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News from the Virginia Conference – February 3, 2010

Bishop Kammerer article featured in Upper Room ‘Prayers for Haiti’
The Upper Room is publishing Prayers for Haiti: Words of Hope for People Who Help for distribution beginning Feb. 8. The 32-page English-language booklet includes an introduction by Bishop Charlene Kammerer, meditations, prayers and scripture. This booklet provides spiritual nourishment to all who are working on behalf of Haiti, whether through recovery efforts, financial contributions, or ongoing personal prayers. Annual conferences, local churches and mission teams can receive 100 free copies to distribute through their ministries. Shipments must be within the U.S. and are limited to the first 250 requests. Please reply immediately. To request copies, e-mail Cindy Helms at Be sure to include full mailing street address. To see Prayers for Haiti in pdf, visit If you would like to make a financial donation to offset the costs associated with Prayers for Haiti, go to

Digital packet of materials helps interpret mission, ministry in Haiti
The General Board of Global Ministries has put together a digital packet of materials for use by conferences, churches and groups to help interpret and promote mission and ministry in Haiti. The digital packet includes: 1.) UMCOR Haiti multimedia presentation to be used in worship, on the Web, in small groups and in a variety of other settings (available in MV4 and WMV formats); 2.) Three UMCOR Haiti ads to be printed and used as bulletin inserts, fliers, posters, in church newsletters, etc.; 3.) MP3 of audio recordings of hymns from Haiti which can be used in worship settings; 4.) Six music scores for "Beje Mouin," "Jeze de Nazaret," "My Family," "Agneau de Dieu," "Feuille-O (Kyrie)" and "Lord Have Mercy" to be used in worship settings for prayers for/with Haiti; 5.) Three articles from Global Praise for worship ideas including ways to use the contents of the Haiti Resource Packet. Feel free to use any or all of these resources. Click on to view and download the contents individually or all together.

Volunteers asked to delay travel to Haiti
The Methodist Church in Haiti and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are identifying “suitable projects and assignments” for volunteer teams wishing to assist with earthquake recovery in Haiti. Both groups are asking volunteers to delay their arrival in Haiti until those assessments are complete. Click here for text of letter from President of Methodist Church of Haiti. More …

Feb. 7 is National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform
Join with people of faith throughout the United States on Feb. 7 to pray for criminal justice reform. Click here to learn more.

Sally Morgenthaler to keynote Feb. 20 session of 5 Talent Academy
Sally Morgenthaler, nationally recognized leader in worship evangelism, will be featured speaker at the next teaching event for the 5 Talent Academy. The event, which will focus on “Worship,” will be 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Cosby High School in south Richmond (near Woodlake UMC). Morgenthaler is known best for her book, "Worship Evangelism." She helps missional congregations innovate ministry that begins in neighborhoods and workplaces. She also helps congregations craft corporate worship experiences that reflect this key shift. Morgenthaler teaches on culture and leadership at Fuller, George Fox and Asbury seminaries. Churches that are members of the Academy can click here to register.
     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 Congregational 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.

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.

Register now for Bishop’s Convocation on Creation Care Feb. 27
Registration is now open for the Bishop’s Convocation on Caring for God’s Creation to 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. Registration, displays, food and music begin at 8 a.m. with the first presentation beginning at 9 a.m. Adjournment will be at 3:15 p.m. Lunch will be provided. If your church has a creation care team, you can bring a display describing your ministry, but you must register your display with the Rev. Pat Watkins, as space is limited. E-mail Pat at Carpooling to this event is encouraged, so get together with your friends. Also bring your own coffee cups and water containers! Click here for more details, promotional flyer and registration options.

Register now for March 4-6 Clergy Spouse Retreat
Now is the time to register for the annual Clergy Spouse Retreat March 4-6 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Click here to register online or to download a registration form for daytime participants and for those who prefer to mail in a registration. Bishop Charlene Kammerer will be keynote speaker. Focus of the retreat will be 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, endemic poverty and disease. A variety of interest groups will also be offered 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. Participants may choose to arrive Thursday with dinner ($140), Thursday without dinner ($138), Friday morning ($90) or be a daytime participant ($20 plus meals). The retreat planning committee is chaired by Margaret Sisson ( and is sponsored by the Clergy Family Enrichment Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry.

Bishops urge study of ‘God’s Renewed Creation’ during Lent
The Council of Bishops has adopted a major document addressing “God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action.” Issues identified as being current threats to God's good creation are pandemic poverty, environmental degradation and weapons/violence. The document includes a Pastoral Letter, Foundation Document and Study Guide for all local churches. All the bishops are asking their pastors to read the Pastoral Letter in a main service of worship and to conduct Lenten studies using study guides prepared for group leaders of adults and young people (6 sessions), and for teachers of children (3 activities). All the documents, including the new downloadable study guides, are available on The United Methodist Publishing House is taking orders now for a comprehensive, “All-in-One” resource that includes the Pastoral Letter, Foundation Document and both study guides for $7.50 each ($5 if you order soon) with delivery promised in time for the beginning of Lent. You can place orders for these printed documents at (search “God’s Renewed Creation: Call…” or by numbers: ISBN-13: 9781426710391, ISBN-13: 9781426711473, ISBN-13: 9781426711473 (paperback, e-book or pdf). Resources that coordinate with each session of the guide will be posted at including articles, video clips, fact sheets and action ideas.

Norfolk UMC uses technology to minister to prisoners, families
This month, Norfolk United Methodist Church is matching new technology with a longtime need for churches to be involved in prison ministry. Part of the church facility will become a video studio where family members of inmates can speak with their loved ones through video conferencing. More …

UMCOR celebrates 70th birthday this year
For 70 years the people of The United Methodist Church have put the spirit of Micah 6:8 into action through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). By hosting sojourners, assembling school kits for children around the world, buying fair-trade coffee to ensure that farmers receive a living wage, welcoming the stranger, supporting community health-care workers and hospital revitalization, and rebuilding homes devastated by floods or earthquakes, United Methodists continue to be the hands and feet of Christ. More …

Sunday, March 14, is One Great Hour of Sharing
Sunday, March 14, is designated as One Great Hour of Sharing in United Methodist churches. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and provide the foundation of all of UMCOR’s work by covering the costs of doing business. This means all gifts designated to specific programs can go 100% to those programs because UMCOR’s basic expenses are covered. Click here for more information.

United Methodists invited to Change the World April 24-25
What if … on one weekend all around the world, 11 million United Methodists came together to work with their local communities? What If … as we serve people locally, we unite globally to eliminate a preventable, treatable disease that kills one child every 30 seconds? On April 24 and 25, your congregation is invited to participate in “Change the World,” an event that will reveal the many ways faithful Christians everywhere are serving God. To get started:
1. Consider how your congregation currently impacts its community. Do you have a food pantry, a clothing closet, an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, a tutoring program, etc.?
2. Schedule an activity for an existing or new outreach ministry on either April 24 or 25.
3. Invite both your congregation and local community to be involved.
4. Use the Rethink Church World Malaria Day (April 25) Sermon Starter coming soon to
5. Collect a special offering to combat malaria.
Go to for more information, or send an e-mail to

11 a.m. Tuesdays free webinars offer communications training
Tuesdays at 11 a.m. (Eastern time) free 30-minute webinars are hosted by United Methodist Communications to share up-to-date and relevant information, resources and tools that will enhance your church's communications ministry. Upcoming webinars are: Feb. 9 - Discover the ease and convenience of creating Web site favorites and social bookmarking. This is the second of four webinars dedicated to "Befriending the Internet"; Feb. 16 - Get updates and content delivered to you instead of checking every Web site by using RSS Feeds and Feed Readers. This is the third of four webinars dedicated to "Befriending the Internet"; Feb. 23 - Explore the world of Cloud Computing (for beginners) where you can accomplish most anything online without having to download software. This is the fourth of four webinars dedicated to "Befriending the Internet"; Coming in March - "Mastering the Multimedia Maze," a series of five webinars covering everything from audio and video sharing to podcasting, using UMTV video clips in worship and photo sharing. To sign up and learn more, visit Tuesdays @ 10am Central.

Medical volunteers needed for May mission trip to Mozambique
Medical professionals are asked to prayerfully consider joining the 16-member (8 medical, 8 construction) United Methodist Volunteers-In-Mission team traveling to Chicuque Rural Methodist Hospital in Inhambane Province, Mozambique, May 14-29. This will be the seventh medical team traveling from the Virginia Conference to Chicuque Hospital in the past five years. Currently, a neonatologist, scrub tech, nurse practitioner and OB nurse are committed to the team. We urgently need a general, orthopedic, or OB/GYN surgeon to join us. (Also urgently needed on the team is a biomedical engineer to help troubleshoot problems with hospital equipment and teach local staff techniques of minor repair.) Plans are to have the surgeons assist and instruct the hospital’s medical staff in advanced surgical procedures. Medical team members are also asked to prepare professional lectures (specific surgical topics recommended by local staff) which they will present at the second Annual Medical Symposium, an all-day conference sponsored by our team and provided to medical professionals throughout the province. Cost per team member is $3200, all inclusive. Deadline to join is Feb. 5 (due to necessity to submit copies of medical licenses to Mozambican Ministry of Health for ability to practice). For more info, contact Nancy Forrest, medical team leader, at 540-667-0034 (home), 540-409-6555 (cell), or e-mail

Submission deadline nears for new worship and song collection
Although work on a new United Methodist hymnal was suspended in May 2009, the UM Publishing House and the General Board of Discipleship are developing a shorter, different type of resource to be published in Feb. 2011. “The forthcoming collection,” said Gary Alan Smith, general editor, “will offer the best of the best of the newest worship resources to The UMC and beyond. . . . traditional hymns, praise and worship songs and choruses, Taizé chants, worship music from various racial-ethnic and global communities, and even some hymns from older generations that warrant a revival. Also included in its own volume will be non-musical worship resources (prayers, litanies and other liturgical acts of worship) intended for pastors and worship leaders as they plan worship.” Feb. 28 is the deadline for submissions. Persons desiring to submit original hymns, songs, service music and worship resources for publication consideration in the new collections may send submissions to Smith at

Dakotas, Minnesota conferences to have one bishop in 2012
Four of the five U.S. jurisdictions of The United Methodist Church will have to reduce the number of bishops by one prior to Sept. 1, 2012, the date new bishops assume their assignments. The Southeastern Jurisdiction currently has one bishop less than it is entitled to, so no reduction is needed in that jurisdiction. The North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops decided, Jan. 26, to reduce the number of episcopal areas from 10 to nine by linking the Dakotas Annual Conference and Minnesota Annual Conference into one episcopal area. Conference boundaries will not change, but the two conferences will be served by one bishop.

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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