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Dec. 23, 2010
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News from the Virginia Conference – January 20, 2010

United Methodists asked to pray, give, assemble kits for Haiti
Following the massive earthquake in Haiti, United Methodists are asked to: 1) Pray for Haiti and for those involved in rescue efforts; 2) Give generously to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR); 3) Assemble and ship health kits to UMCOR. Click here for instructions on assembling kits. Bob Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, announced that kits will be picked up from regional sites on Sunday, Jan. 31. Regional site locations will be announced this week. For more information, contact Pihlcrantz by e-mail to or or telephone 1-866-264-8488.

Virginia churches asked to take special offering for Haiti
Virginia Conference churches are encouraged to take a special offering for Haiti earthquake recovery. Donations can be sent to the conference Treasurer’s office; checks made payable to “Virginia Conference UMC” can be 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 Southeastern Jurisdiction UMVIM Web site,

Lynchburg District packs 210,000 meals for Haiti relief
A Stop Hunger Now meal packing event sponsored by the Lynchburg District on Jan. 18 drew 2,500 participants and packed 210,000 meals for Haiti relief. Goal of the event was 100,000 meals. “People were literally in line for 200 yards out the door,” said the Rev. Larry Davies, Lynchburg District superintendent. “The response was so great we had to ask volunteers to leave to make room for others.” The meals will be shipped from Norfolk to Haiti, where Stop Hunger Now has a long-standing relationship. Click here to view pictures.

Web sites provide news, resources on Haiti relief
United Methodist Communications continues to provide news coverage of the situation in Haiti, including how the church is responding, at This site also includes other resources available for churches and members who want to help. Haiti Earthquake, is a dedicated United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Web page providing the latest news and information on UMCOR's relief efforts in Haiti. Churches everywhere can access available Haiti resources on this special Web page, which includes a church bulletin; a PowerPoint slide show; a poster; and a link to offering envelopes, which churches can use to collect a special offering for Haiti survivors. Download "Haiti: A Call for Help" church bulletin now, or "Help Haiti Survivors" PowerPoint slide for church use. Gifts to Haiti can be made online by visiting

UMCOR, Global Ministries mourn loss of two key executives
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the General Board of Global Ministries are mourning the loss of two key staff members — the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR's top executive, and the Rev. Clint Rabb, head of the Volunteers in Mission office. Dixon and Rabb were in Haiti to discuss efforts to improve medical services in the country. They both died of injuries received after being buried in the rubble of a collapsed hotel following the Jan. 12 earthquake. To learn more of their life and work, visit Gifts to Haiti relief can be made in memory of Sam Dixon to the Haiti Relief Fund of UMCOR. Checks should be made to UMCOR with "Advance #418325 Dixon Memorial" in the memo line and mailed to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Gifts in memory of the Rev. Clinton Rabb should be directed to the Individual Volunteers Program. Checks should be made to the General Board of Global Ministries with "Advance #982465 Rabb Memorial" in the memo line.

United Methodists build prayer wall for Haiti
They pray for God to watch over the people of Haiti. They pray for the safety of those providing aid to the earthquake victims. They pray for mercy and compassion. And now the world will hear their prayers. The United Methodist Church’s Haiti response effort offers a “Prayer Wall” on the Facebook group page. is the online presence of the denomination’s Rethink Church campaign. Since the page opened on Jan. 15, more than 600 members have joined, leaving more than 120 prayers for the people of Haiti. More …

Charity watchdog group gives UMCOR an A+ rating
The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, has given United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) an A+ based on the portion of UMCOR’s budget that goes to program services (100%) and its fund-raising efficiency. UMCOR was one of only four organizations involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts that were given the highest rating by AIP. Click here for more information.

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 Or, click here to view the UM Day Facebook page.

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,, 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, 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.

Urge President to include needs of poor in ‘State of Union’ speech
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) asks you to urge President Barack Obama to include the needs of the poor in his “State of the Union” address Wednesday, Jan. 27. GBCS has set up web pages through which you can send e-mail to the president urging him to make the poor a priority. This marks the debut of a GBCS campaign aligned with a focus of The United Methodist Church to eradicate poverty. The campaign, a “Prophet-Driven Economy,” is rooted in the United Methodist Social Principle “The Economic Community” (¶163). More …

SpouseConnect blog site established for pastors’ spouses
Created by a small group of United Methodist pastors' spouses, SpouseConnect is a blog site that seeks to provide a safe space for husbands and wives of pastors and others in congregational ministry to share frustrations, joys, concerns and ideas with others who understand. SpouseConnect was started because pastors' spouses too often feel lonely, disconnected, and frustrated, and have no one they can openly, honestly share these feelings with, according to Kathy Armistead, co-developer of the blog site. She sees SpouseConnect as reaching out and helping various categories of persons. "We're happy to include all or any pastor's spouse, not just United Methodists and not just ordained clergy spouses,” Armistead said. “We want to reach out to the local pastor spouses as well." If you have questions, e-mail The SpouseConnect blog site can be found at

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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