Priorities

As an African American woman, Michelle had a unique perspective on the recent conference on the future of the UMC held at the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. “I want all oppression to end,” Michelle shared. “As a liberationist I understand that if ALL of Christ’s beloved children are not free, then neither am I. That’s my priority.”

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My Journey

Brian shares his journey, coming out as a gay man and stepping down from his appointment as a Licensed Local Pastor in the Virginia Conference. “Let it be known,” Brian proclaimed. “God called and continues to call me to ministry—I haven’t forgotten that.”

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Brian Lamb
What You Can’t Kill: Why Last Saturday Was So Important

Rev. Michelle Matthews reflects on the power of community storytelling, brought to life in the Cultivating Beloved Community event. “Together we combed through the tangles of these last six months and identified where we were seeing and sensing God’s beloved community being cultivated.” Six more sessions are scheduled through September 28, 2019. Visit the Events section on the website to learn more.

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Rev. Michelle Matthews
Sharing Our Stories

As a Baptist student at Randolph-Macon College, Addison has a unique perspective on the UMC. “While I knew how bad it felt and how hopeless the situation seemed, I knew the only way things were going to change was to get up and do something about it.”

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Addison Schmitt
Intentional Welcome

“Since Wesley at Virginia Tech became intentional about welcoming LGBTQ+ students, queer folks have come to Wesley who were forced out of other campus ministries, who had never heard of welcoming churches, and who never doubted that they were loved by their parents, their church home and their creator.”

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Alexis Gillmore
The Transforming Power of Campus Ministry

As students head back to college, we’re taking a look at the impact campus ministries can have on their college experience. As one LGBTQ+ student shared, “The ministry has saved my life. It really gave me a safe space to challenge my social anxiety and to learn and to grow. It was great that I had a place I could go when I felt scared, lonely, or anxious, and I knew someone would be there.  Wesley made me feel safe.”

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Rev. Bret Gresham
Reflections on Fasting

“I never liked fasting,” confessed Josh Blakely. But he feels God calling him to this spiritual discipline. “As we continue to discern next steps for our movement in the Virginia Annual Conference, it seems right to stand in solidarity with the hungry yearning for full bellies, hearts, and spirits.”

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Josh Blakely
A Practice of Hope

“As a Christian, I am not called to a feeling of hope. I am called to a practice of hope.” These wise words inspired Alex Carney. “When everything seems lost,” she shared, “our hope is an act of defiance.”

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Alex Carney
A Message from our Newly Ordained Elders and Deacons

Eleven of our newly ordained elders and deacons share their reflections with us, “With this letter, we add our perspective to the concert of voices who have already cried out in opposition to the Traditional Plan.” And they share their unique perspective on choosing to be ordained in this denomination at this time.

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2019 Ordinands
An LGBTQ+ Perspective on Annual Conference

“As someone who has been ‘practicing homosexuality openly,’ Annual Conference and conversation about my compatibility with Christ often causes high blood pressure and anxiety. But this year the spirit moved us to and beyond a new place.” - Emily Howdyshell

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Emily Howdyshell
The Challenge is Not a Delegation: The Challenge is Lay Leadership Development

At our recent Annual Conference, there were concerns expressed about the lack of racial and ethnic diversity on the newly elected General and Jurisdictional Conference delegations, particularly among the lay delegation. Martha Stokes shares her concern that, “The challenge is much larger than the makeup of the delegation. It is an overall lay leadership challenge.” Martha calls all of us, both laity and clergy, to be part of the solution.

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Martha Stokes
Well That Just Happened

As Annual Conference comes to a close, we give thanks for the tremendous work that was done. And now, S. A. King encourages us to take a Sabbath rest. “Set aside time to simply be with God. Still your heart and mind. Turn off the noise.”

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S. A. King
Planting Olive Trees at the End of the World

“Hope is being unleashed,” proclaimed S. A. King as he encourages us to join him in planting olive tree seeds at the end of the world. This hope has inspired him to answer a call he’s been resisting for many years. Where is the Spirit calling you?

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S. A. King
The Movement of the Spirit

“I had quite a roller coaster of a day yesterday,” reflected S. A. King. “The Holy Spirit was in ALL of that. The Spirit was in the voting. The Spirit was moving in the dancing and smiles and laughter. And the Holy Spirit was and continues to be moving in the lives of our spiritual siblings who call themselves Traditionalists or Conservatives or Fundamentalists.“

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S. A. King
More Than a Meeting

As we prepare to begin Annual Conference tomorrow, S. A. King reminds us how important our work will be. “Following the incredibly painful results at GC2019, many of us have woken up to the reality that what we do at Annual Conference this year is a matter of life and death.”

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S. A. King
My Life with Joe

After Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor’s husband admitted to himself and his family that he was gay, they worked together to build the next chapter in their lives. Leigh Anne reflects on her experience, “I believe that what God has done for our family, God can do for the church. I wonder if the church has the courage to choose to tell the truth, to choose acceptance, to choose forgiveness, to choose love.”

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Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor