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

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News from the Virginia Conference – October 27, 2009

H1N1 flu update: Do’s and Don’ts for worship
With the fall flu season upon us, and schools and colleges back in session, it is expected that the H1N1 virus will have new opportunities to spread. Taylor Burton-Edwards, Director of Worship Resources for the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church, has issued a list of "Do’s and Don'ts" for worship that balances attention to theological integrity with appropriate pastoral concern. More …

IOH seeks young adults for mission opportunity
Virginia Conference Initiatives of Hope (IOH) is seeking young adults (18-35 years of age) to be part of a transformational mission opportunity in 2010. IOH and Shenandoah University are sponsoring a young adult Volunteers in Mission Team to northern Mozambique next July/August. Team members will teach and learn Christian leadership to and with Mozambique pastors and lay young adults. Plans are for the Virginia team to collaborate with young adults from Mozambique in creation of leadership curriculum for Christian young adults. This immersion experience will involve faith sharing and relationship building and is part of the continuing partnership between the Virginia Conference and the Mozambique United Methodist Church. Team will be led by the Rev. Dr. Rhonda VanDyke Colby, Dean of Spiritual Life at Shenandoah University, and will include Shenandoah University JustFaith students and young adult pastors and laity from the Virginia Conference. There are currently 4-6 spaces available on the team. More …

Virginia Advocate named best
conference magazine in denomination

The Virginia United Methodist Advocate newsmagazine brought home six awards from the 2009 United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) annual contest, including best magazine produced by any conference in the denomination. Awards were handed out Oct. 21 during the UMAC meeting in Nashville. The Advocate also won class and division awards for design. Cover art (left) done by the Rev. Jim Harris for the magazine’s “Rethink Church” issue (May 2009) won three awards, getting best in class and division plus the denomination’s Award of Excellence in Visual Design. Neill Caldwell is Advocate editor, and Debbie Duty is responsible for design and production. More …
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November issue of Virginia Advocate looks at ministry with homeless
The approach of winter and a sagging economy are creating a perfect storm of poverty, with many more Americans on the street. Many have been there for years due mainly to drug or alcohol addictions. Others are new to the street after losing their jobs and their homes. Thankfully, more Virginia Conference churches are seeing the problems around them and responding. Congregations and organizations like Teens Opposing Poverty (TOP) are stepping up to meet the growing needs of the homeless. Click here for information about how to subscribe to the Virginia Advocate.

Middle School, High School Fall Retreats scheduled
The Virginia Conference Middle School Fall Retreat will be Nov. 13-15; High School Fall Retreat will be Dec. 4-6. Each will offer a weekend of spiritual formation through worship, Bible study, small groups and group building. Join 1600 youth (800 at each retreat) from around Virginia for this spiritual growth experience at Eagle Eyrie Retreat Center in Lynchburg. For more information, brochures or to register, click on Middle School Retreat or High School Retreat.

Health Plan participants can change benefits through 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.

Guidelines announced for resolutions for Annual Conference
In order to encourage a process of holy conversation and discernment, persons and groups making resolutions to the 2010 Annual Conference are encouraged to adhere to the following guidelines, developed by the Committee on Resolutions and Annual Conference Planning Team:
     “All resolution makers should have their resolutions to the Director of Connectional Ministries by Friday, Jan. 15. Resolutions meeting this deadline will be referred to relevant boards, agencies or the Committee on Resolutions by Friday, Jan. 29, and posted on ClergyNet, LaityNet, RetireeNet and the conference Web site with telephone and e-mail contact information of the resolution maker. Makers of resolutions will be responsible for cultivating conversation and discernment around their resolutions prior to Annual Conference. They are encouraged to: 1) Open conversation through e-mail and other Internet tools. 2) Convene a conversation at lunch on Monday of Annual Conference for those who wish to have debate and discussion about the resolution. The goal of such conversations is to do the perfecting work of resolutions in venues other than the floor of Annual Conference. Those venues should be more conducive to holy conferencing. Note that these deadlines and requests exceed the Rules of the Conference, which are still in effect as the final deadlines and processes.”

Conference staff hosting young adult focus groups
Virginia Conference Connectional Ministry staff has been working to identify young people to participate in focus groups around leadership development. Three groups will meet at three sites around the conference on Saturday, Nov. 7. Objectives include identifying new and existing opportunities to engage young people in ministry in the local church and beyond; assisting young people in finding meaning and purpose in their lives and connecting that purpose to ministries in the church and community; and developing a process for strategic planning. Care has been given to identifying a diverse group, with a balance of clergy and lay participants.

MFSA offers Nov. 14 workshop on faith and politics
“Faith and Politics: Making an Effective Connection” is theme for Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) Virginia Chapter’s fall event, to be held 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at Duncan Memorial UMC in Ashland. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. John Kinney, Dean of the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University. Workshop leaders will include Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, and LaTonya Joyner Reed, policy analyst at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Cost is $20, which includes lunch. To register, e-mail the Rev. Hunter Mabry at hmabry@gmail.com, or call him at (540) 943-5682.

Holiday postcard campaign to support immigration reform
The 2008 General Conference passed a resolution on “U.S. Immigration and Family Unity” which calls on the denomination to support “just and fair immigration policies that benefit and allow the family to preserve and maintain its unity.” (2008 Book of Resolutions, ¶3283). As part of our work in this area, the United Methodist Church participates in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to enacting fair and humane immigration reform that reflects our mandate to welcome the stranger and treat all human beings with dignity and respect.  For the upcoming holiday season, your church can participate in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s Holiday Postcard Campaign. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has 10,000 postcards for faith communities. Once cards are collected, you can deliver them in a bundle to your senators’ or representatives’ local offices or mail them to the coalition in Washington to hand deliver on Capitol Hill. To order these postcards at no cost, contact liza.lieberman@hias.org. To view a sample of the card, click here. If you have trouble with the link, go to www.interfaithimmigration.org. You will see the announcement of the postcard campaign as the second bullet under the “Take Action for Immigrants” heading.

United Methodist 'Open Hearts' tagline wins award
The United Methodist Church’s advertising and welcoming tagline — Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of The United Methodist Church — has been selected as a best-in-class tagline in the 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards. More ...

Help seekers find info about your church on Find-a-church.org
Millions of unchurched seekers are out there. How will they find your church? At www.Find-A-Church.org, 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 www.find-a-church.org, enter your zip code, select your church name ... then scroll down to “Update your church information.” Or, complete the online short form at www.rethinkchurch.org/churchupdate and submit.
     Almost 300,000 people a month already go to http://www.Find-A-Church.org to learn more about local churches just like yours. And even more visitors are on the way. Find-a-Church.org 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 www.10thousanddoors.org. 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 FAC@umcom.org or call toll-free 1-800-251-8140.


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 Advocate@vaumc.org


      

 

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