A hard-bitten boss paces around a circle of workers in his sales force. “I got a phone call this morning from one of our oldest customers,” he says. “He fired us. After 20 years, he fired us. Said he didn’t know us anymore.”
The scene is from a United Airlines commercial from almost 30 years ago. The boss’s response is to tell his sales people that they’re going to stop doing business by phone and fax. (This was in the days before email.) They’re going to go have face-to-face conversations with their customers. “But Ben, that’s over 200 cities,” one man protests.
“I don’t care,” Ben the Boss says. And he hands out plane tickets. (From United, of course.)
I’ve been thinking about that commercial lately as I think about the United Methodist Church. Like the fictional company in the ad, we’ve been around for awhile. Also like that company, many of the people we used to touch don’t know us anymore. For all our fascination with programs and new communication technologies, relationships still matter. As does our willingness to put ourselves where people are.
Many United Methodists, myself included, are internally focused during these early months of 2019 as we await the special General Conference that will consider plans for a way forward beyond our impasses over human sexuality. But I fantasize about a meeting on February 27, the day after that conference, when we recreate the old United ad (and the old model of those traveling circuit riders). When we all take an assignment to go out and talk face-to-face with the people we say we serve, whom God loves, and who feel that they don’t know us anymore.
My hope is that we will be able to do that because these months of prayerful preparation will help US know who we are. Let’s get flying again.
Polar Duck Dip
on Sat., Jan. 26
Where: Occohannock on the Bay Camp and Retreat Center, Belle Haven
Contestant Sign In: 11:00am
Photo & Judging: 11:30am
Polar Duck Dip: 12:00pm
Registration Fee: $20 per person includes lunch (Register by January 15th to receive a free commemorative long sleeved shirt)
Don’t delay. Register today for the Polar Duck Dip and continue to help this wonderful ministry reach our community, youth, and everyone far and near. The Dip will be followed by a lunch from the Camp's loving supporters. There will be a “Best Dressed Dipper” Contest so be creative in your dipping costume. Make sure you have all your "Ducks" in a row before joining us. Start early on getting folks to sponsor you for your dip in the Occohannock Creek.
Don’t want to dip? You can always sponsor someone or simply give a donation. Everyone is welcome to show up and cheer the fearless dippers on!
Deadlines approaching... by midnight, Thurs., January 10:
*S/PPRC Committees and Pastors complete the Appointment Review and the Appointment Preference Form to the District Superintendent
*Profiles for Clergy and Church are updated on EVC
*Year End Statistical Table I report completed on EVC
by midnight, Thurs. January 31:
*Year End Statistical Table II and III and the remainder of Table I reports completed on EVC
Prayer Request for David Outten and Tammy Estep
Continue to keep David Outten and his wife, Rev. Tammy Estep in your prayers. David was hospitalized recently with Spinal Meningitis --an infection in his sinuses which spread to his spine quickly while they were vacationing in Ocracoke. "David came home this past Tuesday with a two-week regiment of antibiotics administered twice a day. He is building up his strength and is not yet ready for visitors. We are so grateful for all the prayers and cards coming our way. Please give us another week for healing and rest." -Tammy
Tammy is currently the pastor of Haygood United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach. She is the former Eastern Shore district superintdent.
Cards can be mailed to: Tammy Estep & David Outten, PO Box 547, Exmore, VA 23350
2018 Journal now posted to conference website
The 2018 Journal of the Virginia Annual Conference has been posted to the conference website at https://www.vaumc.org/2018Journal (or go to www.vaumc.org and click on Resources>Publications and scroll down to the Journal section). For those who have ordered print copies, the pages are currently at the printer and will be mailed to you as soon as the printing process is finished.
Notice: Conference office holiday observance
Conference offices in the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will be closed all day Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Virginia General Conference delegation being prayed for this week by Praying Our Way Forward initiative
This week the Virginia delegation to the Called General Conference session is listed by name in The UMC Praying Our Way Forward initiative. Martha Stokes, head of the delegation, has asked the conference to pray for the delegation this week. “Please lift us all in your prayer time. It’s truly a God-thing when you see your name at the top of this list,” Stokes said. More…
Women invited to leadership event in Richmond
All clergy and lay women are invited to a two-day event in Richmond, Virginia, facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Kutz. As more and more women step into significant leadership roles, every woman is encouraged to consider her own unique opportunities to make a difference. Discover what may be holding you back from having your valuable contributions fully embraced. Then with the assistance of a peer partner move from self-awareness to self-management. The event will be Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Location is Bon Air UMC (1645 Buford Road, North Chesterfield, VA 23235). Cost is $75 which includes both dates and two lunches. To register and for more information, contact Kutz at email@example.com. More…
Consider being a 2019 All God’s Children mentor
All God's Children Camp is in full swing and gearing up for the summer! Mentors are needed to join the campers at Camp Chanco on the James, near the Richmond area. Please consider giving a week this summer to mentor a child who is waiting for you! Contact Lori Smith at 571-245-9591 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Dates are June 16-21 andAug. 11-16. More…
Start your new year right with a plan to study at Wesley Seminary
Is this the year to begin your Doctor of Ministry? New D.Min. in Spirituality and Story and Church Leadership Excellence tracks begin in Spring 2019. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15, 2019 or you can attend the Doctor of Ministry Info Day /Webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. You can also try a course this spring from a wide range of challenging topics in a format that fits with your busy life – days, evenings, weekends, online and hybrid. View courses at: www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/try-a-class-3/. At Wesley Seminary you can study part-time over 5 years to gain your M.Div. or access our many scholarships and study full-time! As well there is a new 100% full-degree scholarships for Latinx students now available. If you hear God’s call on your life, contact Wesley Admissions today at email@example.com or call 202-885-8659. More...
Applications now being accepted for Youth Service Fund
The Youth Service Fund exists to support and encourage initiatives that are created and/or led by youth and aimed at engaging and/or serving youth. Funding for these grants comes from individuals, local churches, districts and conference offerings/fundraisers throughout the year. Check out the conference website for additional information and for the application guidelines. For questions, contact Becky Tate in the Office of Next Generation Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-521-1139. Deadline for all applications to be received is Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, at 5 p.m. via email to email@example.com. ONLY COMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED. More…
Virginia Conference Center for Justice and Missional Excellence accepting new and continuing projects for 2019
Applications for new and continuing projects are now being accepted for 2019 Virginia Conference Advance Specials from the Office of Justice and Missional Excellence. The applications are available on the conference website: www.vaumc.org/ConferenceAdvanceSpecials. An Advance Special Guidelines document is available on the same webpage. The Advance Application Forms are due in the Justice and Missional Excellence Office by Feb. 8, 2019. If you have any questions about the process, please contact Cindy Ingroff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-521-1153.
Marriage Enrichment Retreats at Lake Junaluska
We are created for a lifetime of love and intimacy, but relationships can be hard, even for the happiest couples. Distance, frustration and disconnection can enter through any number of life's events. Come to a Christian-based marriage retreat at Lake Junaluska to better understand your partner and learn to cultivate a warmer, more joyful and loving relationship. Pastoral participants earn 1.5 CEUs for participation in this program. This retreat is perfect for pastors who regularly do marriage counseling, or anyone who wants to strengthen the bond in their marriage. The cost of the program for two people is $250 and two nights lodging for two people and five meals is $319. Dates for the program are Mar. 10-12, 2019; Aug. 18-20, 2019; or Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2019. More...
Council of Bishops shares letter to global LGBTQ community
At the end of December, the Council of Bishops shared a letter to the global LGBTQ community. "At the fall meeting of the Council of Bishops at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, bishops approved a motion to send a pastoral letter to the Global LGBTQ community. A writing team, composed of a bishop from each central conference and jurisdiction, completed this task, on behalf of the Council." More…
Plan for Bishop Lewis' “Chat and Chews 3.0”
Bishop Lewis will be holding her Chat and Chew sessions around the conference with clergy and laity once again in 2019. This year there will be four regional dates. More information will be forthcoming. Information so far is listed below: Saturday, April 13, 2019: Eastern Group (Eastern Shore, Elizabeth River, James River York River) Location: TBD