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News from the Virginia Conference – Aug. 11, 2010

Fall issue of Neighbors newsletter now available on conference Web site
The fall issue of Neighbors is now available on the conference Web site. This issue of the direct-mail piece is on “Transitions,” as fall is a time of change in nature and change in most of our lives, especially if our families include those who are students or teachers. The essay is written by Betty and Franklin Gillis, members of Bon Air UMC, Richmond District. Neighbors is a free, customizable direct-mail piece, produced by the conference Communications office, designed to complement a church’s outreach ministry. This latest issue is available online at Direct mail is an inexpensive way to get your church’s message to a targeted audience. The Neighbors page provides simple instructions on how to download, print and mail the newsletter.

Worship service available online for A Great Day of Singing
For many years it was traditional for Methodist congregations to have an all-singing service in the summer, usually coupled with a picnic afterward. Dean McIntyre, director of music resources for the General Board of Discipleship, has provided a musical service of worship celebrating the contributions of Methodist and Wesleyan hymn writers, highly adaptable for your own circumstances, at No choir is needed. The service can also be adapted for use near Labor Day or when the choir returns after its summer break.

Sept. 5 is ICM Labor Day Offering Sunday
On Sunday, Sept. 5, Industrial and Commercial Ministries (ICM) Labor Day Offerings will be received in United Methodist churches throughout the Virginia Conference. ICM is a mission of local churches, with volunteer ICM chaplains connecting each week to thousands of men and women, churched and unchurched, sharing God's love at their assigned place of business and providing a supportive presence and effective referral. If you have an ICM chaplain in your local church, he or she can be identified on ICM Labor Day Sunday because all ICM chaplains will be wearing red jackets. Funds given to the ICM offering will be used by ICM to continue training new ICM Chaplains, provide help to existing local ICM Chapters and expand into new areas. For brochures or offering envelopes, call 1-800-659-1928 or e-mail Visit for more information.

United Methodist congregations to participate in ‘Back to Church Sunday’
United Methodist congregations are among more than 1,500 churches across the U.S. that have committed to participate in "Back to Church Sunday" on Sept. 12. Churches agree to send out invitations and hold special services to welcome back people who once attended church, but have not recently. Outreach Inc., a California-based church marketing company that supports the initiative, found last year's participating churches increased their weekend attendance on average by 19%. Resources for planning "Back to Church Sunday" are available at

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month
The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is encouraging local churches to observe National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September by hosting a special worship service or other educational event to highlight the realities of addiction, the benefits of treatment and the possibility of recovery. More information, including a planning toolkit, is available at or by calling 1-800-662-HELP. Visit to obtain worship resources and join the GBCS Addictions Network to be informed about other events and actions pertaining to addiction and recovery issues through The United Methodist Church.

September is National Hunger Action Month
September is “National Hunger Action Month.” Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) is offering free, ready-to-use resources to motivate church congregations to step out in faith to follow Jesus’ commands concerning the poor and hungry. These resources can be used in September or anytime during the year to raise hunger awareness and to call your congregation to action. Resources include: scripture readings related to hunger, poverty and justice; five sample sermons; prayers; prayer calendar; litany; dramatic reading; bulletin insert; “feed my sheep” art; U.S. and world hunger fact sheets; and steps to fight hunger. All of these resources are available for free download at or by contacting the Rev. Jennifer Vestal Moore at SoSA at 1-800-333-4597 or

United College Ministries seeks nominations for 17th annual Emmett W. Cocke scholarship and social justice award
United College Ministries in Northern Virginia is seeking nominations for two separate awards honoring the late Emmett W. Cocke Jr., a Virginia United Methodist minister who was a denominational and ecumenical leader in both social justice and campus ministry. A $900 scholarship will be awarded to a student at either Northern Virginia Community College or George Mason University. The award is based primarily on financial need and promise of service to social justice. To nominate a student, write a statement of no more than one page stating why she or he should receive the award. A plaque of recognition for the Emmett W. Cocke Social Justice Award will go to an individual or organization whose life and work reflect extraordinary commitment to social justice. To nominate a person or organization, write a statement of no more than one page stating why this person or group should receive the award. Previously nominated persons or groups may be considered. All nominations should be sent to United College Ministries, 8410 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003. Deadline for nominations is Sept. 30. Applications for both awards can be downloaded from Both awards will be presented at a fundraising brunch 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, Annandale.

World Communion Sunday is Oct. 3
Bishop Joel Martinez experienced the call to ministry as a teenager. With the help of the Crusade Scholars program, he followed that call at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. “The Crusade Scholars program made possible my seminary education,” Martinez said. “This program is vital to our church’s future.” The 2008 General Conference passed legislation to change the name of the Crusade Scholarship to World Communion Scholarship. The World Communion Scholarship, which provides scholarships for U.S. racial- and ethnic-minority students and international students on both undergraduate and graduate levels, is funded through the special offering on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October Click here for more information.

‘10-Fold’ to gain support for Advance projects beginning Oct. 10
10-Fold is about mobilizing passionate people to stand up and be counted for the causes they believe in. The event launches on Oct. 10 (10-10-10) and lasts for 10 days. Every day will focus on a different project supported through The Advance, the designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The goal is to gain the support of 10,000 people for each of the 10 projects. All one has to do is register with one of these Advance projects. During the event, $1 will be donated for every person that signs up as an advocate for a 10-Fold project, up to $10,000 per project. It can create an effect that is 10-Fold in good works. For more information visit

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. CEUs are available. For more information, click here or contact Bob Pihlcrantz at 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 campground 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.

Eric Geiger to speak at 5 Talent Academy teaching event Sept. 23
Eric Geiger, executive pastor of Christ Fellowship in Miami, Fla., and co-author of the best-selling book Simple Church, will be featured speaker at the 5 Talent Academy teaching event on Faith Development 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at Williamsburg Community Chapel, Williamsburg. More …

Kid’s Work Camp set for Sept. 24-26 at Westview on the James
Westview on the James, United Methodist camp 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

Credit Union to offer tax seminar for clergy Oct. 6
The Virginia United Methodist Credit Union will offer a Tax Seminar For Clergy, Wednesday, Oct. 6, from 1-3 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Mary Stroh will be featured speaker. She has more than 20 years of income tax experience, with special emphasis on clergy taxes. The seminar will address the special employment status of clergy and the self-employment tax along with other tax issues related to clergy. There is no cost to attend, but space is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Janie Hightower at or 1-866-672-0004.

Older Adult retreat set for Oct. 5-7 at VUMAC
“Seasoned Adults Spice Up the Church,” a retreat sponsored by the Older Adult Council and Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., will be held Oct. 5-7 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC), Blackstone. Keynote speakers, workshop leaders and concert performers include: Cheryl Kirking from Madison, Minn., who is an author, inspirational speaker, musician and communicator; and Ed Kilbourne from Rock Hill, S.C., who is a musician, composer and speaker with a humorist side with his latest musical accomplishment being The Trilogy, the story of the Prodigal Son. A variety of workshop sessions and fellowship opportunities will be available. Cost for each participant is $150. Scholarship assistance is available. Registration deadline is Sept. 24. Click here for more information.

New Church Leadership Institute to be Nov. 9-11
New Church Leadership Institute 2010 will be held Nov. 9-11 at the Virginia Conference United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Participants will learn how to gain clarity in discerning ministry competencies, spiritual gifts, personal mission field or affinity group, leadership style and its implications and place on the apostolic/pastoral continuum. Featured speakers will be Jim Griffith and Don Smith. Registration deadline is Oct. 15. Click here for more information and online registration. Or go to or contact Pat Hickman at (804) 521-1155, 1-800-768-6040, ext. 155, or

United Methodist aid worker killed in Afghanistan
Daniel Terry spent 40 years of his life working as a volunteer with those most in need in Afghanistan. The 64-year-old had a deep understanding of the Afghan culture. So it came as a shock when leaders of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, which has supported Terry for 30 years, learned that he was among 10 aid workers killed Aug. 5 in a remote northeast section of the country. The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the murders. More …

350 young leaders attend 2010 Young People’s Convocation
The 2010 Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly brought together some 350 young leaders from around the world and created unity through the sharing of cultures. The youth and young adult participants from more than two dozen countries also approved legislation that will be presented to the 2012 General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body. More …

COSROW offers training on sexual ethics Jan. 26-29
The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) has scheduled a churchwide training opportunity on sexual ethics Jan. 26-29, 2011, in Houston. The event, titled “Do No Harm,” is for anyone in The United Methodist Church who has a leadership role in sexual-ethics training or in intervening when sexual misconduct occurs. More …

Ordination ministry resources available online from GBHEM
A variety of resources for those who work with candidates for ordained ministry are now available on the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Web site. Resources include PowerPoint presentations, training outlines and frequently asked questions about the various aspects of candidacy. More …

Wesley Ministry Network offers online courses
In partnership with Bishop Richard Wilke’s Institute for Discipleship, Wesley Ministry Network now offers its lay education courses online. Each course features streaming video lectures and online discussions with other students and Wesley Ministry Network teachers. Courses are open to everyone, and CEUs are available for pastors. Fall courses begin Sept. 12 and include: “Simply Christian,” “Devotion to Jesus: The Divinity of Christ in Early Christianity,” “Religion and Science: Pathways to Truth,” “A Life Worthy of the Gospel,” and “In God’s Time: The Bible and the Future.” Sign up at

Enrollment now open for online Disciple Bible Study groups
Groups are beginning to take shape for the second year of online Disciple Bible Study, dubbed Disciple Online. Enrollment is now open at for individuals who wish to participate in Disciple I, Disciple II and Youth Disciple in an online format with others from all over. Participants follow the format of Disciple. They study the Bible on their own during the week then meet with their group members through the Internet with special software at a set day and time to review the week’s study. This will be the second year for Disciple Online, but the first year for Disciple Online II and Disciple Online Youth. Several churches are sponsoring groups for their own members which are also open to participants from anywhere. For more information, visit or e-mail

Online Lay Speaking Ministries course begins Sept. 20
Several times a year, hosts online courses which have been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as an advanced course in Lay Speaking Ministries. These are designated by the GBOD logo “Learning and Leading.” The next scheduled GBOD approved course, Biblical Storytelling I, will be held Sept. 20-Oct. 3. Information on this course is available at

African-American Clergy Health Summit set for Sept. 27-28
Lake Junaluska and the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (GBPHB) of The United Methodist Church are hosting the “African-American Clergy Health Summit: A Self-Care Covenant” Sept. 27-28. Participants will participate in a self-care covenant workshop designed specifically for African-American clergy, which reflects the health summit’s theme, “Wanting to Heal and Be Healed” (John 5: 1-9). The summit and workshops will be led by the Rev. Dr. Embra Jackson, assistant to the Bishop of the Mississippi Conference, and Edmond Pienkosz, GBPHB Health and Wellness Manager. For more information, go to

Third international AIDS conference to be held Oct. 14-16 in Dallas
Lighten the Burden III, the third international AIDS conference sponsored by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund committee, will be Oct. 14-16 at the Radisson Central Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The conference will feature national and international speakers, each bringing his or her own unique perspective to the AIDS pandemic. Dr. Don Messer, executive director of the Center for the Church & Global AIDS, is a Lighten the Burden III workshop leader. He hopes this conference will help "awaken the sleeping giant called The United Methodist Church" by helping find practical ways to be involved in education, prevention, care and treatment. To register, go to by Sept. 20. Registration fee is $100 (includes meals and resources). More …

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 to register or for more information.

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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