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News from the Virginia Conference – February 10, 2010

Resources offered for observance of Black History Month in February
February is Black History Month, and the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has numerous resources available for worship planning.  Click here to view the resources on the GBOD’s Web site.  If you have trouble with the link, go to http://www.gbod.org and search for “Black History Month.”
     This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Feb. 13, 1960, start of student sit-ins and the arrival of Freedom Rider buses from the north to protest the segregation of lunch counters in downtown Nashville. There were demonstrations, bus rides, beatings, arrests, jail sentences, speeches and marches, but there were also prayers and singing from the jail cells. Click here for an article and two of the improvised songs the demonstrators sang in jail.

February is Heart Havens Month
Heart Havens was begun in 1996 by the Virginia Conference to address the need in Virginia for housing and services for adults with intellectual disabilities. Visit the Heart Havens’ Web site at http://www.hearthavens.org or call (804) 237-6097 for information on how to contribute individually or through your church. Heart Havens has a continuing need for time, talent and financial assistance to provide care for its residents. Volunteers are needed for home maintenance and yard work at the organization’s 10 (soon to be 11) homes.

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 guides 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 hopeandaction.org. 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 http://www.cokesbury.com (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 hopeandaction.org including articles, video clips, fact sheets and action ideas.

2010 Annual Conference information is now on Web
Information about the 2010 Annual Conference, to be held in Norfolk June 13 – 16, is now available on the Conference Web site at www.vaumc.org/2010AC. Included is information on Housing, Parking Passes, Banquets, Speakers and Displays, as well as other items of interest.

Missionaries available to speak in March
Gordon and Teca Greathouse, General Board of Global Ministries missionaries to Brazil, are itinerating in Virginia, March 16-25. Your church or district can have them come share with you about God’s mission in Brazil. Both have been serving the Methodist Church of Brazil for many years and have focused on the needs of at-risk children. Teca directs the Shade and Fresh Water Project, a key component of the Virginia Conference Initiatives of Hope partnership with Brazil. The following dates are available: March 16-17 – northern Virginia; March 18-20 – Tidewater area, central Virginia or locations within two hours of Richmond; March 21 – Peninsula, Petersburg or Richmond districts; March 22-23 – western Virginia. To schedule these missionaries, contact Erin McKinney at hoopsfan1@verizon.net or (703) 403-1742; or Dot Ivey at ivey1961@verizon.net or (804) 897-4060.

Bulletin inserts, worship aids focus on Women's History Month in March
The year 2010 is the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month. Celebrated in March, the national theme for this year's celebration is Writing Women Back into History. Even when recognized in their own times, women are frequently left out of history books. The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is offering a series of bulletin inserts and worship litanies that take women out of the footnotes of our history and place them in the main story line. The six inserts feature women from United Methodism’s past and present who played a significant role in history – not just women’s history but everyone’s history. Women highlighted include bishops, pastors and lay community workers who made a significant impact on the church and our nation. Congregations are invited to select inserts to include in bulletins or newsletters to celebrate women throughout the month. In addition to bulletin inserts, two bulletin covers are also offered. These covers feature litanies for use in worship services written by women from throughout the connection. Access these resources at www.gcsrw.org by following the links to the Women’s History Month resources.

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. Click here to register.

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 Feb. 27 Bishop’s Convocation on Creation Care
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 jpatdenise@mac.com. 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 (rsisson@verizon.net) and is sponsored by the Clergy Family Enrichment Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry.

Lake Junaluska to host Exploration Retreat for African-American youth
Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center will host the third annual Ebony Youth Christian Vocation Exploration Retreat April 9-11. The retreat is designed to be an intentional spiritual formation weekend in which African-American youth, grades 9-12, have the opportunity to explore Christian vocations and God’s call on their lives. Church leaders are asked to share information about the retreat with youths whom they feel are being called into ministry or who have expressed the desire to go into ministry. Registration is $90 per person; applications are due Feb. 12. For more information or registration, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/ebony or contact Rev. Dr. Carl Arrington at (828) 454-6739.

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 operating expenses of those who bring healing and help in our name.
     When the first tremors of the earthquake in Haiti rocked that island nation, UMCOR staff were already in country, strategizing how United Methodists could help improve the lives of the people there. The One Great Hour of Sharing offering makes it possible, when we respond to an emergency like Haiti, to know that 100% of our gifts go directly to where the suffering is happening. Every year, but this year more than ever, it is critical that every United Methodist church gives the people of its congregation the opportunity to join with the faithful across the church to support One Great Hour of Sharing. Call (888) 346-3862 today to order envelopes and other resources so your congregation can participate in this churchwide offering. They will be sent at no cost to your church! Find more at umcgiving.org/specialsundays.

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 www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld.
5. Collect a special offering to combat malaria.
Go to www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld for more information, or send an e-mail to changetheworld@umcom.org.

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. 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.

Wesley Seminary offers 6 half-day workshops
Six half-day events for laity and clergy sponsored by Wesley Theological Seminary begin with an interactive workshop for youth leaders called “epoH! That’s hope backwards,” 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 27. Cost is $20. The session will address God’s unfolding hope for the world, remembering the ways God has been present in the midst of personal and communal suffering and “remembering forward” as we reach toward the new thing God might do through us. Future events include: “Calling Churches into the Ministry of Racial Reconciliation,” March 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; “Dealing with Conflict in Ministry Settings,” April 17; “Engaging Children to be Agents of Social Justice,” April 17; “Public Service as Christian Vocation,” May 15; and “Starting a Young Adult Sunday School Class: One Model” May 15. Register at www.wesleyseminary.edu/mvs, or for more information, call Frenika Mudd, program administrator for Wesley at Mount Vernon Square, at (202) 403-0962 or e-mail fmudd@wesleyseminary.edu.


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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