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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
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News from the Virginia Conference – October 20, 2009

Make sure seekers can find info about your church on
Millions of unchurched seekers are out there. How will they find your church? At, Web surfers can search – by location, ministry offerings and more – for opportunities to engage with your church. (e.g., Maybe a parent is thrilled to find a congregation that offers a day care program. Or parenting classes.) But they won’t find your church ministries unless YOU put them on your church’s profile on Find-A-Church. Use your church’s easily updatable Find-A-Church profile to put a personal welcome, ministry opportunities, contact information, details about worship schedule, a link to your church Web site and more at the fingertips of people actively searching for it. There are two ways to update your church information: 1) Visit, enter your zip code, select your church name ... then scroll down to “Update your church information.” Or, complete the online short form at and submit.
     Almost 300,000 people a month already go to to learn more about local churches just like yours. And even more visitors are on the way. is a key component of the Rethink Church initiative – the next evolution of The United Methodist Church’s Open Hearts national advertising and welcoming campaign. The ad campaign sends visitors to When they get there, they’ll discover many “doors” they can walk through to search for a church that matches their own interests and preferences. But if your information isn’t updated on Find-a-Church, they won't learn much about you, or the “doors” that can lead them into your church. And they could be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. For assistance in updating your church information, e-mail or call toll-free 1-800-251-8140.

Join the conversation about alternative punishment for nonviolent crimes
While our jails and prisons are often overflowing, did you know that 60% of inmates are there for nonviolent crimes, at an expense to the taxpayer of $20,000 - $25,000/year for each inmate? In view of declining state revenue, there is now renewed interest in examining alternative forms of punishment that will hold nonviolent offenders accountable at less cost, ease the load on taxpayers, and help such offenders become productive members of society. Your views will be welcome and you are invited to join the conversations. The Conference Committee on Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries has prepared a study and action guide, with a response form, which you can download from our Virginia Conference Web site by clicking here. The guide is suitable for use by groups for one or more study sessions, as well as individual reflection. All responses will be treated as confidential.

Conference Health Plan participants can change benefits Oct. 19-Nov. 2
Participants in the Virginia Conference Health Plan are encouraged to visit the conference Web site (Click here) and participate in the annual re-election of their personal benefits. This open enrollment is available to current participants of the Conference Health Plan, with the exception of Retirees age 65 and over. Retirees age 65 and over are not required to participate since their benefit plans do not require re-enrollment. Open enrollment will run through Nov. 2. If you have questions, call Nancy Blair at (804) 521-1130 or toll-free 1-800-768-6040, ext 130.

Order of Elder Retreat set for Oct. 25-27 at VUMAC
The Order of Elder Retreat will be Sunday evening, Oct. 25, through noon Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Order of Elder chairpersons have designed this retreat to offer elders a special opportunity to remember, strengthen, and respond to their vow of commitment to our Wesleyan heritage. Keynote presenter will be Bishop Will Willimon, episcopal leader of the Birmingham Area and author of numerous books and articles. Click here for more information or online registration.

Society of St. Andrew offers free Advent devotions
This year Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) offers its annual Advent Devotions program using the theme “Prayers of Hope: What do you hope for in the coming of Christ?” During Advent, SoSA asks participants to prayerfully reflect on the scriptures and devotions and then join in SoSA’s ministry of feeding America’s hungry by making a financial donation. Last year donations made through SoSA’s Advent devotional program provided more than 1.2 million servings of food to the hungry. All materials for this Advent devotional program are free. For a church sample kit or a personal packet, order online at; by phone to 1-800-333-4597; or by e-mail to More information about Society of St. Andrew and its hunger-relief programs is available online at or by e-mail at

Bishop Kammerer to keynote 2010 Clergy Spouse Retreat March 4-6
Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer will be keynote speaker at the 2010 Clergy Spouse Retreat Thursday, March 4, through Saturday, March 6, 2010, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. A variety of interest groups will also be offered. Dress is casual. Come for an opportunity to make new friends, renew friendships, relax and have fun. Registration information will be out in early January. The retreat planning committee is chaired by Margaret Sisson and is sponsored by the Clergy Family Enrichment Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry.

Distribute Fair Trade Halloween candy this year
If you are looking for Fair Trade Halloween candy to distribute to kids at your door, visit

CeCe Winans, Judy Woodruff, Bishop Nhanala to lead Women’s Assembly
Renowned vocalist and performer CeCe Winans, award-winning journalist Judy Woodruff, and newly appointed United Methodist Bishop Joaquina Nhanala of Mozambique are slated to participate in Assembly 2010, the seminal gathering of United Methodist Women across the United States. Assembly 2010, taking place in St. Louis, Mo., April 30-May 2, 2010, will celebrate women of faith and the mission work of women, children and youth in more than 80 countries. Assembly theme is “Faith • Hope • Love in Action.” Visit for more information on Assembly 2010.


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. Click here to subscribe online. Or call Peggy Cribbs at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail



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