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News from the Virginia Conference - June 25, 2019

Wrap-up from AC 2019
Short summaries of the events from Annual Conference 2019 can be found at the conference website. Later this week, you can find a written report about Annual Conference and the summary video at the conference page which are perfect if preparing a local church report. To order a conference Journal, Directory of Ministry, or Flash Drive, follow this link.

Survey: Rate Annual Conference 2019
Clergy and laity are encouraged to fill out the 2019 Annual Conference survey by June 30 for a report to the Annual Conference Planning Committee at its evaluation meeting. Your feedback will assist with plans for the 2020 annual conference. The survey may be accessed at

Share your voice – Participate in the conference Communications survey
The mission of the conference Communications Office is to provide you with the Virginia Conference information you need, including conference news and events, updates from the Bishop, information on training opportunities, and local ministry stories. Our goal is to provide you with the information you want to see through the communications channels that are most useful to you. We have created a short communications survey to get your feedback so we can learn how to serve you better. Please visit to take the survey, and please share this link with others in your congregation. The survey will remain open until July 31, 2019.

July Advocate issue dives into campus ministries
The local church, according to the mission of our denomination, provides “the most significant arena through which disciple making occurs.” These disciples then go off to college where campus ministry can help better form them as they grow socially and emotionally. What is campus ministry like in this arena? How can we help support our disciples in campus ministries around the conference? The clergy appointments are featured in this issue. Also in the July issue are moving day memories, planning new directions for the church, impact of General Conference 2019, and the top five ways to get involved in campus ministries.

As the Advocate magazine comes to an end in its print and online formats in 2019, every issue, print and online, can be purchased for $7.50/subscription. You may contact the Communications Office to place your order at or 804-521-1110.

Mentors needed for All God’s Children
All God’s Children Camp is still in need of 7 male mentors for August 11-16 at Chanco on the James. For more information, contact Lori Smith, camp director, at 571-245-9591 or You can also visit the website at

2019 United Methodist Men’s Spiritual Advance to be held in September
Registration is now open for the 2019 UMMen’s Spiritual Advance at Baylake UMC in Virginia Beach on September 27-28. Featured speaker is the Rev. Dr. Kevin Watson, author of The Class Meeting and Bible study teacher at the 2019 Virginia Annual Conference. The theme is Transforming Grace. Special rates are available for pastors, early birds, spouses, and, if you attended last year, Bring One Get One (BOGO) for first timers. New this year, church sponsorships are targeted for churches who have never attended the event or those currently with no formal UMMen organization. Open to all churches, the challenge is to line up 12 men to come and receive both a discounted rate and a free event themed T-shirt.  We've also added a box lunch option on Saturday so you may have more fellowship on site with your brothers in Christ. More...

Renfro Trust Grants now available
The Renfro Trust Fund awards annual bricks-and-mortar grants to small rural United Methodist congregations in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Renfro Trust Funds are available for award with a deadline for application of August 12, 2019. The grants are available through the conference Office of Justice and Missional Excellence. To apply go to the Virginia Conference website, click on the menu for Office of Justice and Missional Excellence then scroll down to Renfro Grants. You will find the application and guidelines for applying. Churches may complete the online application and mail it or complete it online and send it electronically. More...

One Journey Festival: Celebration of refugees on June 29
One Journey is a grassroots alliance of nearly 1,000 members working to counter anti-refugee sentiment by shifting the narrative about refugees worldwide. The group fights hate and fear by celebrating the talents and contributions of newcomers, reminding America of its own immigrant roots, and connecting the public to organizations on the front lines of actively supporting refugees. They strive to build enduring allies for refugees and use cultural and technological tools to facilitate human connections between refugees and their host communities. The One Journey Festival, an all-day celebration of refugee talents and tenacity on the lawn of the Washington National Cathedral on June 29, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., is the signature event that has culminated from the volunteer interfaith network that launched in fall 2016. More…

Job posting: Mozambique Initiatives of Hope Coordinator
The Missional Ministries Board Initiatives of Hope (IOH) Team is searching for a coordinator for the Mozambique Mission Partnership. If you have a commitment and passion to be part of the conference missional priorities initiatives with a special connection/ interest to Mozambique, please contact Glenn Rowley at the conference office at

Learn more about Fresh Expressions at free event
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to dig into a fresh expression for your church or community! Fresh Expressions Roundtables are being hosted at three locations in August. This FREE event is for any clergy or laity in the VA Annual Conference interested in pursuing a fresh expression.
•    Winchester Roundtable, August 13, 1-4 p.m., Leesburg UMC, Leesburg
•    Roanoke Roundtable, August 14, 6-9 p.m., Cave Spring UMC, Roanoke
•    Elizabeth River Roundtable, August 15, 2-5 p.m., Ghent UMC, Norfolk
Reserve your spot at Contact Mark Ogren, conference director of Congregational Excellence, at 804.521.1155 or for questions.

Advocate editor looking for submissions related to Advocate magazine memories
Do you have memories of the Advocate magazine? After almost 200 years, the print and online publication will come to an end in 2019. In upcoming issues and on the conference website, memories from around the conference will be shared. Email Madeline Pillow at or mail to the conference office: ATTN: Madeline Pillow, P.O Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058.


Clergyman apologizes for filing complaint
The Rev. Heecheon Jeon has issued an open letter of apology to a fellow Iowa clergy member, saying he believes his decision to sign the Iowa Cabinet’s formal complaint against the elder in 2017 did “irreparable” harm as well as “deeply wounding” his own integrity. Jeon, Central District superintendent of the Iowa Conference, issued the open letter earlier this month. More... 

United Methodist Communications: Saying "hello" to your new pastor 
It's "moving season" for United Methodist clergy across the United States. If your congregation is welcoming a new pastor this year, take a moment to discover 50 ideas for saying a "healthy" goodbye and providing genuine welcome, thanks to an article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. More…

Vacation Bible School is not immune to racism
Youth ministers, lay leaders, parents, and especially children are excited -- Vacation Bible School season is here. It is, however, starting with controversy over one particular VBS curriculum created by Group Publishing called Roar! Life is Wild, God is God. Roar! is a five-day Africa-themed VBS curriculum that is insensitive and offensive toward people of color and more specifically, Africans and the entire continent of Africa. The General Commission on Religion and Race issued a statement calling out this curriculum for its institutional biases, blind spots, and lack of intercultural competency. In the statement, they also offer guidelines of what to look for and how to choose an inclusive church school curriculum. More...

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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