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News from the Virginia Conference – July 28, 2010

Annual Conference issues call for prayer, fasting, discernment
The 2010 Annual Conference adopted a motion that calls all Virginia Conference boards, agencies, affiliated groups, districts and local churches to devote time during the 2010-2011 conference year to “seek God’s purposes and provisions for reaching those who do not have a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and/or who are not connected with a vibrant faith community.” The motion calls on Virginia Conference United Methodists to “fast, wait before the Lord, confess our sins related to sharing our faith with those not connected with any faith community, and repent of all that has kept our faith communities from being as fruitful as God desires.” The conference Board of Discipleship and Young Adult Council will take leadership in providing resources for worship, Bible study and prayer to help groups and individuals respond to the Annual Conference call. More ...

Conference Immigration Work Group begins work on education, awareness
In its first official meeting, held on July 27, the Virginia Conference Work Group on Immigration began its work on education and awareness around the issue of immigration by issuing a statement affirming the position of The United Methodist Church on comprehensive reform of the U.S. immigration system and announcing that it is developing a list of resources which will be posted on the conference Web site, www.vaumc.org, focusing on education, pastoral care and advocacy. More …

Finley writes July 25 FaithLink issue on ‘Immigration Reform’
The July 25 issue of FaithLink addressing “Immigration Reform” was written by the Rev. Jeanne Torrence Finley, director of Collegial Communications and an elder in the Virginia Conference where she serves as co-chair of the conference Board of Church and Society, and Andrew Schleicher, free-lance writer, editor and provisional deacon in Nashville. It acknowledges that people are divided over immigration reform. The issue identifies major issues involved in immigration reform and addresses how faith guides Christian thoughts and actions toward immigrants. The issue also features an interview with Bill Mefford, director of Civil & Human Rights at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society and member of Culmore United Methodist Church in Falls Church. FaithLink is a downloadable study for use by individuals or groups of mature youths and adults who want to apply their United Methodist beliefs to current faith issues and world events. This study guide not only motivates Christians to consider their personal views on important contemporary issues, it also encourages them to act on their beliefs. Click here to download it from the Cokesbury Web site. The guide can also be received via e-mail or fax subscriptions by contacting subservices@abingdonpress.com or by calling 1-800-672-1789. Price is $8 per issue.

Judicial Council to reconsider church membership decision
The United Methodist Judicial Council is being asked to revisit a decision allowing a Virginia Conference pastor to bar a gay man from joining his congregation. When the denomination’s top court meets Oct. 27-30 in New Orleans, seven of the 31 docket items revolve around membership issues, including the right of pastors to decide who is worthy of membership. More ...

More than $209,000 given to Annual Conference offering so far
As of July 28, $209,764 has been contributed toward the 2010 Annual Conference offering to fund leadership development in Brazil, Mozambique and northern Virginia. Funds are still being received by the Virginia Conference Treasurer. More ...

60 campers ‘follow yellow brick road’ during Camp Rainbow
Sixty campers and 58 volunteer staff members joined in classes and activities around the theme of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during the July 11-16 session of Camp Rainbow Connection held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Campers, who ranged in age from 17 to 70, all have some level of intellectual disability. More ...

Pat Watkins authors article for New World Outlook
An article by the Rev. Pat Watkins, titled “Why Should Christians Care About God’s Creation?,” is featured in the July/August issue of New World Outlook, the mission magazine of The United Methodist Church. Watkins is a church and community worker in the Virginia Conference who serves as executive director of the conference program “Caretakers of God’s Creation.” To view the article, click on Page 12 in Thursday, July 01, 2010 issue of New World Outlook.

Watkins says solution to Gulf oil spill is faith
It's time to stop playing the blame game in reference to the Gulf oil spill, the Rev. Pat Watkins says in a United Methodist News Service commentary. "The solution to the Gulf oil spill is not better technology or the resignation of BP's CEO. The solution is faith," Watkins writes. "Faith heals broken relationships; faith directs us to live out our relationship with God appropriately through our relationships with each other and with God's creation." More …

School of Congregational Development sessions on Web July 29-Aug. 2
This year’s School of Congregational Development (SCD) to be held in Nashville, Tenn., July 29 – Aug. 2, is offering you a way to participate by watching plenary and worship sessions on the Web. Go to http://gbgm-umc.org/scd10 to see the webcasts. This year’s sessions include: Thursday, July 29: 5 p.m. (EST), Bishop Dick Wills: Forming Deliberate Disciples; Friday, July 30: 9:30 a.m., the Rev. Sharma Leis: Developing Contagious Faith Communities; Friday, July 30: 8:45 p.m., the Rev. Sam Park: Called to Grow and Go!; Saturday, July 31: 9:30 a.m., Dr. David Owens: Creating a Climate for Change; Monday, Aug. 2: 10:30 a.m., the Rev. Rudy Rasmus: Engaging in Our Mission; Monday, Aug. 2: 5 p.m., the Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank: Moving Beyond the Church Walls; Sunday, Aug. 1, 8-10 p.m., UMCOR Benefit for Haiti and Nashville with Tony Campolo and music by Richie McDonald and The Gordon Memorial UMC Choir. SCD is sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship, Path1 and the General Board of Global Ministries.

Program Grant applications due Aug. 1
Applications for Special Program Grants and Sustaining Grants for 2011 are due in the office of Connectional Ministries by Aug. 1. Special Program Grants are designed for programs outside of normal conference and local church funding processes. They are intended to provide funding for the first three years of innovative programs of tangible and caring outreach that is beyond a local church’s current financial resources. Sustaining Grants are designed for programs outside of normal conference and local church funding processes. They are intended to provide funding for the sustaining of innovative programs of tangible and caring outreach that is beyond a local church’s current financial resources. Grants are for churches of all ethnic groups and should help the church requesting the funding to relate to the ethnic groups within its community. For more information on these grants and access to applications, go to www.vaumc.org/specialprogramgrants.

Lay nominee form for 2012 General/Jurisdictional Conference now on Web
The Lay Nominee Form (Word file) to be completed by laity who wish to put their names forward for election as delegates to the 2012 General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences has been posted on the Virginia Conference Web site. Click here for rules regarding the election process and a copy of the form; or go to the conference home page (www.vaumc.org), then click on the link in the blue right-hand column, about halfway down the page. The form must be submitted to the appropriate district office. For more information, contact your district office.

Online form to help connect college students with faith communities
Virginia Conference United Methodist campus ministries (Wesley Foundations, ecumenical partnerships and United Methodist schools) rely on your help in identifying United Methodist students so the students can be contacted and welcomed on campuses across the conference. A new online form replaces the previous method of mailing in paper forms. Completion of the form is quick, easy and should help campus ministries contact students more quickly throughout the summer and academic year. Anyone can fill out the form — pastor, youth director, parent, friend, or student — so consider including this link in your bulletins and newsletters: https://www.vaumc.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=1117. Click here to take a moment to help identify students that campus ministers and chaplains should get to know.

Camp Overlook hosts ‘Stretch Out Your Hand’ retreat Aug. 13-15
Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries will host a "Stretch Out Your Hand" retreat focused on spiritual journey in prayer Aug. 13-15 at Blessings Lodge. The event will include presentations on how to listen to God to discern prayer, small group sharing time, creative worship experiences, and quiet space for deeper reflection. A $120 registration fee includes lodging, four meals and program costs. Register online at www.campoverlook.org.

Disaster response training to be offered Aug. 26-28 at VUMAC
The Virginia Conference Disaster Response Academy will be Aug. 26-28 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. All conference and district Disaster Response Team members should be present. Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) members, emergency management staff and anyone interested in disaster response ministries are also encouraged to attend. Subject experts from United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will conduct training on Early Response Team (including Train the Trainer and Basic training), Spiritual and Emotional Care, Connecting Neighbors and Organizing the Local Church for Disaster Response Ministries. Registration deadline is Aug. 23. For more information, click here or contact Bob Pihlcrantz at vacdrt@cox.net or 1-866-264-8488.

Middle School Mission Weekends introduce students to mission
Middle School Mission Weekends — Aug. 27-29 and Oct. 15-17 at Westview on the James in Goochland — are an opportunity to introduce middle school students (6th- to 8th-graders) to mission and help them understand what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ. Throughout the weekend, middle school youths will put their faith into action as they serve the people of the local community through small home repairs and lawn care for families that do not have the financial and/or physical means to do such maintenance or repairs themselves. Click here for more information or to register.

Kid’s Work Camp set for Sept. 24-26 at Westview on the James
Westview on the James, United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center in Goochland, will offer a weekend of outreach opportunities for 3rd- to 6th-graders at Kid's Work Camp Sept. 24-26. Students and their leaders will travel into the community for mission projects such as demolition work, raking leaves, hauling wood, turning over gardens, pulling weeds, etc. Worship and Bible Study will be led by United Methodist children's leaders. Weather permitting, students will have fun on Westview Lake and will have a chance to connect with other students from the Virginia Conference. Cost for the weekend is $75 per person. For more information, call the camp office at (804) 457-4210 or go to www.westviewonthejames.org.

Red Bird Mission School to reopen this fall
After almost shutting its doors, the Red Bird Mission School will once again welcome students in the remote mountains of southeastern Kentucky. In May, the Red Bird Mission Board had voted to suspend classes during the 2010-2011 academic year to build up the school's cash reserves after years of dwindling donations. But after receiving more than $100,000 in gifts and making substantial budget cuts, the board voted on July 22 to open the United Methodist school to 150 kindergartners through 12th-graders this coming school year. More …

GBOD has online back-to-school resources for children
The United Methodist Board of Discipleship has back-to-school resources for congregations and families to help children know that God has their backs when they return to class. These resources include a back-to-school blessing and tips for helping families less fortunate get the school supplies they need. Click here for available resources.

Jurisdiction clergywomen consultation moved to Atlanta
The location for the Southeastern Jurisdiction Clergywomen Consultation to be held April 4-7, 2011, has been changed to Atlanta, Ga. For more information, call Libba Stinson at (334) 887-7003 or e-mail libbastinson@yahoo.com.

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference to be Sept. 18-21
The third annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, Sept. 18-21, will offer a variety of workshops and presentations that explore social issues facing children. Leaders at the conference, “Peace for the World’s Children,” include Marian Wright Edelman, Dr. Jeni Stepanek and United Methodist Bishop Kenneth Carder. Participants will have the opportunity to join with children’s advocates from across the United States. For more information and to take advantage of the extended early registration by July 31, call (828) 454-6656 or visit www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.

Lake Junaluska Multicultural Conference to be held Dec. 2-4
Lake Junaluska’s second Multicultural Conference will be Dec. 2-4. Theme is “Embracing Christ’s Multi-Ethnic Body: Breaking Down Barriers and Building Bridges.” Early registration ends Oct. 16. One CEU credit available. Leaders include the Rev. Eric Law of Kaleidoscope Institute (via Skype); Bishop Gregory Palmer of the Illinois Area; Bishop Will Willimon of the North Alabama Conference; Kristina Gonzales, associate director of Connectional Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference; Dr. Anne Marshall, community activist who speaks on indigenous issues, racism, and human rights violations around the world; Dr. Tim Tyson, award-winning author of Blood Done Sign My Name and senior scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; the Rev. Dr. Mary John Dye, who began her ministry as the first cross-racial appointment in the Mississippi Conference; and Bishop William Morris (retired), who provides leadership for the Design Team of the Multicultural Conference. Call (828) 454-6656 or visit www.lakejunaluska.com/multicultural to register or for more information.

Aug. 10 is deadline to apply for Ethnic Local Church Grants
Aug. 10 is the deadline to apply for an Ethnic Local Church Grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). The grants are to strengthen ethnic minority local churches through education, advocacy or leadership development as they engage in social justice. Grant recipients must be programs initiated by or developed in partnership with one or more United Methodist ethnic minority local churches to address chronic social problems or concerns. Two funding periods are available for consideration: Aug. 10 is the deadline for the October cycle and Jan. 10 is the deadline for the March cycle. More …

Socially Responsible Investing Summit to be Oct. 18-19 in Kansas City
“Socially Responsible Investing Summit” will be Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 18-19, on the campus of St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo. The summit will enable an exchange of ideas about The United Methodist Church’s evolving understanding of socially responsible investing policy and practices. Registration fee of $50 will cover all materials, plenary and breakout sessions, speakers and evening meal on Oct. 18. Registration is limited to 100. Deadline to register is July 31. Click here for more information. Click here to register online.


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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