Lifelong Learning Events

Virginia Conference Vision:

To be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.

June 21- Convergence 2021  The 2021 Institute will take place from June 21- June 28. Current 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students are invited to explore the connection between Christian faith and mainstream science in a virtual classroom, laboratory, and outdoor experiences     All sessions are designed as stand-alone events, and participants are encouraged to join in as many sessions as possible. CLICK HERE to view this year's schedule, topics and more. 

July 1 - August 5:  Mission Encounter 2021:  This year Mission Encounter is virtual in a new and exciting format.  Clergy and Laity are invited. CLICK HERE for the course dates and class descriptions for adults, youth leaders, and children.  CLICK HERE to register.

August 2-5:  Festival of Wisdom and Grace: Abundant Living in the Second Half of Life to be held at Lake Junaluska with guest speakers Rev. Dr. Will Willimon, Rev. Amy Hanson, and Rev. Dr. Ken Carder.  More information including registration is available HERE.  

August 21:  9am - 4 pm Lay Servant Academy Online Training sponsored by the VAUMC with both full-day and half-day courses for Laity who feel called to ministry or who currently serve the church and would like to grow in their servant leadership. Instructors for each course include both clergy and laity who are ready to give practical and relevant resources that will be useful in various ministry areas. For course descriptions and information CLICK HERE (pdf).  Registration info HEREFor more info or questions, contact Tianna Durbin, Director of Lay Servant Academy 


Expanding the Table, a new video podcast series from the General Commission on Religion and Race will debut on June 1, 2021. Series guests will focus on how individual Christians and church-based entities can and should engage the work of racial justice-making and anti-racism.  CLICK HERE for more about the series.  

Racial Reconciliation and Justice Ted Talks:  this workgroup has compiled a list of Ted Talks that are now available on the Virginia Conference website.  They explore everything from implicit bias, to cancel culture, to a humorous look at deconstruction racism.  CLICK HERE to view the Ted Talks. 

UMC Training Center offers online training opportunities that include instruction on website creation, worship, digital media, welcoming ministry, communication, and more.  CLICK HERE to view the many training resources available.

Virginia Roots, Race and Discipleship Race Relations curriculum is a first step to address racism in the UMC Virginia Annual Conference.  This is a video series to engage clergy and laity in authentic conversations about reach and reconciliation.  CLICK HERE to learn more about this learning opportunity.  Fellowships across the Commonwealth are also using a Virginia Conference video and curriculum series on Race Relations to explore the injustices of systemic, institutional racism available HERE 

See All the People:  Discipleship Ministries Teaching Series:  This free, three-part video teaching series is designed to communicate the basic principles of discipleship and the See All the People movement.  CLICK HERE for more.  More about other Discipleship video training opportunities can be found HERE.

Reservoirs of Resilence Podcast: Texas Methodist Foundation in partnership with United Methodist Development Fund is launching a podcast with a series approach to invite church leaders into deeper conversations around innovation, courage, and resilience. The first series, Reservoirs of Resilience, features captivating leaders such as Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains. CLICK HERE for more.  

Lay Servant and Lay Speaker training are available online, on-demand. For more information CLICK HERE. 

P.R.A.Y. - Free power points for the God and Church series, used by Scouts are available for online download.  God and Me (grades 2-3), God and Family (grades 4-6); God and Church (grades 6-8)

Resource UMC provides Local Church Learning Sessions online and free to all.  Training for worship, small groups, and connectional giving are available online, on-demand.  CLICK HERE.

Crucial Crisis Conversations:  A series of sharing through webinar Zoom presentations.  Link to all Zoom webinars is available at:


Bishop Sharma Lewis encourages the Virginia Conference to read the Bible daily.  Find the 2021 Bible Challenge HERE.