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Dec. 23, 2010
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News from the Virginia Conference – Aug. 18, 2010

Religious leaders call for federal recognition of Virginia tribes
Bishop Charlene Kammerer and the Rev. Tom Joyce, assistant to the Bishop who currently serves as president of the Virginia Council of Churches, were among 32 Virginia religious leaders calling on U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner to encourage them to support federal recognition for six of Virginia’s Native American tribes by the close of this session of Congress. In a letter to the senators, the religious leaders said that “Now is the time to make this happen.” Acknowledging the 10-year struggle to gain federal recognition, the leaders encouraged the elected officials to finish the job by passing Senate Bill S1178. “We are deeply concerned that if this bill does not pass in this session, the recognition of Virginia’s tribes will be lost, and the door will close for a generation or more before such a time as this may return,” the letter said. Signers of the letter represent 21 different denominations and more than 6,000 congregations across the state. Also signing the letter were the Rev. Patricia Shipley from Centenary UMC in Richmond, who serves as conference coordinator for Christian Unity; the Rev. Gary Robbins of Greene Memorial UMC in Roanoke; and the Rev. Charles E. Swadley of Lakeside UMC in Richmond.

Conference lifts moratorium on culling membership rolls
After two years, Bishop Charlene Kammerer and the Cabinet have lifted the moratorium on the removal of members by charge conference action. In a letter to all conference churches, the bishop announced that the moratorium would be lifted for charge conferences this fall, and that the necessary forms would be included in charge conference packets.

Longtime conference pastor and leader dies
The Rev. Dr. William Archer Wright Jr. died Aug. 15 in Richmond. Wright served churches on the Eastern Shore and in Portsmouth, Smithfield, Newport News, Merrifield, Springfield and Clarendon. He was also superintendent of the Charlottesville District, executive secretary of the Board of Pensions and director of Ministerial Services for the conference. Wright served on the Board of Trustees at both Randolph-Macon and Ferrum colleges. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Beth; two daughters, the Rev. Elizabeth Taylor and Ann Dye; two sons, John Johnson and Archer Wright; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Reveille United Methodist Church in Richmond at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Reveille United Methodist Church or to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Danville District office moving next month
The Danville District office will move to Wesley Memorial UMC on Sept. 30, creating more office space, better parking and larger rooms for meetings. The move will also allow the office to pay less rent and to demonstrate intentionality to be a partner in ministry with a local church. Wesley Memorial is located at 824 Starling Ave. in Martinsville, just down the street from current offices. The district office moved from Danville to Martinsville in 1998. New mailing address will be P.O. Box 4204, Martinsville, VA, 24115; phone and fax numbers will remain the same.

Virginia Wesleyan, Randolph College among best in Southeast
Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk and Randolph College in Lynchburg are among the best schools in the Southeast according to the latest survey by The Princeton Review. The two United Methodist-related schools within the Virginia Conference are featured in “The Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition.” Only about 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges are included in the new edition. For this project, 122,000 students across the nation were asked to rate their own schools on several issues – from accessibility of professors to quality of the campus food – and answer questions about themselves, fellow students and campus life. Ranking lists report the top 20 schools in categories that include lists based on race relations, sports interests and other aspects of campus life. The Princeton Review is a New York-based company known for its test preparation and college admission services. It is not affiliated with Princeton University.

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 places of business and providing a supportive presence and referrals. 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 offering will be used by ICM to continue training new 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.

Service of Holy Communion for Labor Day is on GBOD Web site
A service of Holy Communion for Labor Day or other occasions when the church gathers to celebrate the blessing and sacrifice of human labor is available on the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) Web site (click here). It may also be used on the Sunday before Labor Day.

Grandparents Day to be observed on Sunday, Sept. 12
“Grandparents Day” is observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day; this year it is Sept. 12. Some of the people we call grandparents are such because they are our parents' parents — blood relations. Some of the people we call grandparents — "elders" in some cultures — are such because of a quality of compassion, concern, wisdom and generosity they demonstrate toward us. The Search Institute has identified that children who have at least five caring adults in their lives, in addition to their parents, are more likely to thrive and less likely to become "at risk." Every congregation is blessed with "grandmas" and "grandpas" who love and share their faith in ways that form us as an extended family, a tribe, a clan of people embraced by the love of God. While the worship for the day need not focus on "Grandparents Day," this is an opportunity to give thanks for and acknowledge the gift of grandparents in our experience. It can be an occasion on the cultural calendar to express our joy and sense of blessing in both having grandparents and in being grandparents. Click here for General Board of Discipleship worship resources and a few links that may be useful in observing the day.

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month
The United Methodist General Board of Church & 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

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.” The ERT Basic course offered on Friday or Saturday is also the re-certification course required for all expired UMCOR certified/badged volunteers. 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. Registration deadline for the August event is Aug. 20.

Workshops on unemployment, predatory lending to be offered
The Economic Justice Work Group of the Virginia Conference Board of Church & Society is partnering with the Interfaith Center for Public Policy to present “Real Change for Real People: Moving Beyond Broke.” These workshops will deal specifically with issues surrounding unemployment insurance and predatory lending. Three regional events are scheduled: Saturday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.-noon at Trinity UMC, 305 Mountain Ave. SW, Roanoke; Saturday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m.-noon at Parkview UMC, 912 Briarfield Road, Newport News; Saturday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.-noon at St. Paul UMC, 1400 G. St., Woodbridge. Click here to register online for Sept. 11; click here to register online for Sept. 18; click here to register online for Sept. 25. For more information, contact Marilyn Heckstall at, Carla Sterns at, or Mike Wilson at

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. Deadline for early registration discount is Sept. 2. 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. Registration deadline is Sept. 15. 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.

Women in ministry invited to Oct. 21 gathering
All women in ministry — licensed, ordained, consecrated, candidates for ministry and other women — are invited to the Clergywomen’s Collective gathering 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 21, at the Virginia Conference United Methodist Center, 10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen. Bring a bag lunch or run to the deli at Martin’s across the way. For more information, contact the Rev. ReNe'e Teague at or (804) 357-4435.

UMFS will showcase art by youths at Nov. 5 ‘Night of the Arts’
UMFS (United Methodist Family Services) will host “Night of the Arts” at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at Crossroads Art Center, 2016 Staples Mill Road, Richmond. The event will showcase art by youths who are served through Charterhouse School, the UMFS Richmond Regional Center and Project LIFE, a partnership between UMFS and the Virginia Department of Social Services. Young artists will be honored for their works on display. UMFS youths will also have the opportunity to share their poetry readings and various media forms. Click here for more information, or go to

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

Edelman to keynote Peace Conference Sept. 19-21
“Peace For The World's Children” is the theme for the 2010 Peace Conference to be held Sept. 19-21 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, N.C. Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, will be featured speaker. Dr. Jeni Stepanek will keynote a pre-conference event for children and youth Sept. 19-20. Keynote presentations and workshops will focus on the plight and promise of children. Workshops will include: “The State of the World's Children and the Church's Response,” “Advocacy on Behalf of Children,” “Children of Inmates,” “Children in Poverty,” “Forming Children as Peacemakers” and “Childhood Trauma.” For more information, go to

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. Deadline for early registration discount is Aug. 31. 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 …

Deacons’ gathering to be Oct. 24-26 at Lake Junaluska
The Rev. Gary Gunderson, deacon in the Memphis Conference and director of Methodist Healthcare in Memphis, will be featured speaker for the 2010 Deacon/Diakonate Gathering to be held Oct. 24-26 at Lake Junaluska. Focus of the gathering, “The Diakonate – Bridging Brokenness, Toward Healing and Wholeness,” will center on health, spirituality and wholeness for those in full-time ministry and for those they serve in ministry. For more information and to register online, visit or call (828) 454-6656.

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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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