conference
The Rev. Tom Berlin and Martha Stokes gave the members of Annual Conference reports on 2016 General Conference held May 10-20 in Portland, Ore. Berlin provided some background information about the Council of Bishops' proposal of "A Way Forward" and said he believes the special commission on human sexuality to be named by the Council of Bishops will do “the most important work in the next decade of the United Methodist Church.” Berlin used a metaphor with four sugar packets to explain the human sexuality conversation that is happening throughout the denomination. In response to numerous requests, this report has been added to Volume 2 of the DVDs of Annual Conference being sold by the Communications office (see item below for details).

You can order DVDs of Annual Conference through June 30
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, the Sunday morning General Conference report in which Tom Berlin discusses the United Methodist conversation on human sexuality 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 has been extended to June 30. The overview video will also be available to view on the conference Facebook page or YouTube channel, free of charge. To order DVDs, 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 to be mailed to every member of Annual Conference
The July issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate contains the complete list of clergy appointments for 2016-17. The thunderstorm that knocked out power in Richmond on June 16 delayed production of the magazine, so it was not available for distribution to all members of Annual Conference during the Sunday morning worship service that "fixed" the appointments. As a result, a copy of the magazine will be mailed to each member of Annual Conference in the next week. The July issue of the Advocate also features articles on General Conference 2016, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, held in Portland, Ore., May 10-20. 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

Lost and found items from Annual Conference now at UM Center in Glen Allen
Several items were found in the Berglund Center in Roanoke after the close of Annual Conference. These items were brought back to the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Retrieved items include: Steamtown NHS baseball cap, Vera Bradley coin purse, three pairs of sunglasses, 1 pair of readers, three jackets and a Cokesbury bag filled with purchases. To claim any of these items, contact the conference center at (804) 521-1100 or 1-800-768-6040 and speak with Marian Loving, receptionist.

Clergy who are moving must fill out forms for UMPIP contributions
Active clergy who are moving or changing appointments need to complete a new "Contribution Election" form with the new church treasurer if they wish to make personal contributions to the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP). A previous UMPIP Contribution Election is not valid once clergy changes churches. For more information, contact Nancy Blair, Virginia United Methodist Pensions benefits administrator, at (804) 521-1130 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 130.

2016 annual conference reports available online
United Methodist News Service is posting reports from all the annual conference sessions. Click here to read reports.

Ferrum College announces new president
Joseph Carson Spooner has been appointed the 11th president of United Methodist-related Ferrum College located in Ferrum, Va. Spooner will assume his new role on Aug. 1. Spooner currently serves as the dean of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University. Jennifer L. Braaten is retiring as president after 14 years of service. More ...

New England Conference won’t conform to official sexuality stance
Dramatically taking on the denomination’s official stance on homosexuality, the New England Conference approved a resolution of non-conformity that says the conference won’t comply with any Discipline provisions that “discriminate against LGBTQIA persons.” More ...

Two conferences call for full inclusion of LGBTQ
The Desert Southwest Conference, after its bishop gave an impassioned impromptu speech about full inclusion, voted for a nondiscrimination resolution that says the conference will not participate in or conduct judicial procedures related to the denomination’s prohibitions against LGBTQ persons. The California-Pacific Conference also asked for a halt to judicial proceedings. More ...

New England, South Georgia differ on gay clergy
The New England Conference began with a gathering to remember the Orlando shooting victims, and that became a passionate conversation about the pain felt by many about the violence and the church’s stance on LGBTQ people. This came one day after the board of ordained ministry said it won’t consider the sexuality of ministry candidates. Meanwhile, the South Georgia Conference stressed upholding the Book of Discipline’s stance on sexuality. More ...

U.S. Northeast keeps bishops — for now
The 2016 General Conference opted to keep the same number of U.S. bishops, but that’s so United Methodist leaders can take a hard look at remaking the denomination’s map. That means the Northeastern Jurisdiction is not losing a bishop. More ...

Oregon-Idaho takes up support for RCRC
After General Conference 2016 told two general agencies to end membership in the faith coalition that supports reproductive health and abortion, the Oregon-Idaho Conference voted to support that same group: the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. More ...

Registration now available for NEXT
Registration is now available for “Imagine What’s Next,” scheduled for Nov. 4-6 in Atlanta. Click here to register online The event, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, is designed to equip students with the skills needed to merge and connect their gifts with innovative discipleship. A $50 discount on registration is available through June 30. More ...

♦ 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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