The Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference was held on June 20 through June 22 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Virginia. Over 3000 Lay and Clergy Delegates attended, making it the largest United Methodist gathering each year. We started at 10:00 am on Thursday morning and the Laity and Clergy were divided. The clergy elected the new licensed local pastors and approved the deacons, provisional and elders. The laity had a session and met the lay members who had been nominated for General Conference. The afternoon was busy with getting the Conference started. The two groups divided again to vote for 11 clergy and 11 laity that would represent our Conference at the 2020 General Conference. With the electronic voting machines, the process moved rapidly and by early evening, not only had the 11 clergy and laity been elected, but another 11 from each group had been elected to attend the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference along with ten alternates.
Thousands visited the Exhibit Hall where multiple organizations had set up displays. The Foundation had two tables set up to share the ministry of the Virginia United Methodist Foundation and Development Company. Our new President, Bo Bowden, was there along with Randy Shelton, Tommy Herndon, Courtney Howell and Tricia Louque. Pastors and spouses visited us to take part in our Clergy Appreciation Rate, offering an extra 0.25% percent rate on investment certificates. Additionally, many stopped by to pick up a will questionnaire for our upcoming workshop series. Dates will be announced soon for these workshops.
Friday and Saturday were regular days as UMW, UMM, CFA, Pensions and many others had reports. Saturday morning was a time when the Denman Awards were given to Rev. Bob Talbot and Mrs. Artie Frederick. The Bishop preached on Saturday morning and set appointments. Three new District Superintendents were introduced.
The entire conference works to send kits and buckets to Conference. The final tally was:
- 36,296 Hygiene Kits – valued at $435,552
- 14,243 School Kits – valued at $156,673
- 663 Flood Buckets – valued at $49,725
Lastly, thousands of dollars were given for the Mission Offering. Our Virginia Annual Conference focuses on helping those in need. Until next year’s conference and gathering, we will continue to be the CHURCH in our homes, local churches, and communities.