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News from the Virginia Conference – January 13, 2010

United Methodists providing support to Haiti earthquake victims
During these initial hours and days following the massive earthquake in Haiti, there are two ways United Methodists are being asked to help the people of Haiti. First, pray for Haiti and for those involved in rescue efforts. Second, give generously to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR is always among the first on the ground in these situations, and the last to leave. Click here to donate online. Virginia Conference churches are encouraged to take a special offering for Haiti earthquake recovery. Donations can be sent to the Conference Treasurer’s office designated for UMCOR Haiti Emergency Advance #418325; 100% of all donations will be used directly for disaster recovery efforts and humanitarian aid in Haiti. While it will be a while before Haiti is ready for regular United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) teams, UMCOR is already providing aid to the Haitian people. Updates on plans for UMVIM teams to go to Haiti will be available on the Southeast Jurisdiction UMVIM Web site, www.umvim.org. Click here for United Methodist News Service report.

UMVIM team members from Blacksburg reported safe in Haiti
A 15-member United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team from Blacksburg United Methodist Church was in Haiti Tuesday when an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The Rev. Reggie Tuck, senior pastor, and the Rev. Sung Yoo, associate pastor, are leading the team that traveled to Haiti to assist with home repairs in Cité Soleil, a densely populated shanty town in Port-au-Prince. The team left the U.S. Thursday, Jan. 7, and was scheduled to return Thursday, Jan. 14. According to reports church staff obtained from Facebook posts by one of the team members, on Tuesday the team was on a scheduled trip to Cange, a small remote village in the Central Plateau of Haiti. When the earthquake hit, the entire team was in Cange, not in Port-au-Prince, and all members are believed to be safe. Blacksburg UMC is hosting a prayer service for the team today, Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary.

Kemper elected new chief executive of General Board of Global Ministries
The executive committee of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, acting on behalf of the full board, today elected Thomas Kemper of the Germany Central Conference as the general secretary of the agency, effective in mid-March. More …

You can still register for 2010 Ministers’ Convocation Jan 19-21
There is still time to register for this year’s “Fruitful Living” Ministers’ Convocation Jan. 19-21 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone which will feature a keynote address by Bishop Robert Schnase. Millions of people have read and used Bishop Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. Schnase is now working on a new book called Fruitful Living, and convocation participants will get a preview of his new material during Schnase’s keynote speech. Convocation preachers will be Bishop Charlene Kammerer, Dr. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell and the Rev. Jonathan Park. There will also be worship, special music, workshops and time for fellowship.Click here to download brochure and registration form.

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 Conference Legislative Network, a joint effort of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Women. Click here for a brochure and registration form. For more information, contact Natalie May at (804) 320-8524 or nbmay@verizon.net. Or, click here to view the UM Day Facebook page.

Enter church statistics now 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 www.vaumc.org/Statistics. Or go to www.vaumc.org 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.

Disability Awareness Sunday is Feb. 7
The Virginia Conference celebrates Disability Awareness Sunday on the first Sunday in February. Of course, your church can recognize this day at anytime throughout the year. Click here for suggestions for worship and activities provided for your use by the Commission on Disabilities. Or, go to the conference Web site, www.vaumc.org, select “Ministries,” then “Disabilities.”

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 www.vaumc.org,click on All Things New (right hand column), then choose 5 Talent Academy. The next teaching event for the Academy will be 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Cosby High School in south Richmond (near Woodlake UMC) with Sally Morganthaler, nationally recognized leader in worship evangelism.

CEU credit 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. Click here for more information and a registration form.

Bishop’s Convocation on Creation Care will be Feb. 27
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.

Society of St. Andrew offers free daily Lenten devotions
A free daily Lenten devotions program, “Jesus is …,” that presents Jesus in unique ways through the eyes of many contributors, is available now from Society of St. Andrew, a national hunger relief ministry and Virginia Conference Advance Special #801600. An optional “Good Friday Fast” is available for use in conjunction with the daily devotions or as a stand-alone program. All materials for the Society of St. Andrew’s Lenten Devotions program are free.  Churches can order a sample packet without obligation.  Call 1-800-333-4597; fax 434-299-5949; e-mail church@endhunger.org; or order online at www.endhunger.org/lent.htm. Materials will begin shipping the week of Jan. 18.

Deadline is Feb. 15 to apply for Ethnic Young Adult Summer Internship
Deadline to apply for a 2010 Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) Summer Internship in Washington, D.C., has been extended to Feb. 15. The EYA program is for young adults, ages 18-22, interested in exploring issues of public policy, social justice advocacy and social change. Openings remain for applicants of Hispanic American, Native American and Pacific Islander ethnicity. Sponsored by the United Methodist Inter-Ethnic Strategy Development Group (IESDG) and administered by the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), interns will work in social justice placements in the U.S. capital from May 30 to July 31, 2010. IESDG is a coalition of the denomination’s five racial/ethnic minority caucuses: Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans (MARCHA), the Native American International Caucus (NAIC), the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM), and the Pacific Islander National Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM). Application form and more information is available at EYA Internship Program. For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, General Board of Church & Society, 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 488-5611 or the Rev. L.A. McCrae, EYA coordinator, (202) 488-5644 (office) or (443) 528-5138 (mobile).

Order Eco-Palms for March 28 Palm Sunday services
United Methodists are encouraged to purchase Eco-Palms to be used for Palm Sunday services on March 28. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), in partnership with the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) and the University of Minnesota Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management (CINRAM), supports the Eco-Palm Project which sustains forestry, protects local jobs and preserves the livelihoods of small-scale farmers by ensuring fair wages. When you buy Eco-Palms, the money you spend on the palms directly benefits communities in Mexico and Guatemala where the palms are harvested. Workers receive fair wages to support their families, and palm fronds are harvested in a sustainable way that protects valuable natural forests. You can use Why Eco-Palms?, a Power Point slide to share information about the benefits of Eco-Palms. Last year, United Methodists were the second largest denominational purchaser of Eco-Palms in the U.S., ordering over 115,300 palm stems for Palm Sunday services. Click here to order, or visit www.ecopalms.org for more information. Deadline for check orders is March 2. Eco-Palms will be delivered between March 22 and 26.

Feb. 12 is deadline to apply for Peace with Justice grant
Feb. 12 is the deadline to apply for a Peace with Justice grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. Funding for this program is generated through the Peace with Justice Special Sunday offering of The United Methodist Church. One of six Special Sundays in the denomination, Peace with Justice “witnesses to God’s demands for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world.” Peace with Justice grants are awarded annually. In 2009, $52,805 was granted to 28 Peace with Justice ministries. This year, Peace with Justice Sunday is scheduled to be observed on May 30. Click here for more information.


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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