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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 – December 16, 2009

Rising Hope UMC distributes Christmas gifts to needy
On Sunday, Dec. 13, Rising Hope UMC in Alexandria began its annual distribution of Christmas gifts to the impoverished residents of the Route One corridor of Fairfax County. The first 500 gifts were distributed during a special service. The remaining 1,500 gifts were distributed during the week through Rising Hope’s Free Christmas Shoppe. Rising Hope is a congregation of primarily homeless and formerly homeless individuals started 14 years ago. Today this congregation of about 100 active members serves the needs of more than 6,000 area residents. Over the course of a year Rising Hope provides at least 75,000 meals from its food pantry and nearly 20,000 hot meals from its kitchen with the help of several dozen individuals in need of the same assistance. Annually more than 50,000 articles of clothing are sorted and distributed free of charge by several volunteers who need the assistance as well. During the four winter months, Rising Hope opens its doors as a shelter, taking the first 25 homeless persons that arrive every night.
     At Thanksgiving this year, the church’s food pantry fed more than 1,400 people, and the congregation, with the help of the Knights of Columbus and numerous volunteers, fed a Thanksgiving meal to more than 80 people. On Christmas Day Rising Hope will again open its doors to feed anyone who has no place to share a holiday meal. Volunteer servers and individuals willing to donate and prepare food are still needed.
     This year’s Christmas Angel Gifts were provided by these Fairfax County churches and organizations: Annandale UMC, Burke UMC, Franconia UMC, St. Aiden’s Episcopal Church, Washington Street UMC pre-school, Washington Street UMC, Christ UMC, Immanuel UMC, Washington Farm UMC and Andrew Chapel UMC. Individuals wishing to contribute Christmas gifts to Rising Hope UMC’s efforts should call Jennifer Mann at (703) 360-1976.

Conference offices mailing address changed, effective immediately
Virginia Conference offices in The United Methodist Center have a new mailing address because of the closing of a local post office. The new mailing address is: P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058. (Please Note: Both the box number and the zip code have changed.) Remittances for the Treasurer’s Office should be mailed to P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. These two post office boxes should be used effective immediately. The center’s physical address remains the same: 10330 Staples Mill Rd., Glen Allen, VA 23060.

Conference Web site changed to make address ‘friendly’
Work has been done on the conference Web site,, to allow for the creation of “friendly” URL addresses to pages within the Web site. For example, the Conference Foundation office can now be found at; higher education is at highereducation. Because of the address changes, links to pages that you have “bookmarked” or designated as “favorites” may no longer work. If the bookmarked address includes the words “NetCommunity,” those words need to be removed from the URL address. You may simply take out “NetCommunity” or go back to the, find the page, and re-bookmark the link.

Church statistics to be entered through GCFA online system
Local churches will enter 2009 statistics through the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) Eagle system. The link to GCFA and instructions for entering statistics are now available on the Virginia Conference Web site at Or go to then click on Administrative Services > Business Office > Reporting Statistics to the Treasurer. Deadline to fill out Table I is Jan. 15. Deadline to fill out Tables II and III is Jan. 31.

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!”

Churches can enroll in 5 Talent Academy until Feb. 10
Churches interested in enrolling in the 5 Talent Academy are invited to do so by completing the covenantal agreements and returning them to the Conference Office of Church Development and Evangelism before Feb. 10. The 5 Talent Academy is designed to help existing congregations grow in fruitfulness and multiplication of ministries centering on worship, mission, discipleship, evangelism and stewardship. Participation in the 5 Talent Academy is through a covenantal agreement by local congregations. Churches of all sizes, contexts and stages are welcome and invited to be a part of this exciting new work. Click here for forms and additional information. Or go to, click on All Things New (right hand column), then choose 5 Talent Academy. The next teaching event for the Academy will be Saturday, Feb. 20, at Cosby High School in south Richmond (near Woodlake UMC) with Sally Morganthaler, nationally recognized leader in worship evangelism.

Conference seeks part-time coordinator for All God’s Children Camp
Virginia Conference Office of Children, Youth, Young Adults, and Higher Education Ministries is seeking a part-time Coordinator for All God’s Children Camp (AGCC), a camping ministry for children of incarcerated mothers. Children spend a week at camp participating in activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, horseback riding, music, crafts, Bible study and conflict resolution. This position will be funded directly through donations that have been received for AGCC. Resumes and letters of interest should be e-mailed to Becky Tate at Deadline is Monday, Jan. 4.

Applications for Voices of Youth 2010 due Jan. 15
Applications for Voices of Youth 2010: Awakening the United Methodist Church to Mission are now available at on the "download application" tab to find application for new youths, returning youths, college and adult staff, as well as host churches. Applications are due Jan. 15. Voices of Youth is a summer choir for high school youths that travel to a mission site in the U.S. or abroad for approximately one week, followed by vocal concerts at a dozen or more Virginia United Methodist churches over the following two weeks. The 2010 tour will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Voices, and the choir will spend time in each of the 18 districts of the Virginia Conference. For more information, contact Rachel Hundley, Voices of Youth Coordinator, at

Conference offices seek four summer interns for 2010
The Virginia Conference Offices of Leadership and Inclusivity; Mission and Global Justice; Children, Youth, Young Adults, and Higher Education Ministries; and Congregational Development are seeking four separate summer interns for 2010. Applicants should be interested in pursuing a career in a ministry setting, have experience and passion for the area in which they apply, and be familiar with The United Methodist Church. Intern salary is $250 a week (with a minimum of 10 weeks). Click here for a copy of intern guidelines and an application. Completed applications should be e-mailed to Becky Tate at by Feb. 1.

CEU to be awarded at Feb. 26-28 Lay Ministries Academy
The conference-wide Lay Ministries Academy, which includes lay speaking training, will be held Feb. 26-28 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. The Continuing Education Committee of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry has approved awarding one hour of CEU credit to each clergyperson who completes the Authentic Outreach course to be taught at the Academy by Stuart Holt, author, publisher and founder of The Evangelism Institute.&nbspClick here for more information and a registration form.

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. Click here for more information and promotional flyer

Initiatives of Hope to send team of clergywomen to Mozambique
Virginia Conference Initiatives of Hope is sending a Women Clergy United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team to Mozambique the middle two weeks of August 2010. Team members will partner and travel with Mozambique Conference clergywomen for two weeks, sharing ministries, visiting mission work, exploring their calling as women in ministry, and planning and dreaming together for more effective partnership and ministry. Cost of the trip is approximately $3500 which creates an opportunity for each team member's faith community to assist in prayer and financial support. At the end of the trip, the team will travel to Kruger National Park in South Africa for two days to rest and plan before returning. The team will consist of no more than 12 members. Interested clergywomen will be assigned a place on the team on a first-come first-served basis. Questions and initial reservation requests can be directed to Team Leader, Rev. Nancy Robinson, at

Send a Net. Save a Life. See a Game.
Now through Jan. 31, Nothing But Nets supporters can donate $10 or more and get two complimentary tickets to an NBA game, subject to availability and participating teams. On Monday, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets tipped off the promotion — Send a Net. Save a Life. See a Game. — to send anti-malaria bed nets to refugees in 11 African countries. Long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets are one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of preventing malaria’s spread. They create a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of malaria transmissions occur. One bed net can protect a family of four, and lasts three to five years. It costs just $10 to purchase, deliver, and educate the recipient on its proper use. To date, Nothing But Nets has raised close to $30 million and has sent nearly three million nets to children, pregnant women, and refugees throughout Africa. Click here to send a net, save a life, and see a game. To help us meet our giving goals, please be sure to designate yourself as a United Methodist when making a Nothing But Nets gift online (under NBN how did you hear?)

GCFA asks Bishops to call special session of General Conference
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the denomination’s financial agency, is asking the Council of Bishops to call a special session of General Conference to address funding pensions for United States clergy and reorganization of its 40-year-old structure. GCFA approved a motion to encourage the bishops at their May 2010 meeting to call a special session before the planned April 25-May 4, 2012, General Conference in Tampa, Fla. GCFA board members also directed GCFA to work with the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) to obtain an independent actuarial review of the need for additional funding for the clergy pension plan and to recommend reasonable strategies for lessening the additional financial burdens on annual conferences to fund that plan.More …

Advent, Lenten resources encourage congregations to ‘Rethink Church’
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, CNN Headline News began airing “Rethink Church this Christmas” – a 30-second spot encouraging viewers to help those who are searching for hope, acceptance and love. This and other resources are available online for use in worship and in reaching out to those without a church home this Christmas. On Jan. 2, 2010, United Methodist Communications will release Lenten worship resources to help congregations Rethink Church as we move toward the cross and beyond with Christ. A Journey to Hope provides an invitation to journey through real-life circumstances like job loss, low self-esteem, relationship issues, money problems and even death to see how, in this life and the next, you can be resurrected. Television, worship graphics and more will be available to help congregations connect especially with visitors and young adults. For more information, contact Rethink Church at 1-877-281-6535 or e-mail

New Christian Education resources available from Cokesbury
Click here to find out about some of the newest Christian Education resources from Cokesbury for all ages (including 2010 Vacation Bible School materials and Green Church Initiative resources for children and youth).

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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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