It was a great joy to welcome Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson to Northern Virginia this weekend.

Bishop Sue is visiting all Virginia Conference districts to get to know their churches, missions, ministries, and people as she continues to learn about our conference. During her 2-day visit to the Northern Virginia District, she traveled with District Superintendent Sarah Calvert and experienced a taste of the incredible ministry happening in our churches and communities.


The visit began with a tour of the Central UMC building project. During the summer of 2021, Central UMC temporarily relocated from their church property in Ballston to an office and worship space in the Arlington Forest neighborhood. During three years of construction, the church property will be transformed into an 8-story building that will include space for worship, preschool, and 144 units of affordable housing. Our NoVa District Church Building and Location Committee has worked for years in partnership with county and community officials to help make Central’s remarkable dream a reality.

Next, we spent time with youth and young adult ministry leaders talking about ways NoVa churches are partnering for shared youth ministry as well as hearing from youth ministry cohort participants about how they support one another and share resources and ideas. Later that morning Bishop Sue worshiped with Clarendon UMC where she preached and was invited to hand out third-grade bibles. Clarendon UMC is a Reconciling Congregation with a growing number of young adults. Clarendon uses music as a primary vehicle for faith formation and the pursuit of social justice.

Sunday afternoon Bishop Sue joined New Life International for worship and a meal. New Life is a fast-growing multicultural church that seeks to provide a home away from home worship experience for a mostly African community through vibrant and culturally sensitive service. The people of New Life International as well as the pastors of their Fairfax and Alexandria campuses presented the bishop with a stole during her time at worship. New Life International currently worships at St. Andrew’s UMC on Sunday mornings and Fairfax UMC on Sunday afternoons.

After worship, we traveled to Rising Hope Mission Church where we took a tour and spent time in conversation with Rising Hope members who were once Rising Hope clients. Rising Hope exists to be with persons experiencing homelessness and poverty through offerings of spiritual and material support. Rising Hope offers community assistance through their Food Market, Rising Hope kitchen, Hope Closet, Hypothermia Shelter, and countless other need-based services.

We ended the day with a drive through the Eastern Region and an experience of Improv Church at The Vine. The Vine is a growing, affirming, and inclusive community of people committed to loving God and neighbor. Improv Church is one of their many Fresh Expressions of church offering a new kind of worship experience. Our District Leadership (Admin, Strategy, and Leadership) Teams, our Lay Leaders, and our District Connectors gathered for an evening Improv Church comedy show catered by Provision Church, NoVa’s newest church plant. Provision Church is a new missional faith community in Northern Virginia that lives out its mission through Provision Kitchen, a culinary entrepreneurship training program for people excluded from traditional pathways to entrepreneurship because of generational poverty and systemic racism.


Monday morning began with a prayer service at KUMC of Greater Washington where Korean clergy of our district gathered to welcome Bishop Sue with a meal and worship. Korean United Methodist of Greater Washington (KUMCGW) was founded in 1951 by Korean immigrants who sought to pray for Korea during the Korean War. KUMC-GW is a multigenerational and bilingual church now with both 1st generation and 2nd generation Korean immigrants participating in the life of the church.

After breakfast, Bishop Sue traveled to Christ Church where she led worship and spoke with NoVa District clergy. Worship was a joyful celebration including the commissioning of Rev. Lauren Todd who was unable to be at Annual Conference while on maternity leave. The Clergy Meeting theme was “What’s on Your Mind?” and included a Q&A with Bishop Sue followed by lunch together. Christ Church is a 35-year-old contemporary multi-generational church that is focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ through Christ-centered worship, Small Group Discipleship, and transformative service opportunities.

Bishop Sue was also able to spend time with clergy serving in Cross Racial/Cross Cultural appointments on Monday afternoon before traveling to the district office for some downtime with our NoVa District staff. As we closed out the visit, we were able to look at a map of the NoVa District and talk about the many churches, regions, and ministries we were unable to visit during such a brief visit.

We are grateful for all the churches who hosted us and all who were able to participate in these various events. Bishop Sue returned to Richmond with a greater understanding of the wonderful mission and ministry in the Northern Virginia District.

You can find a gallery of photos below chronicling our time with Bishop Sue.

Bishop Sue Visits Northern Virginia

*Please note that we blurred the faces of children for whom we did not have parental permission to post.