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News from the Virginia Conference - September 3, 2019

Clergy asked to attend ‘Re-Calibrate’ event with Bishop Lewis
All Virginia Conference clergy are invited to “Re-Calibrate,” a day apart experience to reconnect, celebrate and have a healing moment with Bishop Lewis. The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Location will be the Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center (20809 2nd Avenue, Petersburg, VA 23803). Clergy are asked to make this gathering a priority to attend whether they are active, retired, bi-vocational, extension ministers, or supply pastors. Registration for the event is available at the link. Questions may be directed to your district superintendent. More…

Bishop Weaver shares final "Partners in Ministry" reflection
Bishop Pete Weaver, interim bishop of the Virginia Conference, shares weekly reflections of recent events and ministries in the conference. This week, Bishop Weaver shares his final post as his interim period draws to a close. More…

Kindred Project invites you to pray
The Prayer Room at General Conference is filled with ways for delegates and visitors to prayerfully focus on God, including a prayer labyrinth.The Kindred Project invites all clergy and lay persons to join them in deepening awareness to God’s presence. The Kindred Project ( is a group of clergy and laity who gather together for the practice of spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, fellowship and communion. The group will start convening at a new location at Madison UMC (505 S. Main Street, Madison, Virginia 22727) beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. The event will feature Scripture and silent time (Centering Prayer), conversation and fellowship and Holy Communion. All are welcome. For more information please contact the Rev. Bruce Lugn at or the Rev Dan Albrant at

Learn more about 5 Talent Academy fall event
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis will be one of the presenters at the Five Talent Academy event on Thursday,  Nov. 14. This event will be livestreamed 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. from Woodlake UMC and 11 satellite locations around the state. Lewis is senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 1,100-member multiethnic, welcoming, and inclusive congregation in New York City.  To register, visit For more information, contact the Center for Congregational Excellence at 804.521.1155 or

Wesley Theological Seminary students sharing innovation in young adult ministry
Wondering how to reach out to young adults in your community? Join Wesley Theological Seminary on Sept. 7, 2019 and discover how Wesley Theological Seminary students and local congregations are creating the future of young adult outreach now. Hear TED-styled talks from diverse congregations across the DC Metro area who have been experimenting with new ways to reach young adults 23-29 years of age for the past two years as part of the Wesley Innovation Hub. Bring your ideas and contribute to the innovation by sharing your feedback to the presentations. This initiative has been made possible with hard work by Wesley student researchers and graduates and generous funding by the Lilly Foundation. The event is free of charge. All are welcome!  More...

Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation event to be held in 2020
"Songs for the Journey" will be the theme for the Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation event from Mar. 15-20, 2020. The event will be held at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond and will be a week of renewal, worship, prayer and learning with faculty, Dr. Don E. Saliers and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat. More... 

Register now for The Big Silence Retreat
Register now for The Big Silence Retreat, a four-day, mostly silent retreat offering a deeper experience of solitude, silence, and prayer at the beautiful St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, N.C., from Sunday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 19-22, 2020. Start the new year off right by setting an inner course of connection with God to support your life and ministry in the months to come. Praying the hours in community is complemented by a variety of silent prayer practices and wonderful spaces just to be present with the Spirit. More... 

Learn more about Convergence 2020
The Convergence High School Youth Theology Institute on faith and science brought 37 high school students to Randolph-Macon College this past June to discover where their Christian beliefs and scientific principles intersect. Convergence 2020 will be held June 20-28, 2020. Applications and nominations for current 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students interested in participating in Convergence 2020 are open now on the website. The cost to participate is only $400 for this 9-day program. Upon high school graduation, if a Convergence participant chooses to attend Randolph-Macon, they will receive a $1,000 annual scholarship for each year they participated in Convergence.  Please contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes or Laura Ruxton ( with any questions about the program. More...

Laity Sunday is Oct. 20
This year, Laity Sunday will be Oct. 20, 2019. Contact your district lay leader and directors of Lay Servant Ministries for assistance. More...

Henry Fork Center seeking executive director
Henry Fork Service Center, Rocky Mount, Va., is seeking an executive director. The position of executive director is unique in that she/he has expectations from both the Virginia Annual Conference and the Henry Fork Service Center. It is the responsibility of the executive director to supervise the overall program, mission, and activities of the Center. The executive director, using strong leadership and training skills, should provide recommendations for improved programming, staffing, facilities, communications, and public relations. For details, visit the Virginia Conference jobs opportunities page. More...

Educational opportunity for high school students, parents at Randolph-Macon College
For the 2019-20 academic year, Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in Ashland, Va., will host on Saturday, Oct. 26, “Valuing the Voices in Our Church,” an opportunity for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to
     •  explore God’s call in their lives,
     •  grow in leadership skills,
     •  and develop an awareness and appreciation for diversity within the church.
There will be activities and programming for high school participants, parents/guardians, and younger siblings. Participants will explore their own leadership style, hear stories of call/leadership from a variety of speakers, and be part of a workshop focused on valuing their own unique voice and discerning God's call in their own lives. Parents who attend will enjoy two workshops: "How to tell your story to your children" and "How to listen and allow your child to tell his/her own story" along with a presentation by the R-MC Admissions Office to assist families in navigating the college application process. Childcare and activities are also provided for younger siblings who register to attend with Valuing the Voices participants. From November through May, the school will create an online video conference-style format to keep the high school participants connected. Applications are open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (2019-20 academic year).  The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.  If accepted, participants are asked to submit a $20 registration fee to hold their place.  There are no other expenses for the program, though participants will need to travel to R-MC for the Oct. 26 event and have access to computer/phone and Internet for the ongoing video community. More…

September Advocate explores personal, prayerful motivation    
It’s “back-to-school” time and the changing of the season often makes people reflective and seeking motivation. Learn more about how you can get motivated in your ministry in the September Advocate, consider your prayer life in some activities and learn how to create a mandala. Starting in the September issue, memories are shared about the Advocate magazine from two former Advocate editors. This special “Advocate Remembered” section will run through the December issue.

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 for any 2019 issue at or 804-521-1110.

Submit petitions to General Conference
Updated instructions for petitions to the 2020 General Conference by clergy, laity, or organizations of The United Methodist Church can be found at the final link. Petitions can be submitted within the GC2020 website, by email to, or by fax to 615-369-2405. The final submission deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Paragraph 507 of the Discipline details the process required for General Conference petitions. The following link gives details for the specified format for consideration of petitions. More…


Successful evangelism includes trusting the call
An addict turned drug counselor, the Rev. Casey Turner won’t name his old choice of poison. He says there are too many from which to choose. Plus, he prefers to look forward. “We talk about the answer, not the problem,” said Turner, co-founder and executive director of Breaking Bonds Ministries Inc. in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It is a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Turner, who runs Breaking Bonds with his wife and co-founder, Tiffanie Turner, received a Denman Award at the Arkansas Conference May 29-June 1. The award recognizes exceptional ministries of evangelism. Instead of focusing on drugs and alcohol, Breaking Bonds counselors talk about Jesus, love, grace and trust, Turner said. “What I have found after many years of doing this, is if you have somebody who’s been beaten their entire life, sometimes all they need is a little bit of love.” More…

Cholera concerns grow in East Congo
While the World Health Organization has declared Congo’s Ebola outbreak a public health emergency, a cholera epidemic also is raising concerns in the North and South Kivu provinces. Emery Lohandjola, nurse manager of Majengo Health Center — a United Methodist hospital in Goma — said he fears the worst for his area. More than 37 cases of cholera were observed in July and the number has continued to increase in August, he said. From Aug. 1-20, there have been at least 45 cases of cholera reported at the health center. Cholera is an infectious disease usually spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and can be deadly if left untreated. In May, Congo’s Ministry of Health, with support from the World Health Organization, began a vaccination campaign aimed at immunizing more than 800,000 people against cholera in North Kivu, according to ReliefWeb. Despite those efforts, at least four people have died from cholera since July 5 in Goma and the neighboring Nyiragongo territory, according to health authorities in the region. More...

Bishop's Convocation on Prayer- Sept. 21
The Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 at Trinity UMC in Richmond. Both clergy and laity are invited to attend the gathering which will include Dr. Terry Tekyl as plenary speaker and breakout small groups. Deadline to register is Sept. 13. For more information, contact the Rev. Ted Smith, director of Connectional Ministries, at More…

United Methodist Men Spiritual Advance- Sept. 27-28
Registration is now open for the 2019 UMMen’s Spiritual Advance at Baylake UMC in Virginia Beach on Sept. 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.  A box lunch option is available on Saturday to allow for more fellowship on site with brothers in Christ. More...

5 Talent Academy fall event- Nov. 13,14
The theme for this year’s 5 Talent event is Engage 2019: Community Transformation.  There are two events: one just for clergy and one for clergy and laity.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 will be a Clergy-only Pre-event at Woodlake UMC and will feature Bishop Ken Carter, Florida Conference UMC.  He will speak about redefining the UM connection and evangelism, the role of fresh expressions, and how to shape missional relationships in the current cultural landscape.
Thursday, Nov. 14 will be the main Clergy and Laity event at Woodlake UMC and livestreamed to 11 satellite locations around the state.  Bishop Carter will be preaching and speakers will be the Rev. Michael Adam Beck, Wildwood UMC, Wildwood, Fla.; the Rev. Jaqueline Lewis, Middle Collegiate Church, New York, N.Y.; and the Rev. Andy and the Rev. Anjie Woodworth, Neighborhood Church, Atlanta, Ga.  They will address what it looks like to be a neighborhood church, what is a community partner, and what is a fresh expression.
If you plan to attend in a group from your church, every fifth person in a group registration goes free. Fees for the events are as follows: Nov. 14 event - $35; Nov. 13 & 14 events - $60; Nov. 13 event only - $50. Registration prices increase after Sept. 30.  To register, visit For questions, contact MaryKaye Cochran 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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