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December 16, 2009
December 8, 2009

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

October 27, 2009
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October 13, 2009
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News from the Virginia Conference – November 4, 2009

Nov. 8 is Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday
Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday, a United Methodist Special Sunday observed as part of the National Donor Sabbath, is traditionally observed the second Sunday in November. National Donor Sabbath helps to increase awareness of the critical need for organs and tissues and the miracle of transplantation. Religious leaders who participate in discussions of donation with their congregants can affirm that choosing to be an organ and tissue donor offers the opportunity to share the greatest blessing of all — the gift of life. More …

Aldersgate UMC, Hampton, named ‘Welcoming Congregation’
Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Hampton has been recognized by United Methodist Communications (UMCom) as an official “Welcoming Congregation.” “Welcoming Congregations” are a select group of United Methodist congregations nationwide that meet criteria including embracing newcomers and providing opportunities in discipleship. The recognition program is part of a larger effort launched in late 2000 by UMCom, the denomination’s communications agency, to use modern technology and the common language of television to spread the Good News of Christ to a world in need. More …

UMVIM Team Leader Training is Nov. 21 at Lakeside UMC, Richmond
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader training will be held 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at Lakeside UMC, Richmond. Cost is $10 at the door to cover meal, snacks and handouts. You will also need to purchase a handbook from the Southeastern Jurisdiction UMVIM Office. To purchase, go to www.umvim.org, click on "About UMVIM," scroll down to “Store.” The first item is the handbook. Cost is $26, including shipping and handling. Click here to register for training

Steering Committee makes recommendations to Council of Bishops
Reporting to the Council of Bishops, the Call to Action Steering Committee laid out a vision of The United Methodist Church of the future and urged a system-wide operational assessment, from the general boards and agencies to the annual conferences to the Council itself. The committee recommended that the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table engage an independent outside group to conduct a comprehensive evaluation under the direction of a new 12-member steering team to be led by Bishop Gregory Palmer, Iowa. In addition, a four-member project team would be created to function as a day-to-day work team. Critical to the success of the project would be gathering feedback and insights from a large number and wide range of United Methodists. The contractor would develop an online survey instrument designed to reach a broad constituency, as well as summarize and analyze the results for review by the steering team. Every bishop would be asked to host a series of conversations in his or her area. More …

GBCSociety urges support for health care reform
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is encouraging support of U.S. House of Representatives Bill H.R.3962, saying: “Although the bill’s negotiated rates public option is disappointing, H.R.3962 would make a life-saving difference to many people; we consider it an important improvement in U.S. health-care coverage to all.” GBCS has been a strong supporter of the public option because The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church, approved by the General Conference, state: “We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care.” (2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline ¶162V). More …

Judicial Council rules that Annual Conferences can't ignore Discipline
There is an official position in The United Methodist Church on gay and lesbian sexuality, and that states the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The Judicial Council, the denomination's highest court, in a ruling released Nov. 2 said that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference went too far in adopting its own statement declaring "a more authentic and truthful representation of The United Methodist Church" is that "we disagree" on gay and lesbian issues. The court said that while such statements can be "aspirational in nature," an annual conference "may not negate, ignore or violate" the Book of Discipline, "even when the disagreements are based upon conscientious objections." More …

Judicial Council says churches can’t choose which programs to fund
Local United Methodist churches cannot arbitrarily choose which general church programs to support financially, according to the church's top court. The Judicial Council has upheld the decision by Bishop Larry Goodpaster that the Western North Carolina Conference's "Choice Empowerment" plan violates church law. That case was one of 21 docket items considered by the nine-member council when it met Oct. 27-31. Among other issues, the council addressed questions on the participation of retired clergy in local churches, pension and health insurance plans and representation to the church's legislative body. More …

SoSA offers opportunities for alternative Christmas gifts
People looking for alternative Christmas gifts can help feed the hungry when they make gift donations to the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA), a national, grassroots hunger-relief ministry founded and headquartered in Virginia. Each gift donation of $12 (minimum) in honor of a family member or friend provides about 800 servings of fresh food to the hungry. Your honoree(s) will receive SoSA's one-of-a-kind Christmas card announcing your "gift" with your name. SoSA will send you the cards so you can personalize and mail them; or you can instruct SoSA to sign and mail them for you. Go to www.endhunger.org/card to see the card in full color. For a secure order form, select "Click Here To Order." You can complete your order online or print the form, complete it and fax to 434-299-5949; or mail to: Society of St. Andrew, 3383 Sweet Hollow Road, Big Island, VA 24526; or call 1-800-333-4597; or e-mail card@endhunger.org. To ensure delivery before Christmas, place your order by Dec. 4. SoSA also has available order flier and church bulletin insert masters, both in color and black and white. Call or e-mail Carol Breitinger at 1-800-333-4597or sosapr@endhunger.org to receive these digital files.

Scarritt-Bennett offers 'Elders for Today' conference
The first annual Elders for Today conference will be held at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville Jan. 5-8. Theme is “Memories, Dreams and Reality: The Civil Rights Movement 1960-2010.” The conference, to be held on Scarritt-Bennett’s historic campus in the heart of Nashville, will bring together people who experienced the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and those interested in learning about the era, and engage them in an interactive conversation about social justice issues past and present. More information and registration form is online at http://www.scarrittbennett.org/programs/elders.aspx, or register by calling (615) 340-7557. Deadline to register is Dec. 21.

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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