By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
Annual Conference was held in Roanoke this year and one of its highlights was catching up on the news of how things are going with pastors I have known and worked with over the years.
Former associate pastor at Trinity, Phyllis Earley, is on medical leave. She and her husband, Jim, will be moving to Poquoson where he will pastor Tabernacle UMC; former Trinity associate, Melissa Dunlap, is serving as Bi-District Coordinator for Church Development; former Trinity youth pastor Marc Mrini, will begin serving St. Stephen’s on the Alexandria District; former Trinity associate, Kathleene Card, retired. She and Andy are living in New Hampshire. Former Trinity associate, Eric Song, returns for his 3rd year at Market Street UMC in the Winchester District. Amy Crisp, former DCE at Trinity is the youth pastor at Reveille UMC in Richmond. Associate Pastor Eileen Gilmer returns, beginning her 3rd year in ministry to our Trinity family. And… associate Pastor Keith Lee joins the Trinity staff on July 1. We have been blessed so richly across the years.
Young Jin Cho, Bishop of the Virginia Conference, called for stronger discipleship. He said he has emphasized four areas of focus since beginning as bishop three years ago. These included leading All Things New-Equipping Vital Congregations (ATN-EVC), strengthening the spiritual foundation of our mission and ministries, developing new faith communities and nurturing a culture of cooperation and coordination. The bishop reminded the Conference that “Growing from members to disciples is the most important change we need today.”
For the first time in history, members of the 2015 Virginia Annual Conference used electronic handsets to vote for delegates to the General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Voting electronically was expected to reduce the amount of time involved in making these important selections and increase the accuracy of the balloting process. The Virginia Conference elected 11 clergy delegates and 11 laity delegates to General Conference to be held in Portland, OR in 2016.
Over $4,000 was raised at the Mulligans against Malaria golf tournament on June 18 to benefit the Imagine No Malaria conference initiative. The tournament, played at the Blue Hills Golf Course, had 58 participants as part of the pre-Annual Conference activities. The money was raised by participating teams who got sponsors from local churches for birdies and eagles and/or on a per-stroke basis.
The conference office has learned from Maria Maxwell, Imagine No Malaria field coordinator in Virginia, that 91,606 lives have been saved. Maria said she is optimistic about reaching the 100,000 goal by summer’s end.
Another collection taken at Annual Conference was called Kits 4 Conference. Churches throughout the Conference donated a total of 42, 743 kits for UMCOR. Specifically: Bedding kits: 111, Birthing kits: 4,533, Cleaning kits: 180, Health kits: 23,672, Layette kits: 1,965, School kits: 11,835, Sewing kits: 547. This year’s Annual Conference donations exceeded last year’s offerings by over 1,500!
Through the Cans 4 Conference campaign, Trinity and other UM churches throughout the Conference donated about 8,500 pounds of food for The Mission. Congratulations and thank you.