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News from the Virginia Conference – March 4, 2010

UMCOR responds quickly to earthquake in Chile
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has sent a $10,000 initial emergency grant to its relief partners in Chile to help them respond to the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the South American country Feb. 27, killing more than 800 people and destroying or damaging a half million homes. The grant will help the Methodist Church of Chile (IMECH) and its relief arm, the Methodist Humanitarian Action Team (EMAH), conduct needs assessments and bring food and clean water to survivors. Bishop Joel Martínez, interim general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, called on United Methodists “to join in the response to the Chile Emergency Advance to strengthen UMCOR’s ability to be fully present with resources.” Financial support can be made to “Chile Emergency,” Advance #3021178. More …

Virginia Conference seeks Director of Mission and Global Justice
The office of Connectional Ministries of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is seeking a creative leader for the ministry position of Director of Mission and Global Justice. The Director of Mission and Global Justice works under the supervision of the Director of Connectional Ministries, with the Presiding Bishop, conference staff, conference program boards and agencies, Common Table, and laity and clergy of the Virginia Conference. The person filling this position will work as a team member with other Connectional Ministries Directors with ministry oversight of mission and justice. Applications, including cover letter and resume in Word file or PDF, must be sent to Application review will begin March 17 and will continue until position is filled. Employment will begin July 1. Click here for job description.

Virginia Conference 2009 Journal now on conference Web site
The 2009 Journal of the Virginia Annual Conference is now available as a pdf file on the conference Web site. Click here to view it or go to and scroll down to “Journals.” Copies of The Journal on CD are now being duplicated and will be mailed as soon as possible to active and retired clergy and to others who requested them. A printed copy of the Journal is expected to be sent to each local church in the Virginia Conference by the end of the month. For more information, contact the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

Spring issue of ‘Neighbors’ direct-mail newsletter now available
The 2010 Spring/Easter issue of the Neighbors newsletter focuses on "the promise of spring, the promise of Jesus" by Paula C. Squires, managing editor of Virginia Business magazine and member of Bon Air United Methodist Church, Richmond. Neighbors is a free, customizable direct-mail piece produced by Virginia United Methodist Communications. It is designed for Virginia Conference churches to use as part of their outreach ministries. Your church can download the pdf file of the newsletter, insert your church’s contact information, print the number of copies needed and mail it to your neighbors. Direct mail is an inexpensive way to get your church's message to a targeted audience. Through consistent mailings, awareness of your church will increase in the community. To download Neighbors, visit or go directly to to download the pdf file. Click here for simple instructions on how to download, print and mail the newsletter.

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.

Sunday, March 14, is One Great Hour of Sharing
Sunday, March 14, (or any other Sunday in March) 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 emergencies like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, 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

Message about One Great Hour of Sharing from Bishop Martinez:
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8 (NIV)
     For 70 years, the United Methodist Church has responded to the Micah challenge through United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). With the recent major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile combined with the losses of Sam Dixon and Clint Rabb, the General Board of Global Ministries, and specifically, UMCOR have weathered quite the storm this year. I am thankful to you for your outpouring of prayers and gifts while encouraging the church to respond in a powerful way to the needs of those most affected throughout the world.
     The gifts to UMCOR supporting Haiti relief efforts is expected to be more than $25 million. 100% of the donations made to the UMCOR Haiti Emergency will benefit Gods most vulnerable children in Haiti. The same will be true of gifts for the Chile Earthquake response. As you know, UMCOR is able to make this promise because administrative expenses are covered through One Great Hour of Sharing.
     Because UMCOR does not receive World Service funds or any other apportionments, the costs of doing business are underwritten by One Great Hour of Sharing. I encourage you to please highlight March 14 with your Annual Conference as a day to lay the foundation for UMCOR to seek justice and mercy for suffering people everywhere.
     Thanks be to God for the people of The United Methodist Church who continue to answer the call to be the hands, the heart and the hope of the church wherever people are suffering.
Grace and peace,
Bishop Joel N. Martinez
Interim, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries

St. George’s UMC named ‘Welcoming Congregation’
St. George’s United Methodist Church in Fairfax has been recognized by United Methodist Communications as an official “Welcoming Congregation” for the second year. More …

Sunday, April 18, is Native American Ministries Sunday
Sunday, April 18, is designated as Native American Ministries Sunday in United Methodist churches. Native American Ministries Sunday recognizes and supports the contributions of Native Americans to the church and society. The observance, approved by the 1988 General Conference, is one of six special churchwide Sunday offerings. Advice on observing Native American Ministries Sunday includes: Teach Native history as a regular part of U.S. history. Don’t teach about "Indians" only at Thanksgiving; Avoid arts and crafts and activities that trivialize Native dress, dance or ceremony; Use materials that present Native heroes who fought to defend their people; Use materials that show Native women, elders and children as integral and important to Native societies; Don’t use materials that present as heroes only those Native people who aided Europeans. Click here to learn more.

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 Street 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 20 event to encourage church inclusivity
Virginia Reconciling United Methodists are sponsoring “Believe Out Loud!” on Saturday, March 20, at Wesley Memorial UMC in Charlottesville. The event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will empower participants to work for change in the Virginia Conference so that The United Methodist Church may become more fully inclusive. For more information visit RSVP by e-mail to

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

Registration extended for middle school confirmation retreat
Registration deadline has been extended to Monday, March 8, for the  "Following Jesus" Middle School Confirmation Retreat March 12-14 at Westview on the James campground. Confirmands will explore Christ's life, death and resurrection through interactive and exploratory sessions. Leaders will be the Rev. Chris Donald and music leader Steve Kropp. Cost is $88 per person. For more information, go to or contact Cat Holbert Rudys in the camp office at (804) 457-4210.

Denman Evangelism Award nominees sought
The Rev. Brian Sixbey, chair of the Division of Evangelism of the Virginia Conference Board of Discipleship, is seeking nominations for the annual Denman Awards which will be presented at Annual Conference. Virginia pastors, laity and, for the first time, youth who are doing great things in the area of evangelism are eligible for nomination. Deadline is April 10. Send nominations to Sixbey by e-mail to; by mail c/o Beech Grove UMC, 4251 Driver Lane, Suffolk, VA 23435; or fax to (757) 538-8353.

Christian Education Fellowship training event to be April 19-21
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.

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.

‘Extreme Makeover: Worship Edition’ is May 11, 12
Whether your worship needs a remodel, renovation, rehab or completely new construction, this event will give you the tools to design, develop and deliver powerful, authentic worship that is true to the risen Christ. The design team – Len Wilson and Jason Moore of Midnight Oil and the Rev. Chris Hughes of Pneumanaut Ministries – will help you clarify your blueprint for worship, overcome obstacles and explore new methods and techniques. The same program will be offered in two separate locations on two different days: Tuesday, May 11, at Calvary UMC in Stuarts Draft, and Wednesday, May 12, at Shady Grove UMC in Mechanicsville. Choose either location. Deadline to register is April 30. Click here for more information or to register for May 11. Click here for more information or to register for May 12.

Lake Junaluska to host April 8-11 ‘Caring for Creation’ event
A Caring for Creation experience for laity and clergy addressing how the faith community can promote justice for Earth and its people will be held April 8-11 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina. The event will provide biblical and theological support for developing opportunities for faith communities to be caretakers of our home Earth. It will also offer plenary sessions provided by outstanding leadership to challenge us to move forward in our efforts to care for Earth. Click here to register or for more information. Or call (828) 454-6656.

‘Helping Hands’ mission experience for children to be July 22-23
“Helping Hands,” a two-day hands-on mission experience for children, will be held July 22-23 at Woodlake UMC, Midlothian. All rising 4th- through 6th-graders, parents, and adult leaders of Virginia Conference churches are invited to learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost is $35 per person and includes a T-shirt, meals, snacks and overnight stay. Registration begins May 1. Click here for more information.

‘Rethink Church’ advertising wins Emmy, ADDY awards
The United Methodist Church’s “Rethink Church” advertising has won regional and local Emmy and ADDY awards, United Methodist Communications announced. The Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognized the “Rethink Church” campaign with an Emmy for “Best Commercial Campaign” at its 24th Annual Midsouth Emmy Awards competition. The campaign was also honored by the American Advertising Foundation of Nashville at its annual ADDY competition in February with the “Judges’ Choice for Diversity.” This category winner was chosen by judges from among 793 entries and cannot be entered directly. Local award winners go on to compete for regional and national awards in the industry's largest competition. “Rethink Church,” the next evolution of The United Methodist Church’s “Open hearts” welcoming and advertising campaign, highlights the many opportunities available within United Methodist churches to engage with the world – from literacy programs to feeding the poor. Targeting a globally minded 18- to 34-year-old audience, “Rethink Church” advertisements appear in traditional and new media, and direct viewers to the Web site where visitors may interact, learn more about the church, and search for involvement opportunities. “Rethink Church” resources are available to local congregations at

Join sleepout to end malaria on April 24
Mark your calendars for the weekend of April 24-25. The United Methodist Church’s “Imagine No Malaria” campaign, in partnership with “Rethink Church” and the United Nations Foundation, is calling churches across the country to “Sleepout to End Malaria.” On April 24, many United Methodist churches nationwide will participate in Change the World outreach that builds community locally. That night, World Malaria Day eve, churches are encouraged to host a mosquito net sleepout to show a unified commitment in the fight against malaria. In fact, the global malaria community has come together to share this call in a show of solidarity worldwide. Click here for more instructions. Or go to For more information about Change the World go to

InfoServ changes to be effective April 1
InfoServ, the official information service of The United Methodist Church, will become exclusively an e-mail and online information service effective April 1. At that time, telephone support services will be discontinued. Customers will be able to submit questions via e-mail at Answers to the most frequently asked questions are also available online at During an initial transition period, callers will be able to leave a message and callback number. Other customer-friendly options such as live chat are also being explored.

March Tuesday morning Webinars to focus on multimedia
Join United Methodist Communications each Tuesday morning in March for a Webinar mini-series on “Mastering the Multimedia Maze.” Topics include audio and video sharing, podcasting, using UMTV video clips in worship and on the Web, and photo sharing. Join the live broadcast each Tuesday at 11 a.m. (EST) and subscribe to the RSS feed for the recorded, archived version. One-time registration is required to access the free, live broadcast each Tuesday. To learn more and to register, visit

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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