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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
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News from the Virginia Conference – November 17, 2009

Bishop urges pastors to read ‘God’s Renewed Creation’ letter in worship
Bishop Charlene Kammerer has issued the following announcement: “The Council of Bishops has adopted a major document addressing ‘God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action.’ A trio of issues has been identified as being current threats to God's good creation. The issues are pandemic poverty, environmental degradation, and weapons/violence. There is a Pastoral Letter, a Foundation Document, and an upcoming Study Guide which will be available for all local churches. All the bishops are asking their pastors to read the Pastoral Letter in a main service of worship during a Sunday in Advent, or very early in the year 2010. Sunday school classes, campus ministries, youth groups, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, seminary classes, etc. are all appropriate places where the Foundation Document studying these issues can be addressed. We are particularly promoting the material to youth and young adults who care deeply about these issues. The Study Guide, published by United Methodist Publishing House, will be available for use in Lent 2010. You will find the documents available on I invite and expect each pastor of our local churches in the Virginia Conference to share the Pastoral Letter in the weeks ahead from your pulpits. You will find two versions of the Letter, one with a liturgical component, should you choose to expand the service of worship in this way. May God bless you as you join as partners in the urgent work of God’s Renewed Creation!”

‘God's Renewed Creation’ to be topic at Clergy Spouse Retreat
“God's Renewed Creation” will be the topic of Bishop Charlene Kammerer’s keynote address at the 2010 Clergy Spouse Retreat March 4 - 6, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Her address will be based on the updated initiative of the Council of Bishops — "God's Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action" — that explores the problems of and solutions to nuclear weapons, environmental degradation, global warming, pandemic poverty and disease. The retreat will also offer a variety of interest groups including Ed and Libby Wright leading a group for clergy couples titled "Two Ministers in a Parsonage," and Leigh Kammerer leading a group for male clergy spouses. 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. Retreat planning committee is chaired by Margaret Sisson and is sponsored by the Clergy Family Enrichment Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry.

Feb. 4 will be United Methodist Day at General Assembly
The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church 2009-2012 state that: “The church should continually exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs that are unjust.” Join Bishop Kammerer and hundreds of United Methodists from across Virginia on Thursday, Feb. 4, as a witness to our faith by visiting legislators to urge them to support just policies and programs and oppose those that are unjust. The event is sponsored by the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Women. For more information or to register, contact Natalie May at (804) 320-8524 or

Bishop’s Convocation on Creation Care to be Feb. 27 in Richmond
A Creation Care Convocation for the Virginia Conference will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, at River Road United Methodist Church, 8800 River Road, Richmond. This event is designed to equip and train local congregations on how to incorporate caring for God's creation into all areas of their church and personal life. The convocation will include a variety of speakers and workshops, information about the Green Church Initiative, panel discussions and tree planting. Look for information coming this week to your district with details on this event. For more information, contact Pat Watkins at (804) 612-1841 or e-mail

VUMAC’s Evening at Blackstone to be Dec. 6
Make your reservation now for the Evening at Blackstone on Sunday, Dec. 6. This annual event at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) is a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit. Come and enjoy excellent food, wonderful Christmas decorations and an evening of music provided by the Brethren, a Christian male chorus from northern Virginia. Call Cyndi Schnell at (434) 292-5308 for more information, or visit VUMAC’s Web site at

Bishop Schnase to keynote 2010 Ministers’ Convocation
Millions of people have read and used Bishop Robert Schnase’s book, The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. Schnase is now working on a new book called Fruitful Living, and clergy of the Virginia Conference will get an early preview of his new material during Schnase’s keynote address at the 2010 Ministers’ Convocation Jan. 19-21 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Convocation preachers will be Bishop Charlene Kammerer, Dr. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell and the Rev. Jonathan Park. Click here to learn more.

Nominate a pastor for G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award
Southeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Men (SEJ UMM) approved the G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award program in 2002 to honor pastors who encourage the ministries of men in evangelism, missions and spiritual growth. Nominations are received annually from local churches and men's fellowships. To learn how you can nominate a deserving pastor for the 2010 award, go to

77 bishops call for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan
As President Barack Obama considers new military strategy for Afghanistan, at least 77 United Methodist bishops are praying he will withdraw troops by the end of 2010. “We believe there is no path to military victory in Afghanistan,” the bishops stated in a letter sent to the president Nov. 10. The letter was signed by bishops attending the Nov. 1-5 Council of Bishops meeting. (Click here for text of the letter and list of signers.) More …

Church leaders seek consensus on plans for change
For the past 40 years the one "voice" that has spoken for The United Methodist Church has been a two-week, 1,000-delegate meeting charged with considering mountains of legislation every four years. "At times it seems that General Conference is the absent parent of a dysfunctional family," said Bishop John Hopkins, chair of the Connectional Table. Finding consensus on a solution, however, has also been difficult. In the past five years, church leaders have formed at least three different bodies, the Connectional Table, the Worldwide Nature of the Church study committee and a Call to Action study committee, to promote collaboration and nimble action between General Conferences. More …

U.S. Supreme Court refuses suit over ‘Redskins’ name
United Methodist leaders are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal challenging the National Football League’s use of the mascot and term “Redskins.” But they have vowed to continue the church’s struggle opposing team names and symbols that demean and offend Native Americans. More …

Portland will be site of 2016 General Conference
Portland, Ore., will be the site for the 2016 General Conference, the top legislative assembly of The United Methodist Church. The assembly, which gathers every four years, will meet at the Oregon Convention Center. Tentative dates are May 10-20, 2016, according to the Commission on the General Conference. More …

2009 Advent Wreath Lighting devotions available
Advent is the season in the Christian year when we hear and participate in the time of waiting for the birth of the Messiah, and we look with hope for the second coming of Christ. It is a time of intentional prayer for the light of Christ to fill the darkest corners of our world. In worship we use the colors purple and blue as visual reminders of the season. One of the primary symbols of the season has become the Advent Wreath. The wreath itself is a symbol of life without end. The lighting of a candle each week marks our journey through the four weeks of Advent. This year, Advent begins on Nov. 29 and culminates with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Click here for Advent Wreath Lighting devotions written by the Rev. Debi Tyree.

GBGM changes way it handles international mission funds
The General Board of Global Ministries, mission agency of The United Methodist Church, is changing the way it delivers and monitors funds for international mission work. The new system has four objectives: 1) to increase efficiency; 2) to reduce the transmittal time for funds to reach their destination; 3) to increase the agency's capacity to monitor the utilization of the funds; and 4) to help to build the administrative capacity of the mission partners of the board. Funds at stake average between $25 million and $30 million per year ($27.1 million in 2008), and cover a wide range of mission-related expenditures in 106 countries. The money currently underwrites 197 missionaries, and includes designated mission gifts and grants, as well as distribution of the proceeds of mission trust funds managed by the board. More …

UMCom offers new resource on church marketing
United Methodist Communications (UMCom) has created a new resource cleverly titled, "Church Marketing Plan." Here's a resource that congregations can use to help them put their best foot forward. Whether it’s impacting lives, helping people know Christ or engaging them through Christian discipleship, find out how with this new workbook approach to creating a customized church marketing plan. And it’s free! For more information, call 1-877-281-6535 or e-mail

Tuesday a.m. 30-minute webinars offer communications tips
A free 30-minute webinar hosted by United Methodist Communications is offered every Tuesday morning (at 11 a.m. Eastern time) to share up-to-date information, resources and tools that will enhance your church's communications ministry. Live broadcast of the webinars is free, but participants are asked to register the first time. (Click here for the online registration center.) After you register, you will automatically receive an invitation and access to subsequent live webinar broadcasts. At any time, you can request to discontinue receiving invitations. Upcoming webinars (subject to change) are: Nov. 24, Jackie Vaughan (Director, Grants and Media Services) provides tips for local church marketing; Dec. 1, Tracy Wood (Sales Manager, TechShop) shows you how to optimize photographs for the Web. Click here to sign up or learn more.

Help seekers 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.

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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