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To view a 2009 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

December 16, 2009
December 8, 2009

November 17, 2009
November 10, 2009
November 4, 2009

October 27, 2009
October 20, 2009
October 13, 2009
October 6, 2009

September 30, 2009
September 21, 2009
September 14, 2009
September 8, 2009

August 31, 2009
August 24, 2009
August 19, 2009

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News from the Virginia Conference – Sept. 30, 2009

Remember: 5 Talent Academy Oct. 1 event will be at Sheraton Hotel West
Due to a larger than expected number of churches enrolling in the 5 Talent Academy, the Academy’s Oct. 1 teaching event featuring Bart and Tony Campolo has been moved to the Sheraton Hotel West, 6624 W. Broad St., Richmond. It is just off I-64 at exit 183B. A total of 108 churches have signed covenants to be part of the 5 Talent Academy.In response to the theme of the day, each participant is asked to bring non-perishable food items to contribute to the Metropolitan Area Resource Clearinghouse. This food drive is part of the vision of the 5 Talent leadership team to make a difference wherever the Academy meets. Churches that have not enrolled for this fall are reminded that there is another opportunity to enroll in January.

Oct. 4 is World Communion Sunday
The combination of the recession and an online application process dramatically increased the demand for United Methodist loans and scholarships this year – making contributions to the Student Day, World Communion Sunday, and Native American Ministries Sunday offerings even more important. More …

Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics mark historic agreement’s anniversary
Representatives of the Methodist, Lutheran, and Catholic traditions will gather in Chicago on Oct. 1 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, the most significant agreement between the Protestant groups and the Catholic Church since the Reformation. The declaration outlines how sinful human beings are forgiven and brought into a right relationship with God.
     Signed in October 1999 by the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican, the declaration says, “Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.” The World Methodist Council, of which The United Methodist Church is a member, affirmed the agreement in 2006.
     A service of celebration will take place Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Old St. Patrick’s Church, Chicago. Cardinal Francis George, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will lead the service. Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops, and Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader are among representatives of The United Methodist Church. Geoffrey Wainwright of the British Methodist Church will represent the World Methodist Council. A second celebration will take place Oct. 31 in Germany.

Society of St. Andrew invites you to pick apples for the hungry Oct. 3
The Society of St. Andrew invites congregations, small groups and individuals to join them Oct. 3 from 8 a.m. to noon, to glean apples for the hungry during its 10th annual Apple Pickin’ Jamboree. Volunteers of all ages will be needed to help pick apples from local orchards. These apples, which would otherwise go to waste, will be donated to area food banks to provide food to those in need. Food banks across the country are experiencing record number requests for assistance at the same time that food donations are at record lows. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Society of St. Andrew at 1-800-333-4597, or e-mail You can also visit for more information.

Volunteers needed to help Georgia flood recovery efforts
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) has put out the official "all call" for VIM teams to start scheduling themselves to go to the metro Atlanta area to help with flood recovery. Volunteers are needed to staff the Call Center, and teams are needed from all over the jurisdiction for long-term recovery. For more information or to make arrangements, contact the Call Center at 678-533-1443 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., or e-mail North Georgia UMVIM Coordinator, Dr. Julia Crim, at

Greene Memorial UMC, Roanoke, featured in Interpreter magazine
Read about Greene Memorial United Methodist Church in Roanoke in the September-October issue of Interpreter, the official ministry magazine for the people of The United Methodist Church. A story centered on Laity Sunday features Greene Memorial and its midweek ministry to people in the business community. Read the story on-line at Check out Interpreter OnLine at Order your personal subscription by calling United Methodist Communications at 888-346-3862.

Cecil McFarland to be honored as Candler Distinguished Alum
The Candler School of Theology Distinguished Alumni Award luncheon this year will honor the Rev. Cecil McFarland for service to the community. McFarland has served as president of the Chaplain Service of the Churches of Virginia, Inc. since March 1995. An ecumenical agency that has provided chaplains for state prisons and state juvenile correctional centers since 1920, the Chaplain Service is supported by 18 denominational bodies. The award luncheon will be held on Oct. 13.

Board of Church and Society prepares resources on alternative punishment
The Committee on Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries of the conference Board of Church and Society has prepared a resource on alternative punishment for nonviolent offenses in the commonwealth’s criminal justice system. The committee wants groups in local churches to study this issue and send in comments and recommendations. Responses will provide input for planning next steps. “It is almost certain that consideration of alternative punishment for nonviolent offenses will be on the agenda of the Virginia General Assembly when it meets in January,” wrote the Rev. Hunter Mabry, the committee’s Advocacy chair. “We hope the study guide will also help prepare you and members of your congregation to contact your legislators on this important concern.” For more information, contact Mabry at (540) 943-5682, or

Christian Educators to consider ‘Digital Discipleship’ Oct. 8
The Virginia Conference Christian Educators Fellowship and the Conference Board of Discipleship’s Division of Education are hosting a Day Apart on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Conference Center in Glen Allen. Stan Hargraves will present “Digital Discipleship: Christian Ministry in a Technological World.” Cost is $20 and check-in begins at 9:30 a.m. Space is limited. For more information, contact MaryKaye Cochran at (804) 739-4535, ext. 33, or e-mail Deadline to register is Thursday, Oct. 1.

Middle School Mission Weekend is Oct. 16-18
The October Middle School Mission Weekend is Oct. 16-18 at Westview on the James in Goochland. This is an opportunity to introduce your middle school students (6th-8th graders) to mission and help them understand what it means to be the hands feet of Christ. Click here for more information.

UMCOR provides relief to typhoon victims in Philippines
The Philippines office of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with its local partners, including Action by Churches Together and the National Council of Churches, to provide relief to the estimated half-million people affected by Typhoon Ketsana, also called Ondoy, in the Philippines. As of Sept. 29, 280 people were confirmed dead, and the toll was expected to rise. Immediate relief activities include the distribution of emergency provisions, such as bottled water, blankets, canned fish and rice. Donations for UMCOR’s relief work can be made through Philippines Emergency, UMCOR Advance #240235.

Missionaries commissioning service to be broadcast live on internet
For the first time, a service of commissioning of United Methodist missionaries, deaconesses, and home missioners will be broadcast live on the internet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, during the annual meeting of directors of the General Board of Global Ministries, in Stamford, Conn. Thirty-one missionaries, seven deaconesses and two home missioners will be commissioned. Additional details can be found online at The webcast provides an opportunity for United Methodists to take part virtually in the sacred experience of blessing and commitment inherent in Christian commissioning. The webcast can be accessed at

For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly newsmagazine. Call Peggy Cribbs at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail or



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