GraceInside Attends Virginia Conference of UMC in June 2023

Rev. Randy Myers and Rev. Lois Carter headed to The Berglund Center in Roanoke, VA from June 14- 16, 2023, where the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church held its 241st Annual Conference.  Randy and Lois arrived on Wednesday afternoon to set up the GraceInside exhibit/display table and speak with representatives of other ministries they had met in previous years.  They tried their best to get a moment with Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, but Bishops stay pretty busy at these types of events!  So this go around they only got to view her moderating the Annual Conference on the big TV screens placed strategically around the Exhibit Hall.  Randy did have the opportunity to see and catch up with retired longtime GraceInside Board Member Rev. Robert Casey and his wife Mrs. Marilyn Casey (from Williamsburg, VA).  Randy enjoyed catching Rev. Casey up on all of the latest news about GraceInside, and Lois enjoyed a wonderful time of conversation and fellowship with Mrs. Casey.  Current GraceInside Board Member and retired Methodist pastor Rev. Marilyn Heckstall visited the exhibit table, bringing her usual joy, enthusiasm and encouragement.  Also, Chaplain Donna Smith (Greensville Corr. Ctr. – S-2) visited the table and caught Randy and Lois up on all of the latest joys and challenges at her facility.

As a “bonus”, Randy and Lois were invited to attend the annual United Methodist Men’s (UMM) Breakfast in downtown Roanoke.  President Albert Weal, Jr. asked if they would come and share a little about GraceInside and give greetings to the group.  Rev. Lois did the honors this year, sharing that GraceInside is a ministry that has 33 Chaplains that minister to the 24,000 incarcerated men and women in all 42 of Virginia’s state prisons.  Lois shared that this  is not a “job”, but rather that it is a mission field.  Our called and faithful Chaplains and our many wonderful religious volunteers are helping to build God’s Kingdom “inside the razor wire fences, the concrete walls and the prison cell bars.”  All of us at GraceInside are SO grateful for the ministry of and partnership with the United Methodist Men (UMM), and we so appreciate both the financial support we receive from them and the “boots on the ground” volunteerism they provide in the state prisons!

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