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News from the Virginia Conference - January 7, 2020

View livestream on Jan. 13 concerning "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation"
An unofficial group of representatives from various United Methodist advocacy groups and bishops from across the world has agreed on a proposal that would provide a pathway for separation of churches or annual conferences that wish to leave the denomination to start a new denomination(s), but only if approved by the United Methodist General Conference in May. Read more about this proposal and others coming before the General Conference. United Methodist News will conduct a live-streamed interview with a panel of group members at 9:30 a.m. ET on Jan. 13 on Bishop Sharma D. Lewis encourages the Virginia Conference to read this proposal and the FAQ sheet provided and to remain prayerful for the denomination. More...

Bishop Eutsler, trusted leader, dies at 100
United Methodists remember Bishop R. Kern Eutsler — who died Jan. 2 at age 100 — as both a master of the pulpit and administration, who was nevertheless down to earth. “He was able to move between local church and extension appointments with remarkable ease,” said the Rev. Douglas Forrester, lead pastor of Reveille United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia. “He was aware of his great gifts, comfortable in his own skin, but never haughty, always engaging with his sweet, self-deprecating sense of humor.” Among multiple appointments in his native Virginia, Eutsler served as pastor of Reveille and returned as a fellow worshipper in his retirement. The Richmond church will host his memorial service on Jan. 8. Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, who now leads the Virginia Conference, said “His gentle spirit will be missed by the Virginia Annual Conference.” More... 

Begin 2020 right: Start the 2020 Bible Challenge
Bishop Lewis is challenging the Virginia Conference once again to join her in reading the Bible all year long--this year with a thematic reading plan. Information can be found on the conference website. More... 

Cedarfield recognized as first dementia friendly business in Henrico
LeadingAge Virginia, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services in the Commonwealth, has recognized Cedarfield as the first Dementia Friendly Business in Henrico County. “This recognition confirms our team’s dedication to resident-centered support across the transitions of aging,” said Michael Shaw, Cedarfield’s executive director. “We live out our mission everyday of Enriching Life’s Journey. Cedarfield will always be committed to offering a range of support to maximize independence and ongoing community engagement for our residents.” Cedarfield is a life plan community in Henrico County, Virginia. Opened in 1996, Cedarfield is built on the solid foundation of Pinnacle Living, a not-for-profit provider of retirement living in Virginia since 1948. More...

Job opportunities available on conference website
You can find job opportunities from around the connection on the conference website. For details, follow the link. More... 

Death notices, obituaries available on conference website
For informational purposes, you can access recent death notice and obituaries on the conference website. More... 

Kindred Project invites you to morning of prayer, holy conversation in Richmond
Kindred Project invites you to a morning of contemplative prayer and holy conversation on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Welborne UMC (920 Maybeury Dr, Henrico, VA 23229). Bagels and spreads and coffee will be provided. At 8:30 a.m., there will be a celebration of the Eucharist and devotions followed by silent contemplative prayer and conversation. Donations will be accepted to cover the cost of the bagels.  If you can attend, please email Joy Crawford at or David Canada at

Reimbursement for Advocate magazine subscriptions available
If your subscription to the Virginia Advocate runs past 2019, you may contact the conference Communications Office to get a reimbursement or to donate your remaining balance to ongoing communications efforts or UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Contact the Communications Office at 804-521-1110 or email expiration date can be found on the mailing label of the magazine. Reimbursements will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2020.

Bishop invites laity to February 2020 gathering
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis is inviting laity from around the conference for a time of connection following her return from medical leave on Feb. 8, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Woodlake UMC in Chesterfield and at five other satellite locations. "It is my deep desire to reconnect with you in a personal and special way having been away from you for six months on medical leave,” Lewis said. “Let us come together both in person and through satellite locations to have a time of worship, fellowship, anointing, sharing our hearts, and reconnecting. I want to hear from you and I want to share my journey with you." More...

Wesley Open Houses in January, online and on-campus
Do you have questions about what seminary is like, what a Wesley education will prepare you to do, or how to finance your education? Or are you feeling that now is the time to return to school for your Doctor of Ministry degree? Wesley Theological Seminary invites you to their open houses - online and on-campus -  in January 2020 to find out more about both Master-level degrees and Doctor of Ministry programs.

•    On-campus: Doctor of Ministry Info Day: Jan. 14, 2020, 9 2:30 p.m.
Learn about the many ministry-based D.Min. degree tracks available at Wesley, experience a D.Min. class, tour the campus, learn about financial aid and hear from D.Min. students and graduates about their experience at Wesley. Register...

•    Online: Virtual Wesley Webinar, Jan. 16, noon-12:25 p.m. Eastern
Join current seminarian Liz and recent graduate Elijah for The Wesley Hour, a discussion about the realities of seminary and life at Wesley. Bring your questions about master-level degree options and specializations, course scheduling and accessibility, internships and fellowships, student groups, study abroad, community worship and activities, housing options, and more. Register...

Danville flood recovery nearly complete
In October 2018 Hurricane Michael dumped six inches of rain on the city of Danville in 90 minutes. Less than four weeks before the remnants of the hurricane hit, the Dan River had been at levels not seen in Danville since the remnants of Hurricane Fran in the fall of 1996. The excess rushing water flooded homes and businesses and destroyed roads. Now the recovery is nearly complete but teams are still needed for early 2020. More... 

Bishop Lewis writes Lenten devotional
While on medical leave, Bishop Lewis wrote a Lenten devotional for 2020. Learn more about this and other news from Lewis at the link. More...

Share your opinion: Conference DCM invites vision alignment input
The Virginia Conference Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith is asking for feedback as the conference seeks to better align itself to the conference vision shared by Bishop Lewis at Annual Conference 2017. Vision alignment feedback may be emailed to More...

Register now for 2020 Faithful Aging Conference
The 2020 Faithful Aging Conference will be held on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020, at Bonsack UMC in Roanoke. The Rev. Dr. Richard (Rick) H. Gentzler Jr., Tennessee Conference director of Encore Ministry of The United Methodist Church, will be the opening keynote presenter. Gentzler, a much sought after speaker, teacher, and writer, is an internationally recognized leader in the field of aging and older adult ministries. He is author of numerous books and hundreds of articles on aging and older adult ministry. His latest book, An Age of Opportunity: Intentional Older Adult Ministry, was published in 2018. Other books and resources written by him include: Aging & Ministry in the 21st Century: An Inquiry Approach; The Graying of the Church; Designing an Older Adult Ministry; Aging: God’s Challenge to Church and Synagogue; Forty-Sixty: A Guide for Midlife Adults Who Want to Make a Difference; and, Rock of Ages (a large print worship and song book). For additional information or questions, contact Martha Stokes, director of Church and Community Relations with Pinnacle Living, by phone at 804-474-8718 or by email at More...

Celebrate Heart Havens Month
Help Heart Havens share their message of inclusion and empowerment across the Virginia Conference. The organization empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live and thrive in their community. Heart Havens depends on the support of church friends during February to sustain their mission as they do not receive any funding from conference apportionments. Please contact them to learn about participating in Heart Havens month. Additional electronic resources will be available on their website in January. Contact Sara Becker at 804-237-6097 or for more information. More…

Registration open for UM Day 2020
Registration is now open for United Methodist Day at the General Assembly in 2020 presented by the Virginia Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Women and the Virginia Legislative Network Committee. The date for the event is Jan. 30, 2020. This year there will be a new location for the event at The Pace Center, 700 W. Franklin Street in Richmond.  Learn 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...


Reaction aplenty to separation plan
United Methodists of various perspectives are reacting to a major new plan for getting past the denomination’s long struggle over how inclusive to be of LGBTQ persons — one that calls for traditionalists separating and forming their own church group. Support, criticism, heartbreak. All were all voiced and sometimes in combination. So was concern, including from Africa, about who wasn’t represented well enough at the negotiating table. Many church leaders stressed that the plan is just that — a plan — and delegates to the 2020 General Conference, set for May 5-15 in Minneapolis, will have the final say. More...

Children at refugee camp get Christmas surprise
An impulse of generosity led a delegation from The United Methodist Church and the Aboisso District in Côte d'Ivoire to cross the Ghanaian border on Christmas Day with armfuls of gifts for more than 540 refugee children. The courtyard of the public square of the camp in southwestern Ghana came alive with Christmas decorations and the vivid colors of the flags of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Spectators of all ages flocked to the area to witness the celebration. It was the first time an event like this had taken place at the camp, which opened in 2011. Children ages 12 and younger had their eyes glued to the gift packages brought by the Ivorian delegation as they waited for Santa Claus, some more impatient than others. “At a time like this, when we didn't know how to give Christmas presents to our children, the gesture of the church is a balm in the heart,” said Debi Dalli Gbalawoulou, a resident of the camp and former director of the National Press Council in Côte d'Ivoire. “The refugees don't have enough means to give food to the children, let alone Christmas presents.” More...

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