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News from the Virginia Conference – February 18, 2010

Casey Torrence named director of All God’s Children Camp
The Common Table of the Virginia Conference has named Casey Torrence new director of All God’s Children Camp, effective Feb. 1. This part-time contracted position is funded directly from donations for All God’s Children Camp, a ministry that provides a week of sanctuary for children whose mothers are in prison. Torrence is also part-time director of Children’s Ministries at St. Matthew’s UMC in Goochland and was founder and executive director of Impact Richmond (a summer mission camp and non-profit organization). Three All God’s Children Camp on-site camp directors were named for 2010: Dawn Skinner (Highroad), Sandra Stanley (Westview) and Beth Christian (Occohannock). 2010 camp dates are: Aug. 1-6, All God’s Children Camp at Camp Highroad in Middleburg; Aug. 15-20, All God's Children Camp at Westview on the James in Goochland; Aug. 15-20, All God's Children Camp at Occohannock on the Bay on the Eastern Shore. Click here for more information

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). 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.

Initiatives of Hope offers Lenten worship resources
Initiatives of Hope (IOH), the Virginia Conference mission partnership focus, has provided Lenten worship resources that highlight our ministries with The United Methodist Church in Mozambique and The Methodist Church of Brazil. Resources include calls to worship, prayers, litanies, sermon illustrations and children’s sermons. Some were prepared by Christians from other countries. Click here for Mozambique or Brazil Worship and Education Resources.

Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten devotion series
Society of St. Andrew (SoSA), Virginia-based ecumenical hunger relief ministry, is offering a Lenten devotion series titled “Jesus is …”. Through spiritual reflection, prayer and giving, the reader is challenged to take seriously the scriptural injunctions to care for the poor while also being provided an opportunity to feed our hungry neighbors. An optional “Good Friday Fast” is available for use with daily devotions or as a stand-alone program. All materials for SoSA’s Lenten devotions program are free. Call 1-800-333-4597, e-mail church@endhunger.org, or order online at www.endhunger.org/lent.htm.

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. Theme for this year’s Annual Conference session is “Leading by Following Jesus. Disciples: Nurtured and Transformed.”

United Methodist giving for Haiti relief now at $11 million
Through individual gifts, special offerings and innovative fundraising activities, United Methodists have donated $11 million for Haiti through United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), according to Melissa Hinnen, UMCOR director of communications. In addition, the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot distribution center in Baldwin, La., has received 350,000 health kits. 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 the earthquake in Haiti, to know that 100% of 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.

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.

Brazil missionaries to visit Virginia churches March 15-27
Gordon and Teca Greathouse, United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries missionaries in Brazil, will be making presentations and visiting churches in Virginia March 15-27. Teca directs the Shade and Freshwater program, a key component of the Virginia Conference partnership with Brazil. She and Gordon have served the Methodist Church of Brazil for many years and have focused on the needs of at-risk children. Their schedule in Virginia is: Monday, March 15, 7 p.m. - Manor Memorial UMC, New Market, (540-740-8959); Tuesday, March 16, 6 p.m. - Mountain Valley UMC, Harrisonburg, (540-896-3424); Wednesday, March 17, 6:45 p.m. - Redwood UMC, Rocky Mount, (540-483-9090); Thursday, March 18, 6:30 p.m. - Rock Springs UMC, Ringgold, (434- 822-7856); Sunday, March 21, 11 a.m. - Memorial UMC, Charles City, (804-829-6411), 6 p.m. - St. Luke’s UMC, Yorktown, (757-898-3017); Monday, March 22, 6 p.m. - Bermuda Hundred UMC, Chester, (804-530-1391); Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m. - Calvary UMC, Stuart’s Draft, (540-337-2980); Wednesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m. - Bon Air UMC, Richmond, (804-272-2042); Thursday, March 25, 7 p.m. - New Hanover Presbyterian Church, Mechanicsville, (804-730-9700); Sunday, March 28, 11 a.m. - Wesley Memorial UMC, Charlottesville, (434- 296-6976), 5 p.m. - Wesley Foundation, William and Mary, Williamsburg (757-229-6832). Click here for more information.

March 16 is early bird registration deadline for April CEF training event
Friday, March 16, is early bird registration deadline for the Virginia Christian Education Fellowship (VA CEF) Professional Development Training Event to be held April 19-21 at Shalom House Retreat Center in Montpelier. Theme is “Unlock the Secrets to More Time and Creativity in Your Ministry.” Training leader and keynote speaker is the Rev. Doug Forrester. Workshops include: “Christian Education 101 for New Christian Educators,” “Picking Curriculum that is a Theological Fit,” “Digital Technology” and “Praying the Labyrinth.” All persons serving the local church in education, formation and age-level ministries are welcome. Click here for more information. Click here for online registration. For more information about the event or CEF, contact MaryKaye Cochran, VA CEF President, at mcochran@woodlakeumc.org or (804) 739-4535, ext. 33.

Workshop for living with Alzheimer’s set for May 7 in Virginia Beach
“Living with Alzheimer’s Disease: You are NOT Alone,” a dual-track workshop for family caregivers, clergy and church leaders, will be held Friday, May 7, at Virginia Beach United Methodist Church, 212 19th St., Virginia Beach. This collaborative conference offers a wide spectrum of current, relevant strategies for caregivers with a special track for clergy and church leaders involved in ministry with families experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Stephen Sapp, professor and chair of Religious Studies at the University of Miami and author of When Alzheimer’s Disease Strikes! Registration fee is $10. Registration deadline is April 12 for clergy with CEU request and April 26 for clergy and church leaders without CEU request. Click here for more information or contact Janice Cagle at 757-428-7727 or jcagle@vbumc.org. Sponsors are Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Virginia Chapter; Virginia Beach United Methodist Church; Commission on Disabilities of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church; Virginia Beach Department of Human Services; and Virginia Wesleyan College.

United Methodists invited to Change the World April 24-25
On April 24 and 25, your congregation is invited to participate in “Change the World,” an event which invites all 11 million United Methodists around the world to come together to work with their local communities. The Google Earth map for Change the World is online now at www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld and it’s time to populate it with community-building, malaria-fighting events happening in your area on April 24-25! Registration is simple – just follow the form. Go to the site now to download all sorts of free graphics, videos and stories about how your church is demonstrating the heartbeat of Christ in your own unique way. Even more resources will be added, so be sure to visit the site frequently.
     Pastor Mike Slaughter’s provocative and insightful new book, Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus, is available as a free Kindle download now through Feb. 23 on Amazon.com. Get your copy today and help take the church into the world. For chapter excerpts and videos, visit www.ChangeTheWorld.Cokesbury.com. For more information, go to www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld, or send an e-mail to changetheworld@umcom.org.

Pension Board to hold March 5 public forum in San Francisco
The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits will host a public forum on March 5 at the Argonaut Hotel, 495 Jefferson St., in San Francisco. Tentatively scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time, the forum will allow the agency's board of directors to hear concerns of constituents from across the church during the course of their regular meeting. Those wishing to make short presentations to the board should contact Colette Nies by Feb. 26 at 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4296, or e-mail cnies@gbophb.org.

New youth evangelism award announced
The Foundation for Evangelism announces the Harry Denman Youth Evangelism Award. Young people who respond to the Great Commission of Jesus as modeled by John Wesley and Harry Denman, founder of The Foundation for Evangelism, may be nominated by their local churches; annual conferences will make the final selections. To learn more about the award or to download nomination forms visit www.FoundationForEvangelism.org or call 1-800-737-8333.

BeADisicple, Wesley Ministry Network offer online classes
A partnership of The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship’s BeADisciple.com and Wesley Theological Seminary’s Wesley Ministry Network will offer three lay education courses online beginning Feb. 22. Click on the titles to learn more about each course. Simply Christian – Feb 22 - May 2; Devotion to Jesus: The Divinity of Christ in Early Christianity – Feb. 22 - April 23; Religion and Science: Pathways to Truth– Feb 22 - May 2. Each course features streaming video segments and online discussions with other students and experienced Wesley Ministry Network teachers. Courses are open to everyone, and CEUs are available for pastors. Learn more and register at http://www.beadisciple.com/wesleyministrynetwork.html. For information about other courses, go to www.beadisciple.com.


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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