Alexandria District eNewsletter: February 2017
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In this issue:

From Your District Superintendent

Rev. Jeffrey Mickle

How Are We To Respond?

Over the past several weeks, several persons have spoken to me or emailed me with the same question, which has to do with how the church should respond to the policy changes we are seeing with the change of administrations in Washington. The question about how we care for refugees and immigrants touches some of our district churches particularly closely because members of their congregation, or people with whom their congregation is in ministry, are directly affected.

Some have marched; some have voiced opposition to marchers. Some have advocated for a letter campaign to representatives; others have expressed a desire to be supportive of a new administration seeking to keep its promises. Certainly there are plenty of options as to how individual United Methodists, or groups of United Methodists, may wish to express their convictions.

My question, in response, has to do with the nature and mission of the Church. What is the role of the Church in a time when the society in which we minister is becoming more and more fractured? Is it time for the church to reflect the fracturing we see in our society by dividing into competing camps among ourselves, as church people? Or is it time for us to witness to a different reality, namely the Kingdom of God, which Jesus teaches and embodies, as a way to offer grace and healing for a broken world?

I would like to encourage ... 

End-of-Year Report of Key Statistics for Alexandria District

2016 produced some noteworthy fruits for the United Methodist churches of the Alexandria District. For 2016, the 53 churches, including three satellites, of the Alexandria District collectively increased the average worship attendance for the first time since 2013, and only the third time since 2006. The worship attendance for the entire district increased from 10,378 per week in 2015 to 10,477 per week in 2016, an increase of 99 per week. Twenty-one churches had an increase in worship attendance and two were unchanged from 2015. Significant increases came from Christ Church (an increase of 135 per week), Gainesville Church (an increase of 60 per week), Ghana Wesley (an increase of 41 per week), Sudley (an increase of 27 per week), St. Stephen’s (an increase of 26 per week), Franconia (an increase of 23 per week), and Messiah (an increase of 20 per week).

The number of professions of faith ... 

From Your Lay Leader

John Meeuwissen

"Chat N Chew Theology"

We’ve all heard about Pub Theology – in fact, some of us may have experienced it – you know, that’s where we form a small group or have a bible study that just happens to be meeting at a non-church venue.

So, what’s “Chat & Chew Theology?” At the end of January, some of us experienced this form of theology when our new episcopal leader, Bishop Sharma Lewis, met with the Alexandria District clergy and laity at Grace UMC in Manassas. She first ...

Don't Miss the How to Connect Events

Top 10 reasons your why church should come to "How to Connect" or "How to Connect: Deeper Dive":
1. Your church came to the first round of these workshops, and wants to DIVE DEEPER in the second level class.
2. You think maybe your church doesn't have the gifts or skills necessary to move toward your mission field,  but you'd like to be proven wrong.
3. Your potlucks need an infusion of new blood! Pass the Naan bread and kimshi please!
4. Your congregation no longer looks like the neighborhoods that surround the church. And your people are driving in from further and further away for church.
5. You've got a totally cool and awesome ________________ (worship service, youth program, preschool, mission project) and you want the community to know about it!
6. You look around your congregation and its not getting bigger. Or its getting smaller. Even almost disappearing.
7. Your church seems ready to actually do the "CHANGE" thing, and move outwards toward the surrounding neighborhoods in friendship and relationships.
8. Children? Youth? We haven't seen many of them for a while...
9. You and your congregation are wondering - is there anybody out there? What are they like? What kinds of things could we do to meet them?
10. Our District is providing us with cutting edge, Northern Virginia contextual programs that actually help us meet our mission to make disciples for the transformation of the world? Count us in!

Learn more and Register Today

Youth Ministry

Don't miss the Bi-District Youth Retreat at Camp Highroad: April 28-30

This event is open to all youth grades 6-12 (group registration). This year's theme, "Soul on Fire," will focus on Luke 24:32 and apply it to life. On Saturday afternoon, we will take time to enjoy some of the activities at Camp Highroad.   Learn More

Youth Service Fund Grant Deadline Extended

We are excited to accept applications for the YSF (Youth Service Fund) Grants. The idea is this: money is available for work/initiatives to be done BY young people FOR young people. Please submit an application if you are interested. Please click HERE for the application and HERE for application guidelines. Please contact the Office of Ministries with Young People with questions by emailing or calling (804-521-1139). Deadline: Feb 27.

Youth Ministry Survey

The Virginia Conference is working on learning as much as they can about the current ministry context in Virginia as it relates to ministries with young people.  
If you work with children, youth, or young adults, please consider taking this simple survey.
Here is the link:


One of our goals at the District is to come alongside and partner with churches to increase vitality and fruitfulness. Below are some articles that we hope your will find helpful and thought provoking as you think about the mission and ministry of your church.

Ministry Spotlight

Bi-District Training Day 2017

Despite the snow roughly 500 people attended Bi-District Training Day 2017 at Christ Church.  Folks from ninety different churches braved the weather to attend workshops and connect with other United Methodists across the two districts. Quite a few churches brought large groups to the event. The largest group came from Ghana Wesley who brought 30 people! The day began with a keynote address from Carey Neiuwhof.

Carey shared his 10 predictions about the future church which many agreed, “was the best part of the day.” Thirty different workshops were offered as well as fifteen lunch time roundtables. Other highlights of the day included lunch from Chik-fil-A and the incredible hospitality experienced at Christ Church.

Bi-District Training Day will return to Christ Church on Saturday, January 13, 2018. Mike Slaughter will serve as the keynote speaker.  The planning team will soon begin to determine the workshops and speakers for Bi-District Training Day 2018 event. If you have suggestions for workshop topics or speakers, let Cynthia Lopynski know. 

Did you miss Bi-District Training Day? Or, do you want to hear Carey Neiuwhof's keynote presentation or breakout session again? You can listen to those presentations online using the links below.
Keynote Presentation  |  "Leading Change Without Losing It"

Mark Your Calendar

District Events

Conference Events

Conference News:

VAUMC Releases Appointment and Itineracy Process video:

Feb. 26-Mar. 7, 2018: Holy Land Journey with Bishop Lewis
Join Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and the Virginia Conference of the UMC on the 10 day Holy Land Journey departing on February 26, 2018!

District Job Opportunity

The Alexandria District of the UMC, with offices located in Fairfax VA, is seeking an Administrative Assistant. The qualified candidate must have outstanding people skills and be able to work with clergy, senior church leaders, and staff while maintaining confidentiality and sensitivity as needed. The candidate should have knowledge and experience in modern office practices, be proficient in office related procedures, be able to prepare effective correspondence on routine matters and to dispose of minor business without reference to a supervisor. See position details.  Inquiries for this position should be sent to Artabia Campbell-Marshall.
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