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News from the Virginia Conference – April 22, 2010

Resources available to help churches celebrate Earth Day Sunday April 25
April 25 is Festival of God’s Creation (Earth Day Sunday). This year’s theme is “Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life.” The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society has worked with the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Working Group to produce Festival of God's Creation resource materials. Click here for information about these resources that can help congregations celebrate and promote stewardship of God's creation.

Board of Global Ministries extends deadline to nominate Mission Mentors
The Virginia Conference Board of Global Ministries is accepting nominations for 100 Mission Mentors to be trained in United Methodist theology of mission. The board seeks both laity and clergy, diverse in age, gender, ethnicity and background, who will mentor congregations to increase involvement in mission locally, nationally and internationally. These 100 Mission Mentors will embody characteristics including, but not limited to: a sense of call to God's mission; passionate about God's mission; involved in mission locally, nationally, and/or internationally; involved in United Methodist mission projects; gifted communicator and/or comfortable speaking in front of groups; thoughtful, active listener; grounded in spiritual disciplines; vision of mission beyond one's own local congregation; supportive of involving in mission those who are not part of a faith community; able to see the "big picture" of God's mission, i.e., not just concerned about one pet project; willing to participate in an ongoing mentoring relationship with one or more congregations; and willing to serve according to the guidelines and training of the Conference Board of Global Ministries. Mission Mentor training will be held in Spring 2011 at various locations throughout the conference. Nominees will be notified of exact dates and locations this fall. Training will be offered at no cost to participants. The Board of Global Ministries expects that Mission Mentors will have an ongoing relationship with at least four churches in the first year. This would involve at least one site visit per church and availability for further mentoring by telephone or e-mail. Submit nominations for Mission Mentors to Courtney Joyner at or (434) 591-0005 by April 30. Along with the name of the nominee(s), please include their e-mail address, phone number and district.

General Board of Church & Society seeks intern
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has an opening for an Immigration and Criminal Justice Reform intern. This is a paid position for a 10-month period starting in early August and ending May 31, 2011. The internship is in the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. GBCS is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. GBCS’s primary responsibility is to advocate for implementing the United Methodist Social Principles, stances taken on social, political, economic and environmental issues by the denomination’s highest policy-making body, General Conference. Among other duties, the intern will help develop educational resources in the areas of immigration and criminal justice to aid in mobilizing United Methodists for advocacy; maintain contact with United Methodist activists; be involved in recruiting activists in annual conferences doing work with people directly affected by the immigration and/or criminal justice systems; work closely with grassroots efforts in other faith groups and non-faith groups and provide overall coordination. Qualified applicants will have had experience working within immigrant communities and be fluent in Spanish. Applicants should have theological and/or missiological training and be able to write clear and publishable educational resources and Bible studies. Applicants should be familiar with The United Methodist Church, the U.S. political process, and a general knowledge of immigration and criminal justice issues. May 31 is deadline for applications. To apply, send a resume with three recommendations, cover letter and writing sample via e-mail to Bill Mefford at A complete job description is available at Immigration & Criminal Justice Reform Grassroots Intern or go to the GBCS Web site,, and click on Job Openings at the bottom of the home page.

United Methodist Church recognizes older adults in May
The United Methodist Church took action at the 2008 General Conference to establish May as the time to recognize the contributions of older adults and to join with them in providing ministries that support and empower older adults. More ...

May 2 is Older Adult Recognition Sunday
The Virginia Conference designates Sunday, May 2, as Older Adult Recognition Sunday. Materials have now been posted on the conference Web site for 2010 Older Adult Recognition Sunday. This year’s theme, “Seasoned Adults Flavor the Young: Intergenerational Ministries,” follows the 2009 theme of “Seasoned Adults Spice Up the Church.” Lectionary readings for Older Adult Recognition Sunday include Psalm 148 and John 13:31-35. Since a portion of Psalm 148 reads “…young men and women alike, old and young together…,” the theme of intergenerational ministries was chosen. Click here to access materials. Or go to, select “Ministries,” then “Age-Related Ministries,” “Older Adults,” and “Older Adults Recognition Sunday.” Scroll to the bottom of the page for the link to the “2010 worship service.”

Staff needed for Camp Rainbow Connection 2010
Volunteer staff members are needed for Camp Rainbow Connection, a weeklong respite camp for individuals with intellectual disabilities, which will be held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone July 11-16 and Aug. 8-13. Staff members must be at least 16 years of age, agree to a criminal background check, attend the May 15 training session, and commit to attending the full week of camp. Click here for applications; or go to the Conference Web site,, select “Ministries,” followed by “Disabilities,” then “Camp Rainbow Connection.” For more information, contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity at 1-800-768-6040 or 804-521-1100, ext. 153, or e-mail

Spanish-language ministry resources available
El Cristiano como Ministro, the Spanish-language edition of The Christian as Minister, completes the list of 12 Spanish-language resources published by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry for people exploring ordained or licensed ministry in The United Methodist Church. Fliers and brochures about ordained ministry are also available for downloading at A subtitled DVD with first-person accounts by elders, deacons, chaplains and pastoral counselors about what it means to be called to ordained ministry is also available at the Web site. Other Spanish-language resources can be ordered from Cokesbury at 1-800-672-1789.

Society of St. Andrew VBS mission project teaches kids about hunger
“Out Of This World (OOTW),” the Society of St. Andrew’s 2010 Vacation Bible School (VBS) Mission Project, is designed to supplement a church’s VBS program and is easily adaptable to any themed VBS curriculum. This mission project helps students learn about hunger in the United States and how Jesus wants us to feed our hungry brothers and sisters. Daily activity sheets for all ages contain short scripturally based stories, facts about hunger and the Society of St. Andrew’s hunger-relief ministry, potato trivia, “Go Green” facts, pencil activities, an “OOTW” word of the day and an “OOTW” mission activity. Along with fun and education, the goal for each VBS is to raise enough through student offerings to provide 1,000 pounds of fresh produce through the Society of St. Andrew for the plates of hungry Americans. At a nickel a pound, that’s a goal of just $50. All materials are free and available now from the Society of St. Andrew. Order online at; call 1-800-333-4597; or e-mail More information about Society of St. Andrew is available at

Ted Campbell to present ‘Wesleyan Perspective on Sacraments’
The Society for Wesleyan Studies will sponsor “A Wesleyan Perspective on the Sacraments,” presented by Dr. Ted A. Campbell, Associate Professor of Church History at Perkins School of Theology and one of the world's premier Wesleyan scholars, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, April 26, at Duncan Memorial UMC, Ashland. Cost is $40, which includes lunch. The Board of Ordained Ministry has approved .5 CEU for this event. Both laity and clergy are invited. For more information, contact the Rev. Carl Ulrich at or (804) 592-5962. Click here for more information.

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 UMC, 212 19th St., Virginia Beach. This conference offers 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 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 UMC; Virginia Conference Commission on Disabilities; Virginia Beach Department of Human Services; and Virginia Wesleyan College.

May 8 will be United Methodist Day at Kings Dominion
Saturday, May 8, will be Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church Family Fun Day at Kings Dominion amusement park, with discounted tickets to the park available for United Methodists. A special picnic will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Group Catering Pavilion. To purchase tickets online, go to, click on “Tickets,” then “Corporate Partners,” and enter company code UMC4. The special discount tickets ($27.50 for ages 3-61 and 48" tall or taller; $24.50 for ages 3-61 and under 48" tall or ages 62+) will be valid Saturdays May 1, 8, 15, 22, and Memorial Day Weekend May 29, 30, 31. Children ages 2 and under admitted free.

Now’s the time to register for ‘Extreme Makeover: Worship Edition’
The Continuing Education Committee of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry has approved .5 CEU for those who attend Extreme Makeover: Worship Edition in May. Now is the time to register for this learning opportunity around innovative worship sponsored by the Virginia Conference Board of Communications and the Worship Division of the Board of Discipleship. The Rev. Chris Hughes – innovator, author, speaker, worship leader and professor of Worship at Pfeiffer College – and the Midnight Oil Productions guys, Len Wilson and Jason Moore, will help identify ways to enhance worship to attract those not currently involved in worship and provide more transformative experiences for those presently attending worship. Choose one of two locations: Tuesday, May 11, at Calvary UMC in Stuarts Draft or Wednesday, May 12, at Shady Grove UMC in Mechanicsville. This event is designed for pastors, worship leaders and worship design teams. Registration of $25 per person includes lunch. Registration deadline is April 30. Click here to register for May 11. Click here to register for May 12. Or go to, click on “Event Calendar,” then the date you wish to attend. You can register online, paying by credit card, or print a registration form to send by mail with a check.

‘Build Now or Later?’ panel discussion set for May 13 live or as webinar
“Build Now or Later? Navigating the Current Economic Culture” will be held 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13, at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. A panel of church building experts will answer your questions including: Can we save money by building now? Are banks lending to churches? What is the risk of rising interest rates and construction costs if we wait? Are there cost-saving design alternatives available? Deadline to register is May 7. You may attend in person or by webinar. Please indicate when you register online by clicking here. Click here to download an informational pdf flier. No charge for members of churches of the Virginia Conference; $10 for non-members. For more information, contact Pat Hickman at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 155 or (804) 521-1155.

May 15 workshop to help churches interested in Hispanic ministry
Sam Rodriguez, director of Hispanic/Latino New Church Starts at the General Board of Discipleship, will lead a workshop, “Pentecost Journey: Moving Beyond Our Culture,” 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at Floris UMC, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon. This workshop is designed to help congregations fulfill Christ’s mandate to make disciples by helping local churches understand issues related to developing ministry with Hispanics/Latinos. Cost is $20, which includes lunch and workbook. Registration deadline is May 10. For more information go to and click on the “Pentecost Journey” logo on the home page. Questions about registration should be directed to Sharon Sheldon at (703) 820-7200 or Questions about the program should be directed to the Rev. Martha Real at (703) 793-0026 or

School for Children’s Ministry to be May 21-22 at VUMAC
School for Children’s Ministry will be May 21-22 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Friday evening guest speakers will be Bradford Hulcher from the Autism Society of Central Virginia, speaking on “Including Children with Disabilities in the Church Community,” and the Rev. Ellen Heatwole, pastor at Forest Grove UMC in the Ashland District, speaking on “Experimental Worship.” Six different workshops will be offered: Children in Mission, Got Volunteers?, Sponsored by the Children’s Ministry Team, “Show me” a Children’s Message, How to Build an Effective Nursery Ministry and Children’s Ministry 101. Registration deadline is May 14. Click here for more information and to register.

PAUMCS Spring Retreat to be May 23-24 in Orkney Springs
“Living Abundantly in Times of Scarcity” will be the theme for the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) Spring Retreat May 23-24 at the Shrine Mont Retreat Center in Orkney Springs. Leader will be the Rev. Rhonda Van Dyke Colby. PAUMCS invites all church administrative staff, full-time, part-time, paid and volunteer, including, but not limited to, administrative assistants, financial secretaries, office managers and newsletter editors. Deadline to register is May 10. Click here to download a brochure.

Children offered two chances to experience ‘Helping Hands’ mission
“Helping Hands,” a two-day hands-on mission experience for children, will be held July 8-9 at Main Street UMC in Waynesboro and again July 22-23 at Woodlake UMC, Midlothian. All rising fourth- through sixth-graders, parents and adult leaders of Virginia Conference churches are invited to participate in one of these events and 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 about July 8-9. Click here for more information about July 22-23.

United Methodist Church to launch ‘Imagine No Malaria’ campaign April 25
On World Malaria Day, Sunday, April 25, The United Methodist Church will officially launch Imagine No Malaria, a campaign to raise $75 million to improve health infrastructure and eliminate death and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015. To mark the celebration, a free concert event will take place in Austin, Texas, on the south steps of the State Capitol from 2-5 p.m. (CDT). Christian rock band Jars of Clay will headline the festivities. The event will also feature local music, family activities and food from local restaurants. Austin is located in the Southwest Texas Conference which served as the pilot project for Imagine No Malaria prior to the formal program launch.  Although most of the initial support was driven by United Methodist churches, the entire community is invited to the launch event. For those not able to attend in person, the entire celebration will be broadcast live via streaming video on the Imagine No Malaria Web site at

UMCOR responds to China earthquake
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with partners in China to get information following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck western Qinghai Province on the morning of April 14. Estimates put the number of dead at more than 2,000, with 195 still missing, and 12,135 injured. UMCOR partner The Amity Foundation dispatched a delegation to Qinghai Province within 24 hours of the disaster to carry out a needs assessment and to deliver instant noodles, water, blankets and tents to survivors. It took the Amity team 17 hours to reach remote Gyegu Township, seat of Yushu County and epicenter of the quake. They traveled through mountains, freezing temperatures — about 1 degree Fahrenheit — and taxing altitude. Amity Assistant General Secretary He Wen reported that about 1,000 families had taken refuge in a local horse racing stadium and that many of these survivors still lacked tents, leaving them exposed to the cold and wind. Food remains in short supply. Donations to help earthquake survivors can be made to International Disaster Response, China Earthquake, UMCOR Advance #982450.

UMCOR approves $10.4 million to help Haiti rebuild
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) board of directors approved $10.4 million for the organization's Help Haiti Rebuild program and $565,000 to support United Methodist Volunteers In Mission's coordination of U.S. volunteers there. Read more about how your gifts are making a difference for the people of Haiti. Gifts to support UMCOR's Haiti relief and recovery work can be made online by visiting One hundred percent of gifts made to this advance will help the people of Haiti. More …

United Methodists will draw new map this summer
United Methodists will draw a new map of U.S. structures following May and June sessions of annual conferences. More …

Renfro Trust Fund offers grants to rural churches
The Renfro Trust Fund offers rural churches in the Southeastern Jurisdiction the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $5,000. The Trust Fund provides grants to be used for establishing and supporting United Methodist churches in rural areas within the jurisdiction. Guidelines and application are available at Applications to be considered for 2010 grants must be completed with all required signatures and received by Lake Junaluska Office of Development and the Foundation no later than Sept. 1. For more information, call Raúl Alegria at (828) 454-6712.

United Methodists, other faith groups urge closing of ‘gun show loophole’
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society is among faith groups that have endorsed a letter to members of Congress urging closing of the so-called “gun show loophole.” The faith-based organizations strongly urge closing the loophole through passage of two bills introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. (S.843), and Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del. (H.R.2324). Federal law currently permits private sellers, who often congregate at gun shows, to sell guns without background checks or recordkeeping. More …

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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