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News from the Virginia Conference – Sept. 2, 2010

Disaster Response Team prepares for Hurricane Earl
The conference Disaster Response Team is on stand-by to respond to and assist districts that may be affected by Hurricane Earl. Click here to view the latest version of the conference Disaster Response Plan. The Rev. Robert Pihlcrantz, conference Disaster Response coordinator, is in touch with both the Virginia Beach Emergency Management Emergency Operations Center and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. As information becomes available, he will post it via Clergy Net and Laity Net. For additional information, contact Pihlcrantz via e-mail to VACDRT@cox.net or Disaster_Info@vaumc.org or call him at (757) 408-6653 or 1-866-264-8488.

Bishop, interfaith leaders call for calm, civility, respect in discourse
Bishop Charlene Kammerer joined major Christian, Jewish and interfaith leaders and clergy from the Richmond area, the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs and the Islamic Center of Virginia to issue a statement calling on elected officials, politicians, media outlets and U.S. citizens “to act with respect, toleration, and gracious welcome to those who differ from us in the form of their religious expression and practice in order to preserve and strengthen the fabric of unity that is woven into our common history.” The statement said, “We must declare that when we ignore the civil practice of these foundational principles of our nation, then our words will invite intolerance, hatred and bigotry to rule with emotion and irrationality that would undermine the strength of the fabric of our beloved nation and region.” The faith leaders scheduled a press conference for Sept. 2 to issue the statement, discuss concerns and affirm a commitment “to work together to build understanding with one another and cooperate to serve the broader society rather than seek to divide and demonize whole groups of people.”

Mount Bethel UMC named official ‘Welcoming Congregation’
Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in Crimora (Harrisonburg District) has been recognized by United Methodist Communications (UMCom) as an official “Welcoming Congregation.” “Welcoming Congregations” are a select group of United Methodist congregations nationwide that meet criteria including embracing newcomers and providing opportunities in discipleship. The recognition program is part of a larger effort launched in late 2000 by UMCom, the denomination’s communications agency, to use modern technology and the common language of television to spread the good news of Christ to a world in need. Click here to learn how your church can become a “Welcoming Congregation.”

Churches can do four things to become more vital congregations
Topical preaching, varied worship styles, effective lay leadership and small groups. These are the things United Methodist congregations can do right now to become more vital and strengthen the denomination, say members of the Call to Action Steering Team. More …

Epiphany Ministries seeks volunteers for three-day prison ministry
Epiphany Ministries of Virginia is seeking pastors and laity to volunteer to be on a team for a low-security, low-impact prison event at Hanover Juvenile Corrections Center in Hanover Oct. 9-11. Team meetings will be on Saturdays during September and early October at Wright’s Chapel in Ladysmith. The team will go into the institution at 6:45 a.m. and leave at approximately 7 p.m. each day Saturday, Oct. 9, through Monday, Oct. 11. During team meetings, volunteers will learn about facility requirements, reaching troubled youth, and how the weekend process will unfold. Culmination of the weekend is offering youths the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior. Teams are composed of men, women and young adults 21 and over. An application is required to be on the team. A $50 fee covers insurance, meals and a T-shirt. For more information, go to www.epiphanyministry.org or contact Keith Lauer, chairman of Epiphany Ministries of Virginia, at kalauer2@verizon.net or (804) 752-7713.

September is Christian Education Month in Virginia Conference
In the Virginia Conference, the month of September is observed as Christian Education Month. Annual Conference voted to encourage each local church to place an extra emphasis on Christian education for at least one Sunday during September and to receive a special Christian Education offering in September or early October. Funds will be used to provide teaching/learning opportunities for local churches throughout the conference. Half of the collected amount stays with the conference, and half is returned to the district for the ministry of education on the district. Click here for more information and for an application to request funds received from the offering on the conference level.

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 www.recoverymonth.gov or by calling 1-800-662-HELP. Visit www.umc-gbcs.org 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. Download at www.endhunger.org/hunger_action-month.htm or contact the Rev. Jennifer Vestal Moore at SoSA at 1-800-333-4597 or church@endhunger.org.

Hispanic Heritage Month Begins Sept. 15
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) recognizes and honors the diversity of the cultures whose traditions and roots are traced back to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The four weeks give us the opportunity to share within our communities of faith the diversity that exists. More …

Sept. 21 is International Day of Prayer for Peace
World Council of Churches (WCC) members worldwide are invited to pray for peace Tuesday, Sept. 21, or on the closest Sunday. International Day of Prayer for Peace offers an opportunity for church communities in all places to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities and societies. More …

World Communion Sunday is Oct. 3
Sunday, Oct. 3, is World Communion Sunday. 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 of October. Click here for more information.

Oct. 5 is National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness
National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Awareness Recovery and Understanding is Tuesday, Oct. 5. Prayers and actions of both faith communities and secular organizations are needed to restore mental wellness in America. In seeking God's guidance, we can recommit ourselves to replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth and love in order to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness. Click here to download a resource with liturgies to use for the National Day of Prayer, including an interfaith candle lighting service, on the home page of the Mental Health Ministries Web site. This resource is available in English and Spanish. Click here for a fact sheet, "What You Need to Know About Mental Illness," including facts that involve our faith communities.

Children’s Sabbath scheduled for Oct. 8-10
This year, The United Methodist Church will observe Children’s Sabbath Oct. 8-10. Children's Sabbath is an ecumenically celebrated weekend committed to educating the congregation about the state of today’s children and families in America. Children provide leadership through music, sharing of gifts and reading of Scripture. Click here for downloadable resources for this event available through the Children’s Defense Fund. Use an interactive map to find ideas that worked in congregations and communities in 2009 by going to http://www.childrensdefense.org/programs-campaigns/faith-based-action/childrens-sabbaths/interactive-map-2009.html.

‘10-Fold’ to feature 10 Advance projects in 10 days beginning Oct. 10
For 10 days, Oct. 10-19, you will be able to go online to learn about Global Ministries' projects around the world supported through The Advance, the designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church. “10-Fold,” a new type of online event, will offer live webcasts, streaming video, online chats and other media that will enable you to see and hear about amazing projects that are changing people's lives. Every day will focus on a different project. The goal is to gain the support of 10,000 people for each of the 10 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. To get more details, visit www.10-Fold.org and download the 10-Fold Participant's Guide.

Three Virginia churches featured in Sept.-Oct. issue of Interpreter
Three Virginia Conference United Methodist churches are featured in the September-October 2010 issue of Interpreter, the official ministry magazine of The United Methodist Church. Springfield UMC is included in a story about ”backpack blessing services” in the IdeaMart section. Click here to view the story online. Herndon UMC is featured in an “It Worked for Us” story about church-school partnerships. The church begins its ninth year of partnership with across-the-street-neighbor Herndon High School this fall. Click here to view the story online. Tessa Diehl, member of First UMC in Charlottesville and one of 15 2010 Denman Youth Evangelism award winners across The United Methodist Church, is included as an example of the 2010 Laity Sunday theme, “Disciples Transforming the World – Through Presence.” Click here to view the story online. Click here for subscription information to the magazine or call United Methodist Communications Customer Service at 1-888-346-3862.

Oct. 17 is Bread for the World Sunday
Bread for the World, a Christian organization supported in part through the United Methodist Advance, has resources for churches interested in participating in Bread for the World Sunday on Oct. 17. The group organizes Christians to write U.S. decision-makers in support of efforts to eradicate hunger in the U.S. and overseas. Click here for resources, including a study of Luke 18:1-8, a special litany, bulletin inserts and offering envelopes. Spanish-language resources also are available.

Interfaith resources available for Veterans Day Nov. 11
Veteran's Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11, a time to honor and remember past and present military veterans. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a major mental health issue for veterans returning from war. The Rand Corporation recently released a study estimating that one in five U.S. service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from major depression or combat stress. Combat stress, addiction, domestic violence and suicide are increasing. Too often the ethic is to be silent about combat-related mental health problems. Only half of those with mental health problems seek treatment. Mental Health Ministries is offering an interfaith Veteran's Day resource (click here) that can be used as a bulletin insert or flier to raise important issues faced by returning troops and give your faith community ideas on how to be supportive. This resource is available in English and Spanish. Click here for an article, How Faith Communities Can Help Veterans and Their Families Readjust by VA Chaplain David Lundell. Click here for a downloadable packet from the Presbyterian Church USA, The Wounds of War: The Church as a Healing Community.

Workshops on unemployment, predatory lending to be offered by Board of Church & Society
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 mheckstall@comcast.net, Carla Sterns at revcarla3@yahoo.com, or Mike Wilson at mwilson1@cerner.com.

Learn about mission opportunities in Bahamas on Sept. 18
The Rev. Keith Mottley, conference United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) coordinator, is hosting an informational gathering concerning mission work in the Bahamas at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Beulah UMC, 6930 Hopkins Rd, Richmond. Abe McIntyre, executive director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat (BMH), Eleuthera, Bahamas, will talk about turn-key UMVIM teams going to the Bahamas. BMH is a turn-key short-term mission opportunity that focuses on relieving disaster and promoting community. There are needs for emergency home repair, installation of running water in houses and building homes and relationships with families that have lost hope. For more information or to register to attend the meeting, contact Mottley at umvim@vaumc.org.

15 Lay Speaking courses to be offered in September, October
In September and October, 15 Lay Speaking courses will be offered at three different locations in northern Virginia, central Virginia and Hampton Roads. Five courses deal directly with being in the pulpit; 10 courses cover other roles in the church and the community. For more information, go to http://www.vaumc.org/DistrictLaySpeaking.

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. Registration deadline is Sept. 15. For more information, call the camp office at (804) 457-4210 or go to www.westviewonthejames.org.

Conference extension ministers to meet with bishop Oct. 1
Conference extension ministers and pastors appointed beyond the local church will gather with Bishop Charlene Kammerer 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at Richmond Hill, 2209 E. Grace St., Richmond. Cost is $20 for lunch and registration. Click here for more information and to register.

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. 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 jhightower@vumcu.org or 1-866-657-0004.

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. 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 go to the deli at Martin’s across the way. For more information, contact the Rev. ReNe'e Teague at reneerichey@ateague.com or (804) 357-4435.

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. Registration deadline is Oct. 15. Click here for more information and online registration. Or go to www.vaumc.org/NCLIRegistration or contact Pat Hickman at (804) 521-1155, 1-800-768-6040, ext. 155, or pathickman@vaumc.org.

Rethink Church resources move to new Web site
Congregational resources for the Rethink Church advertising and welcoming campaign have moved to a new Web site address: http://www.umcom.org/rethinkchurch.The Web site that previously housed congregational resources, RethinkChurch.org, will become the primary seeker site that is featured in Rethink Church advertising, beginning this fall. “Research shows that RethinkChurch.org resonates most strongly with the seekers we are trying to reach with our denominational advertising,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications.  “This Web site address reinforces the message we want non-United Methodist seekers to take away from our advertising — that we are rethinking church.”
     The RethinkChurch.org seeker site will feature more site engagement capabilities and content offerings than its seeker site predecessor, www.10thousanddoors.org. RethinkChurch.org visitors will be able to read, watch, comment, and interact on topics that are important both to them and to The United Methodist Church — from the environment, to global health, to disaster relief. An interactive map will connect seekers to a church in their area, based upon ministry offerings and events listed in a church’s Find-a-Church profile. (Update your Find-a-Church profile now)
     Rethink Church congregational resources help churches to participate in the Rethink Church advertising and welcoming campaign. Resources include a Rethink Church overview and FAQ, church marketing tutorials, advertising samples, graphics, worship aids, and more.

Pamela Crosby elected BMCR executive director
Pamela Crosby has been elected executive director of Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), a caucus of The United Methodist Church. Since July 2007, Crosby has served in this position in a part-time capacity. She has worked in editorial and production capacities for United Methodist general agencies for more than 20 years. She will begin full-time duties with Black Methodists for Church Renewal on Oct. 1.

Church leaders denounce questioning of Obama’s faith
More than 70 Christian leaders have signed an Aug. 25 letter condemning misrepresentations of President Obama's Christian faith. United Methodist signers included the Rev. Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John's Downtown in Houston; the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor at Windsor Village United Methodist Church, also in Houston; Bishop Melvin Talbert; Bishop Elias Galvan; Bishop Calvin McConnell; the Rev. Dr. Fred Allen,National Director of Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century; and Raul Alegria, president of MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans). "President Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith," the letter said. Click here to see letter and full list of signers.

United Methodist seminaries offering online continuing education classes
United Methodist theological schools are offering 11 online continuing education classes for clergy and laity beginning fall semester of 2010. The Online Continuing Education Consortium aims to provide theologically sound, financially affordable, and easily accessible continuing education programs. All 13 of the United Methodist theological schools are expected to participate. Five seminaries are offering classes this fall. Those interested in taking classes will be able to view an online catalogue and Web links to each theological school that is offering the classes through www.gbhem.org/continuingeducation. Tuition and fees will be set by the seminary hosting the class and will be paid directly to that seminary.

General Commission on Religion and Race seeks part-time assistant
General Commission on Religion and Race is in search of a part-time assistant to organize the Cross Racial/ Cross Cultural Convocation and to assist with organizing CORR{ageous}! Leaders throughout The United Methodist Church. Click here for job description. To apply send resume and cover letter to froberts@umc-gbcs.org

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. 18-19. For more information, go to http://www.lakejunaluska.com/Peace/.

Online Lay Speaking Ministries course begins Sept. 20
Several times a year, BeADisciple.com hosts online courses approved by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) as an advanced course in Lay Speaking Ministries. The next scheduled GBOD approved course, “Biblical Storytelling I,” will be Sept. 20-Oct. 3. Information is available at http://beadisciple.com/workshops.html#StorytellingI.

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. To register, go to www.umglobalaidsfund.org 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 www.lakejunaluska.com/deacons or call (828) 454-6656.


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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