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News from the Virginia Conference - Nov. 3, 2016

Hopewell church partners with elementary school for hurricane relief efforts 
Wesley UMC in Hopewell adopted Patrick Copeland Elementary School this summer as a part of their new outreach. This outreach has led to a relationship in which Wesley UMC shared how the school could help relief efforts. In this article, Wesley UMC pastor Jacob Sahms talks about the enthusiastic kids at the school and the church’s outreach at the school. More… 

Foundation office seeking lending relationship manager 
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation is seeking a Lending Relationship Manager/Loan Origination Officer who possesses both a heart for local church stewardship and an aptitude for building effective relationships to assist church leadership in project planning, loan processing and strategic business analysis.  This position is responsible for generating church mortgage and development loans through solicitation of The United Methodist Church or related entities who are looking to borrow funds for re-financing of construction or capital improvement loans or real estate acquisition. Their focus will be on local church presentation, project management and processing for potential loan applications from churches and related entities for the Virginia United Methodist Development Fund, LLC. To apply, send cover letter and resume with contact information to: More...

Wesley Theological Seminary offers day of resources at Floris UMC
Wesley is hosting “A Day with Wesley at Floris UMC” on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Floris UMC, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, VA 20171. Designed for alumni and friends, clergy and laity, congregation leaders and members, attendees of the gathering will experience the broad spectrum of Wesley's resources. Experience break out sessions as well as talks with topics ranging from leading effective ministry teams to the current presidential election and what it means for the faithful. Childcare will be available as requested. Lunch will be provided at 12:00 noon for those who wish to stay and learn more about Wesley programming and classes. Registration is $10.  For more information please contact Marci Matthews at or (202) 885-8659. More… 

SU Youth Theology Institute now accepting nominations, applications
The Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute (SUYTI) is a new program, funded through the Lilly Foundation, offered to Christian youth as a partnership between Shenandoah University, Wesley Theological Seminary and the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC. The Youth Institute is designed to educate and inspire young Christians to become better leaders in their local congregations through deep and thought-provoking experiences. The program is a two-week immersive experience for rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders (offered July 23-August 5, 2017). There are slots for 30 students per year. Upon completion of the institute (and a self-determined justice project in their local faith community), students earn three undergraduate credits from Shenandoah University. For 2017 there is no cost passed on to student participants, except a $50 registration fee and the cost of travel to and from Shenandoah University.  Pastors and youth leaders can nominate youth they think will benefit from this youth theology institute and students can apply at The 2017 session of the SUYTI is now accepting nominations and applications until May 1, 2017. More…

Order Society of St. Andrew Advent devotions by Nov. 8 
With a daily Scripture reading, reflection and prayer for the four weeks leading up to Christmas, “Do Not Be Afraid” is a great resource for personal or congregational devotional use. Written by pastors and lay people from all walks of life, each day’s devotional offers depth and meaning in our fast-paced world. Order your FREE preview packet today to review “Do Not Be Afraid.” If you decide it’s right for your congregation, place your bulk order by Nov. 8 to ensure timely delivery. For more information and to place your order, visit

November is Native American Heritage Month
November is Native American Heritage Month. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship resources, including a Native American interpretation of Psalm 23. The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race offers resources to highlight the history, gifts and struggles of the First Americans, including resources for the Act of Repentance.

United Methodist Student Day is Sunday, Nov. 27
Sunday, Nov. 27, is United Methodist Student Day. Gifts received from this special offering become an investment in the future of the church through direct scholarships for higher education. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) Office of Loans and Scholarships administers these programs that award more than 3,500 students annually. Click here for pastor and leader kit resources. More ...

#GivingTuesday starts Tuesday, Nov. 29
United Methodists will once again come together on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. This year, consider supporting a project that is working in an area you care about, such as hunger and poverty, education or social justice. For a complete list of projects, visit The Advance. Should you have any questions about UMC #GivingTuesday, please contact Find UMC #GivingTuesday banners/ads, FAQs, impact stories and links to videos and other resources to help you participate in the campaign at the website. Visit to make your donation Nov. 29. More...

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference
In a press release on Nov. 2, it was announced that the United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their intent to call for a special session of the General Conference in either February or March of 2019 and asked the business manager of the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. The council’s action stops short of making the actual call for a special session, which is expected to come at some point after the Commission on a Way Forward begins its work. Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett and Bishop Al Gwinn, co-chairs of the Praying Our Way Forward Initiative, announced the second phase of the appeal, which involves each conference making a commitment to come together in prayer during a designated week. The effort would begin January 1, 2017 and continue into 2018. The first phase involved a commitment from bishops for daily prayer focused on the selection and initial efforts of the commission. Bishop Gwinn said the council is working in partnership The Upper Room, which has developed a website called More…

Mass incarceration is civil rights issue
Ndume Olatushani is an artist, teacher and internationally known speaker — success he achieved after spending 28 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Olatushani was one of the speakers at a national Prison Summit on Mass Incarceration sponsored by the United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century. More…  

Videos encourage faithful to vote
United Methodist leaders and others explain in shareable videos why it is important for people of faith to vote. The initiative was inspired by MARCHA and supported by the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry of The United Methodist Church. More… 

Interpreter magazine shares commentary on presidential election
Christians have had an ambivalent relationship with politics in the United States, but politics and government are part of life and “Jesus Christ wants to be lord of all of life, not just certain parts,” writes the Rev. Thomas A. Lambrecht in a commentary for Interpreter magazine. While Christians have a responsibility to participate, he adds that it is important for them to guard against equating a certain political party as being THE Christian party. More… 

Court to bishops: Rule on 'proper' questions of law
At its Oct. 25-28 meeting, the United Methodist Judicial Council addressed decisions of law by several bishops of annual conferences where positions of “non-conformity” to church law related to the ordination of gay clergy and other issues of sexuality had been adopted. More… 


Five creative ways to thank donors
How often and how well do churches thank their donors? Tricia Brown, in a story for United Methodist Communications, offers five creative ways to let donors know how much they are appreciated. More…

♦ Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training - Nov. 5
Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training will be offered 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Bruen Chapel UMC, 3035 Cedar Lane, Fairfax. Certified leader of the event will be the Rev. Ellen Comstock, retired Virginia Conference elder. Cost is $40 (plus $10 for lunch unless you bring your own) and includes background check, materials and completion badge. If you already have a background check through the conference within a year, cost will be $30. Completion of this course will allow you to assist survivors of disaster without having to be heavily involved in construction. Coupled with ERT training, this training would also allow you to be deployed with Early Response Teams. This event is open to both clergy and laity and might be of special interest to Lay Servants and those involved in Stephen Ministries, church teachers, visitation team members and others who feel specially called to participate in aspects of the church’s overall ministry and mission that require personal relating to people of various ages and backgrounds. To sign up by Nov. 3 or for more info, email Ellen Comstock ( 

♦ Virginia Diaconate Day Apart - Nov.7
The Virginia Diaconate will gather at Good Shepherd UMC in Richmond for the Virginia Diaconate Day Apart on Monday, Nov. 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The theme for the day will be "The Deacon and the Sacraments." Bishop Sharma Lewis will also be in attendance for the reflection and teaching on the book Deacons in the Liturgy (Ormonde Plater), the deacon's role in the sacraments and a Q&A on General Conference. The cost of the event is $10 and lunch is provided. Registration is online at: For questions, contact the Rev. Jason Stanley at

♦ Fall High School Retreat- Dec. 2-4
Register now for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreat, weekend retreat in which youths are challenged to grow as disciples of Christ through powerful worship, Bible study and small groups while building friendships with youths from all over Virginia. High School Retreat will be Dec. 2-4 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. This year's retreat will focus on “Just Move." Guest speakers will be Brooklyn and Coy Lindsey. Cost  is $145 Nov. 1-20. High School registration deadline is Nov. 20. More...

♦ Conference 25th Anniversary of UM Day at General Assembly Celebration - Jan. 14
The Conference Legislative Committee is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration of United Methodist Day at General Assembly, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at Centenary UMC, 411 E. Grace Street, Richmond, Va. The event will start with registration at 11 a.m., lunch at noon followed by a program at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is necessary and child care will be available. For more information, email Randy Harlow 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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