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Dec. 23, 2010
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News from the Virginia Conference – Sept. 10, 2010

Virginia pastor co-authors FaithLink article on religious freedom
The Sept. 12 issue of FaithLink addresses “Religious Freedom.” Controversy over a planned mosque near Ground Zero raises the issue of religious liberty. This study resource focuses on the history of religious freedom in the United States and asks what it means today. FaithLink addresses how the Bible and Christian tradition inform our views about religious freedom. 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. “Religious Freedom” is written by the Rev. Alex Joyner, senior pastor of Franktown United Methodist Church on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and the Rev. Erik Alsgaard, member of the Detroit Conference who serves St. Ignace United Methodist Church in Michigan. A new, six-page FaithLink guide is available each week. It can be downloaded from the Cokesbury Web site by going to Faith Link. Subscriptions to FaithLink can also be received via e-mail or fax by contacting Abingdon Press or calling 1-800-672-1789. Subscription price is $8 per issue.

Clergy Development grants available
The Board of Ordained Ministry and Cabinet announce that applications are now being received for Clergy Development grants. The first deadline is Oct. 8. Brochures were recently mailed to all clergy and certified professionals. Click here for brochure and application form. These grants are given for specific learning experiences selected by the Clergy Development Committee that are listed on the brochure. They include experiences that focus on “transformational learning” and “development of basic ministry skills.” A number of coaching options are available. Grants are intended to cover the entire cost, excluding travel. The committee reviews applications, and notification of grant awards will be made by Nov. 1.

Six volunteers needed for 10-day UMVIM trip to Haiti
There are six openings on a 10-member United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team that will be going to Haiti Nov. 29 – Dec. 8. Cost is $1450 plus $350 from each member's church. Work will be heavy manual labor. For more information, contact Jamie Gibson at or call (478) 742-1382.

Randolph-Macon College honored for environmental excellence
On Sept. 9, representatives from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) presented a plaque to Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) honoring the school’s acceptance into the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP) at the E2 level (Environmental Excellence). R-MC is only the second academic institution in Virginia to have its entire campus in the DEQ’s E2 program. Virginia lawmakers created the VEEP program in 2005 to encourage businesses, government agencies and schools to reach environmental excellence by going above and beyond legal requirements. VEEP participants are required to establish an Environmental Management System and improve pollution prevention measures. In April 2009 DEQ named Estes Dining Hall a Virginia Green Restaurant for instituting and promoting pollution prevention practices dealing with food preparation and handling as well as day-to-day operations. In December 2009, R-MC’s Macon Coffee restaurant received the same honor for eliminating the use of Styrofoam containers. Additionally, the campus participated in the annual RecycleMania competition, a national program that promotes waste reduction on campus and serves as a benchmark for college and university recycling programs. R-MC energy conservation measures include replacing windows with insulated glass, installing motion sensors in dormitory restrooms, reducing water consumption by using low flow shower heads, and recycling paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass, inkjet toner and cartridges, electronic waste and used cooking oil, among other materials. The college has also been converting from fuel oil to natural and propane gas to reduce emissions.

Ferrum College to break ground on new athletic facility
Ferrum College will build a new athletic center to be named for retired coach Hank Norton, Ferrum’s  former athletic director and championship football coach. The $5.5 million dollar facility will serve the men’s and women’s outdoor athletic teams and offer state-of-the-art training facilities, weight room, classrooms and offices for coaching staff. Ceremonial ground breaking is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, just prior to the Ferrum homecoming football matchup with North Carolina Wesleyan College. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2011.

Stop Hunger Now seeks Richmond warehouse manager
Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world, is seeking a warehouse manager for its new warehouse facility in Richmond. Click here for job description and more information.

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.

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 Awareness
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 Sabbaths scheduled for Oct. 8-10
This year, The United Methodist Church will observe Children’s Sabbaths Oct. 8-10. Children's Sabbaths 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

‘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 and download the 10-Fold Participant's Guide.

Resources available for Oct. 17 Laity Sunday
In our membership vows, we promise that we will support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Theme for this year’s celebration of Laity Sunday on Oct. 17 is Disciples Transforming the World - Through Presence. Click here for worship resources for this Special Sunday, or go to the General Board of Discipleship Web site,, under “Lead Your Church" >"Ministry of the Laity.” As we continue through the quadrennium, the Disciples Transforming the World theme will be followed by “Through Gifts” (2011), and “Through Service” (2012).

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. 18; click here to register online for Sept. 25. For more information, contact Marilyn Heckstall at, Carla Sterns at, or Mike Wilson at

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

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

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 to register has been extended to Tuesday, Sept. 14. Lunch will not be guaranteed for participants registering after the deadline. More …

Training to be offered on sexual ethics, reporting child abuse or neglect
All Virginia Conference clergy are required to participate in sexual ethics training and reporting child abuse and neglect training. Sexual ethics training is offered annually in the fall. Two optional dates are offered: Tuesday, Sept. 28, or Saturday, Oct. 16 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Conference Center in Glen Allen. Cost is $10. Clergy Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect training is offered on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, Blackstone, immediately prior to the opening of Ministers’ Convocation. This course will also be offered Saturday, March 26, 2011, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Conference Center in Glen Allen. Cost for each training is $10. To register online, go to, click “Event Calendar,” then click on date of the event.

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 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. 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 or (804) 357-4435.

2010 UMMen Spiritual Retreat to be Nov. 5-7 at VUMAC
The 2010 United Methodist Men (UMMen) Spiritual Retreat will be Nov. 5-7 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Dr. Kevass J. Harding, senior pastor of Dellrose United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan., and a leader in the Wesleyan Building Brothers process, will be preacher for the event. He will preach on the theme “Can We Talk: It's Time To Man Up!” Sept. 30 is early registration deadline to save $20. Click here to download registration form. For more information, contact David Bean, Vice President, Spiritual Life, by e-mail to, or by phone at (540) 718-2752.

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 or contact Pat Hickman at (804) 521-1155, 1-800-768-6040, ext. 155, or

Event for African-American churches scheduled for Nov. 19-20
A design team is busily working on plans for a fall event for African-American faith communities in the Virginia Conference. Mark your calendars for Nov. 19-20 and plan to bring a team from your church for a time of connecting and learning at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen.

2011 Ministers’ Convocation registration is open
Register now for the Jan. 18-20, 2011, Ministers’ Convocation. Theme is “Shaping God’s People: A Study of Exodus,” addressing the question “How does the story of Exodus help us to live into a future that is different from the past?” Keynote presenters will be Dr. Gil Rendle, senior consultant for the Texas Methodist Foundation for Clergy and Congregational Excellence, and Dr. Joel LeMon, assistant professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Preaching during the week will be Bishop Charlene Kammerer and the Rev. Lisa Yebuah, newly ordained elder in the North Carolina Conference and Minister of Community Witness at Edenton Street UMC, Raleigh, N.C. A variety of workshops will be held on Wednesday, and district reflection groups will be led by younger clergy in the conference. Click here to register online or to download registration form. Watch your mail for a brochure that will include registration form.

United Methodist Upper Room Ministries is not filmmaker
A movie titled “I AM,” which is scheduled for release this fall, currently is being promoted to churches in North America by its production company, “Upper Room Multimedia.” If your church is, or has been, contacted by the production company, California-based “Upper Room Multimedia,” regarding screening opportunities for the movie, please be aware that this organization is in no way affiliated with, or endorsed by, The Upper Room, a division of The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) of The United Methodist Church. The United Methodist-owned Upper Room Ministries is a Nashville-based ministry and is not to be confused with the makers of the film.

Ebony Youth Christian Vocation Exploration set for March 18-20
Ebony Youth Retreat on Christian Vocation Exploration for 9th-and 12th-grade students will be held March 18-20, 2011, at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C. Registration cost is $90. Housing costs per person, per night, are $65 for single, $39 for double, $31 for triple, $31 for quad. For more information, contact the Rev. Carl Arrington, Director of African-American Ministries, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, at or (828) 454-6739.

Online Lay Speaking Ministries course begins Sept. 20
Several times a year, 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

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 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.

2010 Multicultural Conference to be Dec. 2-4 at Lake Junaluska
The Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops is partnering with Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center for the 2010 Multicultural Conference Dec. 2-4. Theme is “Embracing the Multi-Ethnic Body of Christ: Breaking Down Barriers and Building Bridges.” Virginia’s Myrtle Frances Hatcher is a member of the design team led by Bishop William Morris. A goal has been established for each annual conference to have 20–30 participants. Click here for more information or to register.

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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