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March 31, 2020
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In 2017, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared the vision of the conference "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve." 

    • How can you be a lifelong learner this week? Take a virtual tour of 33 National Parks all from your home. More...
    • How can you be an influencer this week? Write a letter of encouragement to your local healthcare workers during the pandemic. Link has information for VCU Health in Richmond. More... 
    • How can you serve this week? Pull out your church directory and call some of your church's members. Be sure to also check in on your homebound members. 

 

News from the Virginia Conference - March 31, 2020

Bishops extends in-person worship cancellation for entire month of April
Following Governor Northam's March 30 executive order, Bishop Lewis has cancelled in-person worship for Virginia Conference churches for the whole month of April. On April 30, further closures will be evaluated as Bishop Lewis and conference leaders continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation. These recent changes are reflected in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document are the conference website. More... 

Conference Treasurer's Office unveils new donation site
The Virginia Conference Treasurer’s Office is pleased to announce the launch of a donation website. The Virginia Conference recognizes this is a period of hardship for many and in an effort to assist and facilitate giving for those churches that may not be able to do so on their own, this website has been created for online giving as well as offering the option to support the Pandemic Relief Fund. This is a collection of funds on behalf of the conference in an effort to support those organizations who are affected by or providing assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More... 

Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) prioritizes 2020 apportionments
The Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) recognizes the impact that the pandemic is having on local churches in the Virginia Conference. After meeting over the last week, CFA is responding by prioritizing the apportionments for 2020 in an effort to relieve the impact our local churches are experiencing. By prioritizing apportionments, this will allow churches to pay the critical and essential amounts to support the Virginia Conference clergy and connection. More...

10 easy ways to take time for you and why you should
Many pastors struggle to stay sane because they’re operating under the handicap of a flawed philosophy of Christian leadership,” from Self-Care for the Weary Pastor. Are you a member of the club: The few who do the majority of the work at your church — especially now in these demanding times? As a church leader, it’s imperative that you take care of yourself. Unfortunately, that goes against the grain for many pastors and ministry servants who feel on call 24/7 and feel guilty for needing time off. Even Jesus needed solitude, and he encouraged his disciples to get away for a break. More...

 Resources available to clergy, local churches during pandemic
Learn more about how churches are staying connected, information about livestreaming and copyright and digital media resources on the conference website. More...

 Conference center Chapel services return April 8
Though the conference center remains closed until further notice, weekly Wednesday services will start back up on Wednesday, April 8. You can find the services starting at 9 a.m. on the conference Facebook. More... 

 Conference DCM shares message during pandemic
The Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, conference Director of Connectional Ministries(DCM), shares his thoughts on becoming a more connected church through the pandemic of COVID-19. More...

Online giving solutions for churches offered through VANCO
Learn more about online giving at your local church in the midst of the pandemic and the closure of churches to in-person worship. The conference Treasurer's Office provides more information with an offer from VANCO. More... 

Bishop Lewis encourages daily noon prayer during pandemic
Bishop Lewis is inviting the Virginia Conference to daily prayer at noon during the pandemic. Last week she shared in a letter, "I would like to thank several of you that have suggested a corporate prayer time for the Virginia Annual Conference. I am very blessed to lead an annual conference that believes in the power of the petitioned prayer! Please join me at 12 noon every day and pray the printed prayer listed on the website. Let us invoke the power of the Great Physician to do a mighty work in eradicating this disease all over the world." More... 

FAQ document shared concerning recent Virginia Conference response, precautions to COVID-19
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document was shared March 16 in order to share important dates for the Virginia Conference to know in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread document was shared March 16 on the CDC website. Due to these changes, in-person worship services are now cancelled for churches in the Virginia Conference on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Please refer to this document going forward as all changes in precautions and important dates will be noted here. As more information is released by Bishop Lewis in the coming days and weeks, the conference website and this document will be updated accordingly. More...

Clergy reminded to check vaumc.org email addresses
As Bishop Lewis and conference leadership continue to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, you can find the latest news and precautions on the conference website at: https://vaumc.org/Coronavirus2020. Clergy are reminded that this news is also being sent to your vaumc.org email addresses, and it is imperative that clergy are checking in with the latest information being released by the conference office. Following directives from national and state officials, these communications will be updated as necessary and precautions now in place will be changed or extended as the bishop and conference leaders continue to monitor the situation. You can also forward your vaumc.org email addresses to your primary email address to cut down on the number of email accounts you are checking. More information here.

View information about Annual Conference 2020
You can access all the latest news concerning Annual Conference 2020 on the conference website. Information now available is housing information as well as requests for the Display Space. More... 

Join Mission Encounter this summer
Are you looking to learn more about issues important to you, your family and your church?  Are you seeking to grow spiritually as you come upon stories, scripture and information that may help you deal with these issues? This summer join Mission Encounter July 24, 25, and 26 at Smith Mountain Lake. The United Methodist Women (UMW) and the Board of Global Ministries work together in creating this weekend event for the Virginia Conference, providing important studies of interest and purpose. One continuing education credit is offered for full participation in the weekend and the registration fee is all inclusive with meals and lodging. Study books are typically a nominal fee and can be ordered through the UMWmissionresources.org.
The topics and presenters this year are spot-on with their pertinence and significance in helping to discover peace in our lives and in learning more about important social justice issues. Here is the list of this summer’s study offerings:

  •     -Spiritual Growth Study: Finding Peace in an Anxious World    Leaders: Rev. Nancy Robinson, Rev. Rick Geoghegan, Rev. Dr. Clayton Childers
       
       - Spiritual Growth Youth Study: Managing Anxiety (Saturday event for youth and leaders) 
        Dr. Jan Nicholson, Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Life, Ferrum College

      -  Issue Study: Pushout - The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
        Dr. Jack Call, Professor of Criminal Justice, Radford University
        Judy Diggs, Director of Equity, Diversity and Tiered Interventions for Montgomery County Public Schools

       - Special Publication: Women United for Change: 150 Years in Mission
        Louise Miller, Conference UMW Archivist

        This event is highly encouraged for all those who work or volunteer in children’s or youth ministry, mission ministry, clergy, UMW members, UMM members, and anyone who wants to learn more and grow deeper in their understanding of how faith and commitment to a just and peaceful world are important.  More information and registration may be found at the link or by contacting Darlene Runaldue, Mission Encounter dean, at darrunaldue@gmail.org. More... 

Nominations period extended for Virginia Conference lay leader
Warren R. Harper will conclude service as Virginia Conference Lay Leader in June 2020. The search process for the next Conference Lay Leader is underway. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church states that the Conference Lay Leader is “the elected leader of the conference laity” who has “responsibility for fostering awareness of the role of the laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community, and world in achieving the mission of the Church and enabling and supporting lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, district, and local church in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents, and pastors” (¶607, 2016 Book of Discipline). The Conference Lay Leader shall be elected for a term of not less than four years by the annual conference as the annual conference may determine. The application for service as the Conference Lay Leader is available in the link below. Interested persons should contact John Meeuwissen, Search Committee chair, with any questions at 7900 Bressingham Dr, Fairfax Station, VA 22039-3156; john.meeuwissen@verizon.net. The submission deadline for nominations profiles has been extended until April 15, 2020. The Search Committee seeks your prayers as they move through this process. More... 

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General Conference to move to 2021
Subsequent to the announcement by the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference that the 2020 General Conference will be postponed, the full Commission met March 21, 2020 to determine next steps to take in setting a new date. After hearing recommendations from Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the General Conference, and discussion of possible alternatives, the Commission made a determination that the General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned and elected to work toward setting a date in 2021. “As we looked at the complex issues that we will need to navigate to reschedule the event and the lack of options available, it does not appear feasible to plan for 2020,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission. “These issues include the undetermined length of the pandemic, uncertainty around travel bans in different areas of the world, delays in processing visas due to government and business closures and other questions.” In giving direction for next steps, the Commission resolved that holding the event in Minneapolis is a high priority and authorized the business manager to pursue negotiations regarding other dates available at the Minneapolis Convention Center in 2021. More...

Podcasts give churches ‘germ-free’ way to minister
As ongoing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 keep in-person gatherings from happening, United Methodists continue to find new ways to connect and minister online. If they weren’t already podcasting, many are starting to do so. Podcasts have continued to rise in popularity for several years — with more than 900,000 podcasts currently estimated to be in production. Since episodes can be downloaded and listened to at any time, it’s truly “meeting people where they are.” The Rev. Chris McAlilly, pastor at Oxford University United Methodist Church in Oxford, Mississippi, had just begun a podcast, “The Weight,” to discuss topics like the church’s ongoing discussions about homosexuality and the future direction of the denomination. Two episodes had been published and several more were waiting to post when the pandemic response reached a level of shutting down worship services and other gatherings. More... 

 


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