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News from the Virginia Conference – February 25, 2010

Bishop names four new district superintendents
After a year of no changes on the Bishop’s Cabinet, Bishop Charlene Kammerer has named four new superintendents. The Rev. Ken Jackson will head the Alexandria District, replacing Alan Reifsnyder who will retire at 2010 Annual Conference. The Rev. Tommy Herndon will replace Ed Pruitt as superintendent of the Harrisonburg District. Pruitt will retire at 2010 Annual Conference. The Rev. Mike Houff will be head of the Staunton District, replacing Kathleen Overby Webster who will be appointed to a local church. The Rev. Larry Thompson Jr. will lead the Winchester District, replacing David Forrest who will be appointed to a local church. More …

Denise Honeycutt to leave conference staff
The Rev. Denise Honeycutt, who currently serves as conference director of Mission and Global Justice,will receive a new appointment to a local church, effective July 1, and will be leaving the conference staff. She has overseen conference mission activities since 2000. More …
     Marc Brown, conference director of Connectional Ministries, said a search process will begin immediately to fill the position of Director of Mission and Global Justice. A job description can be found on the conference Web site (Click here or go to, click on “Resources,” then “Job Opportunities.”) To apply, e-mail a cover letter and resume in a Word file or PDF format to Application reviews will begin on March 17 and will continue until the position is filled. Employment will begin July 1, 2010.

Bishop’s Convocation on Caring for Creation to include clergy workshop
This Saturday, Feb. 27, the Bishop's Convocation on Caring for God's Creation will feature a specific workshop for clergy, led by the Rev. Kathleen Haynes. Called “Leading them into Green Pastures: The Pastor’s Role in Growing a Green Church Culture,” the workshop will consider how to create a culture of caring for creation in your church, how to preach about green issues without dividing your congregation along political lines, and some simple ways to start the process of becoming a Green Church. Registration is still open for the Convocation to be held at River Road United Methodist Church, 8800 River Road, Richmond. 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. Click here for more details, promotional flyer and registration options.

Virginia Conference collection of health kits for Haiti relief reaches 40,000
Bob Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, reported that the Virginia Conference has collected an estimated 40,000 health kits for Haiti relief and more are being assembled. The first tractor trailer load of kits has been delivered to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Sager Brown depot in Baldwin, La., and the second load will head that way in several days thanks to the efforts of Bob Forrest and Swift Air trucking company. In addition to the health kits, a total of $36,927 was collected and sent to Sager Brown to defray the cost of completing kits and final shipment.

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 (six sessions), and for teachers of children (three activities). All the documents, including the new downloadable study guides, are available on 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. You can place orders for these printed documents at (search “God’s Renewed Creation: Call…”). Resources that coordinate with each session of the guide will be posted at 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 Virginia Conference 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.

Jim Gulley to speak at Annual Conference Mission breakfast
The Rev. Jim Gulley, a United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) consultant who was trapped with Sam Dixon, Clint Rabb and three other colleagues in the rubble of the Hotel Montana after the Haiti earthquake, will be featured speaker at the Annual Conference Mission Breakfast scheduled for Monday, June 14. More information about the 2010 Annual Conference, to be held in Norfolk June 13 – 16, is now available on the conference Web site at Theme for this year’s Annual Conference session is “Leading by Following Jesus. Disciples: Nurtured and Transformed.”

Annual Conference attendees will pack Stop Hunger Now meals
Members of the upcoming Annual Conference will be invited to participate in preparation of 100,000 meals through Stop Hunger Now. Meal preparation will take place in the exhibit hall on Monday, June 14, and Tuesday, June 15. Stop Hunger Now meals are filled with dried vegetables, chicken broth tablet, soy, rice, and 21 nutrients. Each packaged and sealed meal, able to feed six people, is shipped to those in need around the globe. Cost of the meals will be $25,000. Churches and individuals wishing to assist with the cost of preparing the meals are invited to contact Marc Brown, Director of Connectional Ministries, at

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. 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 1-888-346-3862 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

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. Congregations are invited to select inserts to include in bulletins or newsletters to celebrate women throughout the month. 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 by following the links to the Women’s History Month resources. Click here for more worship resources for Women’s History Month available from the General Board of Discipleship.

UMVIM Team Leader training is March 13 on Eastern Shore
Virginia Conference United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader training will be held Saturday, March 13, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Market St. United Methodist Church, 75 Market St., Onancock. Check-in begins at 8:45 a.m. Team Leader Training is required for all first-time team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. All participants must pre-register by noon, Monday, March 8. Registration fee is $10, payable at the door. Lunch will be provided. Click here to register. All team leaders must have a Team Leader Handbook to attend this event. 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 or (804) 739-4535, ext. 33.

United Methodist Men get ready for March 27 “Spring Training”
Weightlifter and speaker Jon Pritikin and the Rev. Jim Lavender, pastor of Discovery UMC in Richmond, will highlight Virginia Conference United Methodist Men’s “Spring Training” event on Saturday, March 27, at Discovery UMC, 13000 Gayton Rd., Richmond. Participants are being encouraged to bring their children and/or grandchildren who are in third grade or older. Theme for the event is “Feel the Power.” For more information, e-mail Larry Burian at

You can still register for middle school confirmation retreat
Registrations will be accepted until March 1 for "Following Jesus" middle school confirmation retreat to be held March 12-14 at Westview on the James in Goochland. Confirmands and their leaders are invited to attend this retreat based on "Claim the Name's" retreat curriculum. Students will explore the humanity, death and the resurrection of Jesus in order to better understand their faith and how to live a life in Jesus' footsteps. Steve Kropp will be worship leader and will work closely with the Rev. Chris Donald, keynote speaker, to bring the confirmands a dynamic, interactive worship experience. Cost is $88 per person. For more information, go to

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 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 join other faith groups in calling for health care reform
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, joined with thousands of other people of faith to send a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress urging them to "complete the task at hand on behalf of the millions who are left out and left behind in our current health care system." The groups also ran a full-page print ad in The Hill. The letter and ad (view here) also were endorsed by local churches and the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days will be March 19-22 in Washington, D.C.
The eighth annual gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days will be held March 19-22 at the Doubletree Hotel in Crystal City, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. Theme of the event is “A Place to Call Home: Immigrants, Refugees, and Displaced Peoples,” based on the concept that just as Jesus had nowhere to lay his head, neither do tens of millions of migrants, refugees and displaced persons. Participants will worship, study and dialogue with hundreds of people of faith and then go together to Capitol Hill to advocate for members of Congress to enact humane, equitable immigration reform. United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño, episcopal leader of the Desert Southwest Conference, will be one of the keynote speakers. Click here for more information.

People of faith to rally for immigration reform March 21 in D.C.
As part of Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a massive rally, “March for America,” is planned for Sunday, March 21, at 2 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. “The rally is intended to make a powerful statement to Congress of faith support for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Bill Mefford, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society director of Civil and Human Rights. “The hope of the rally is to have from 50,000-100,000 people, so this is a chance to be historic.” Groups from churches, denominations and regional councils of churches are encouraged to charter buses to bring large groups to this faith-in-action event. Click here for more information on “March for America.”

United Methodists invited to Change the World April 24-25
On April 24-25, your congregation is invited to participate in “Change the World,” an event which encourages 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 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 new book, Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus, is available as a free Kindle download now through Feb. 23 on Get your copy today and help take the church into the world. For chapter excerpts and videos, visit For more information, go to, or send an e-mail to

United Methodists asked to take survey on socially responsible investing
United Methodists are invited to participate in an online survey for a task force that is helping the denomination develop a common standard on socially responsible investing. Established by the 2008 General Conference, the task force wants to consider “the opinions of as many UMC investors as possible,” said Byrd Bonner of the United Methodist Church Foundation, who convened the group. Deadline to fill out the brief survey is March 10. It is being handled through a secure server at Click here to access the survey. The task force will report its progress to the 2012 General Conference.

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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