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News from the Virginia Conference - May 7, 2019

Join Bishop Weaver at upcoming District Days events
Bishop Pete Weaver issued a letter on Apr. 27 in response to the United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council’s rulings pertaining to the 2019 General Conference. Bishop Weaver also invites clergy and laity of the Virginia Conference to join him in district gatherings in May and early June to engage in conversations. Click here for details. More…

24 United Methodist church leaders discuss potential split
Following the February 2019 session of The United Methodist General Conference, many United Methodists returned to their Sunday school classes, worship services and small groups, asking the same question: “Where do we go from here?” In Where Do We Go From Here?: Honest Responses From Twenty-Four United Methodist Leaders, four bishops, several pastors, laypersons, campus ministers, students, general board directors and others share their honest responses to the question, “Where do we go from here?” Voices from the traditional, centrist and progressive viewpoints share their thoughts on where their church is and where it should go from here.  Kevin Slimp, publisher at Market Square Books, credits Bishop Kenneth Carder (retired) for his support in connecting with many of the writers so quickly. “Bishop Carder believed in the project from the beginning, and his support can’t be overstated,” said Slimp. Other bishops involved in Where Do We Go From Here? include president of the Council of Bishops Kenneth H. Carter Jr. (Florida), Robert Farr (Missouri) and Sharma D. Lewis (Virginia). More…

Annual Conference Worship Team needs your pictures
The Worship Team is looking for a few more images for Annual Conference 2019. Deadline is May 15 and may be submitted to What is needed: Images and videos of the street, specifically the sign, where you live. The team wants to collect images from all over the Virginia Conference that show the diversity of location and context: rural, urban, mountain, beach, and everything in between. The team is drawing inspirations from Jesus' words in Matthew 28:19-20, "Therefore go and make disciples..." and Jesus' words in Luke 14:23, "Go out to the highways and byways..."
To help share this in your churches, a bulletin insert, two flyers, a worship slide and two social media images can be found at the Annual Conference 2019 page at Please send all images and videos digitally to: All images and videos must be received by May 15. Contact the Rev. Sarah Payne for any questions at

Opportunity for churches, members to serve families in Guatemalan Highlands
Are you or members of your church interested in serving this summer with families in the Guatemalan Highlands?  Highland Support Project (HSP) has a team with open spaces, and is set to travel July 6-13 to assist the AMA Cooperative with stove or sweat bath construction helping families reduce firewood or water use. This is an opportunity to learn about Mayan culture, build relationships with global neighbors, learn more about yourself and others, support a nonprofit that supports local persons and their priorities, and so much more. Learn more about the mission of HSP at
This team will be made up of members of several different congregations, some who have volunteered with HSP in the past and others who have never traveled internationally.  The Rev. Kendra Grimes,  chaplain at Randolph-Macon College, will serve as team leader and guide daily reflections and worship opportunities. Contact Grimes for questions at or 804-752-7374.        
Sign up by emailing by May 15. The cost is $750 for the flight (due to HSP by May 15) and $985 for food, lodging, activities, and project expenses (due June 6 to HSP.)

New campus ministry workshop opportunity available
Is God calling you, and your congregation, into new ways of serving students? A pilot of a new lay servant course focused on empowering local congregations to grow in understanding and service to students in your local contexts is open to both laity and clergy at Shenandoah University on Saturday, June 1 and Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Brandt Center Room 123. The cost is free with lunch provided and both days are required to complete the course. The purpose of this 10-hour course (taught in two, five-hour sessions) is to help church leaders guide their congregations in a process of discernment and planning to better support college students. This course will help participants do the following:
• Think theologically about their congregation’s motivations and goals for creating a student ministry
• Orient themselves within the current landscape of higher education in the United States and locate their congregation within the particularity of their own institutional landscape
• Understand the importance of setting congregational goals and expectations that prioritize student needs and voices
• Identify the areas of ministry potential that already exist within their congregation and imagine new ways God may be calling them to use these gifts to serve students
• Create a plan to facilitate continued discernment and student ministry building in their congregation

For any questions please contact the Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger at 315-527-7383 or Reserve your spot by using the form at the link by May 30, 2019. More...

Information about 4 Cans 4 Conference at Annual Conference 2019
Want to Can Conference? You Can with the Bishop's and Cabinet's permission. So plan on it. Can Conference this June. Can Conference with 4 Cans or 4 box loads of cans or 4 car loads of cans and be a blessing to the Roanoke community and the Roanoke Rescue Mission. All donations of nonperishable food are welcome (but no home canned food, glass jars or out dated items). Look too for cans with pop tops (not everyone who receives this food will have a can opener available). Monetary donations welcome also. Make checks payable to Roanoke Rescue Mission (NOT the conference) and mark them "Food Pantry.”  Checks can be brought to the collection truck (or mailed to 5441 Centralia Road, N. Chesterfield, VA 23237).  Volunteers are also needed at the truck during conference.  See and click on 'volunteers' to work a shift or share a shift. For questions, contact the Rev. Herb Brynildsen at

Lewis Center podcast: "Leaving Well and Starting Strong: Planning for an Effective Pastoral Transition" featuring Lovett H. Weems Jr.
How can a pastor avoid common pitfalls and make the most of opportunities when moving from one congregation to the next? In this podcast episode on The Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Lovett H. Weems, Jr. talks about how to plan for a pastoral transition, leave well, and get off to a strong start in a new church. More…

All God’s Children Camp still in need of mentors
All God’s Children Camp is just a few weeks away from giving children, ages 7 to 12 with an incarcerated mother or father, a week at camp with activities such as boating, swimming, crafts, Bible study and conflict resolution. Mentors are still needed to make this possible. Four male and seven female mentors are still needed. If you are 16 or older and are available for the dates of June 16-21, please contact Loris Smith, camp director, at 571-245-9591 or

Guide to Annual Conference 2019
Attendees of the Virginia Annual Conference 2019 can expect a few differences this year. The format this year is changing from a Friday-Sunday schedule to a Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 5K Walk, Run, Bike and Yoga event is scheduled. More…. Updates and more information about AC 2019 can be found at

Notice: Volunteer sign-ups, agenda now posted for AC 2019
You can find all current information about Annual Conference 2019 on the Virginia Conference website at As new information is shared, it will be updated at the same link.

Information about delegation voting at AC2019
Virginia Conference delegate Alison Malloy uses a voting machine to cast her ballot at General Conference.The Virginia Conference will elect 22 delegates to the 2020 General Conference (11 clergy and 11 laity) and an additional 11 clergy and 11 laity to join the General Conference delegates for the 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Elections will be conducted during the 2019 session of the Virginia Annual Conference to be held June 20-22, 2019 at The Berglund Center in Roanoke. The election of delegates will be conducted on the afternoon and evening of June 20.
Click here to download/read the Conference Rules for the election of General and Jurisdictional conference delegates.
Click here to download/review a booklet of laity nominees.
Click here to download/review a booklet of clergy nominees.
Persons wishing to have a printed copy of the booklets may send an email request to The cost of each printed booklet is $15 to cover the cost of printing and postage.
This information is posted on the Virginia Annual Conference website at

Conference accepting nominations for the Green Church Award
Caretakers of God’s Creation, a ministry of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society, is now accepting applications for the Green Church Award, an award recognizing churches in the Virginia Conference who are answering God’s call to be caretakers of God’s creation. Nominees should be churches who are dedicated to caring for and healing God’s creation, as demonstrated in five areas of church life: worship, discipleship, stewardship, evangelism and mission. To nominate a church to receive this award, please send a letter with the name, address, phone number and email of the church and a church representative. Also send a detailed description of what that church is doing to care for creation in these five ministry areas. Send all items to the Rev. Anita Mays at The deadline to receive applications is May 15, 2019. The winner will be contacted prior to Annual Conference, and the award will be presented during the 2019 Annual Conference session.


Bishop Carter urges UMC to ‘Welcome unconditionally; Walk together and Worship constantly’
The May 2019 Meeting of the Council of Bishops (COB) officially opened on Sunday, May 5 with COB President Bishop Kenneth H. Carter calling on United Methodists to “Welcome unconditionally; Walk together and Worship constantly” as part of their calling as disciples of Jesus Christ. Delivering his sermon during the opening worship at the Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare Hotel, Bishop Carter reminded his fellow bishops that they are embarking on the adventure of a Council of Bishops meeting in the midst of a turbulent and chaotic moment. “We need to leave this place different than when we arrived. Something needs to happen. We need to say something to the church. Something needs to change,” he told the more than 120 active and retired bishops in attendance. The Council of Bishops meeting runs until Thursday morning. More…

Rachel Held Evans, Christian writer of honesty and humor, dies at age 37
Rachel Held Evans, a popular progressive Christian writer and speaker, died Saturday, May 4 at age 37 after a brief illness. Evans had been in a medically induced coma for several weeks and never returned to an alert state. Evans is best known for her popular blog and best-selling books, including New York Times best-seller A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Searching for Sunday and, most recently, Inspired. She also served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In her books and blog posts, she wrote openly about her faith journey, which led her from Bryan College — a conservative evangelical school known for promoting belief in a literal, six-day creation — to the mainline Episcopal Church. Along the way, she chronicled her faith, doubt, honest questions and evolving beliefs with a sense of humor. More…

Episcopal and United Methodist churches take step toward full communion
The Episcopal Church – United Methodist Dialogue Committee has agreed to send a resolution for full communion to be considered by the Council of Bishops and for possible consideration by the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. The members of the committee made the decision during their meeting April 29-30 at First United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. More…

District Days with Bishop Weaver - May, June 2019
Bishop Pete Weaver is inviting clergy and laity of the Virginia Conference to join him in district gatehrings in May and early June. More...

Virginia Annual Conference - Jun. 20-22
The Virginia Annual Conference will be held in Roanoke, Va. in the Berglund Center from Jun. 20-22. More information is available at

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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