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News from the Virginia Conference – Nov. 18, 2010

Conference invited
to fast, pray

Bishop Charlene Kammerer invites Virginia Conference United Methodists to join her in weekly fasting and prayer, through Dec. 31, to ask God to work within us for the future of the church. More …

VUMAC to make appeal for $413,000
The Board of Directors of Blackstone: The Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) will conduct an emergency appeal to raise funds to pay a $413,000 debt incurred during its “Growing Faith” capital campaign. More …

Blackstone Cokesbury store to close Dec. 10
The Blackstone Cokesbury store is closing Dec. 10. A store closing sale will offer 25% discounts on in-store stock items, while supplies last, through Nov. 20. Discounts of 50% off will be offered Nov. 22 to Dec. 10. Cokesbury will continue to offer services through its Call Center (1-800-672-1789), the Web site ( and displays at events.

UMFS special offering collected in December
Each year, UMFS (United Methodist Family Services) serves more than 5,500 Virginia children, teens and families who have suffered abuse, neglect, crisis and trauma. UMFS provides strength-based programs and services that heal, educate and empower so that lives can be turned right side up. During December your congregation can participate in the UMFS offering: Give. Pray. Spread the Word.United Methodist churches should have already received materials including bulletin inserts and fliers so congregations can support UMFS, which does not receive any funds through conference apportionments. Click here to download materials from the Web, or contact Bethanie Constant, UMFS Development Manager, at (804) 254-9674 or

Support United Methodist AIDS ministries on World AIDS Day Dec. 1
World AIDS Day is Dec. 1. People worldwide use this as a day of remembrance, recognition and education about this pandemic that takes scores of lives every year. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has created a group of resources to help United Methodist churches observe World AIDS Day at the beginning of next month. Click here to check out the church bulletin insert, poster and more on UMCOR's World AIDS Day 2010 Web page. Help support United Methodist AIDS ministries by giving to the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, UMCOR Advance #982345.

2011 AC theme is “Being Christ to Others: Snapshots of the Kingdom”
Theme for the 2011Virginia Annual Conference will be “Being Christ to Others: Snapshots of the Kingdom.” Scripture is Matthew 10:7-8. Annual Conference will be held June 15-19 at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke and will include voting for General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates. Annual Conference will begin with the Clergy Session and Laity Session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15. More …

Musical groups must apply by Feb. 1 for 2011 Annual Conference
The 2011 Annual Conference worship team is currently planning next year's worship services. Each year the team does its best to incorporate local church musical groups that are interested in participating. Unfortunately, space is extremely limited andonly a few groups will be able to participate. The worship team must go through a selection process to choose those groups that will best fit into each worship service. This year, musical groups are asked to complete an online application to be considered for participation in an Annual Conference service. Click on to submit an application. Deadline for applying is Feb. 1.

Virginia clergywoman writes Advent study for adults
Virginia Conference clergywoman Jeanne Torrence Finley has written an Advent study for adults. “Blessings of the Manger,” published by Abingdon Press, is based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Advent and Christmas 2010 (Year A in the three-year lectionary cycle of readings). The five-session study helps readers explore God’s hope and presence through lectionary readings that call for active waiting for the coming of God’s redemption and new creation. This study invites understanding and participation in meaningful and joyous celebrations of Advent and Christmas. A study guide is also available for small groups. The study is available through Cokesbury and

United Methodists asked to host malaria house parties
The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign is asking United Methodists to support a lifesaving cause by hosting a malaria house party for World Malaria Day, April 25, 2011, or in the months leading up to the event. A house party is a cause-oriented fundraising event that is usually held in a private home — although it may also be held in a church or some other community setting. Visit to learn more about hosting a party or to sign up. More ...

2010 Winter issue of Neighbors available for download
The 2010 Winter issue of the Neighbors newsletter focuses on the season of Advent and the joy that an Advent calendar can bring. The lead article, titled "Studying Advent," was written by Catie Murphy, member of Old Bridge United Methodist Church in Woodbridge. Neighbors is a free, customizable direct-mail piece, produced by Virginia United Methodist Communications, designed to complement a church's outreach ministry. To download Neighbors, visit The Neighbors page provides simple instructions on how to download, print and mail the newsletter.

High School Retreat offers spiritual formation Dec. 3-5
The Virginia Conference High School Retreat will be Dec. 3-5. This weekend offers spiritual formation through worship, Bible study, small groups and group building at Eagle Eyrie Retreat Center in Lynchburg. For detailed information and brochure or to register, click here. (Or go to and click on “events”.)

Evening at Blackstone set for Dec. 5
Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) at Blackstone will host the annual Evening at Blackstone on Sunday, Dec. 5. It will be a night of Christian music with lots of familiar Christmas songs. This year, entertainment will be provided by Mercy's Well, a multi-talented trio from North Carolina. Open house starts at 4:30 p.m. Banquet is at 6 p.m. followed by the concert at 7 p.m. Call Cyndi at (434) 292-5308 to make a reservation.

Ashland District Heart Havens home consecration is Dec. 12
Date of the Consecration and Open House celebration for the new Ashland District Heart Havens home has been changed to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. The house is located at 320 North Snead Street, Ashland 23005. For more information, go to

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.

Lay Servants Academy to be Feb. 25-27 at VUMAC
All laity are invited to the first Lay Servants Academy — and the 33rd annual Lay Speakers Training — to be held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone Feb. 25-27. You do not need to be on track to become a Local Lay Speaker or Certified Lay Speaker to attend, although these programs are developed to challenge the Lay Speaker to become skilled to the level of certification and offer continuing training for re-certification. Every chairperson, committee member, teacher, or congregational leader is encouraged to take the introductory course and overview of United Methodism. Registration deadline is Feb. 11. Click here for more information, including brochure and registration form.

Clergy, laity can receive certification in ministry with poor
Clergy and laity who want to be more effective in ministry with the poor can develop skills through a partnership between the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO), and the Church for All People in Columbus, Ohio. The Rev. John Edgar, executive director of Community Development for All People, a faith-based, nonprofit community development organization and United Methodist church dedicated to creating a community and church that welcomes and cares for all people, said the new program grew partly out of the desire to be better organized about teaching people what had worked in Columbus. The certification program will help develop leaders with skills for ministry with the poor. For information on course offerings, contact Dean Randy Litchfield, or (740) 362-3364 at MTSO. To stay in the retreat house and experience ministry with the poor at the Church for All People, contact Edgar at (614) 445-7342.

Week of mission work in Nashville open to U.S. youths
Next summer United Methodist youths from the United States can participate in weeklong mission work experiences in Nashville that help children, older adults, the homeless and people with special needs. For the second year, the youth mission trips will be sponsored jointly by Young People's Ministries, a division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, and YouthWorks!, a multidenominational youth-mission organization. The mission experience is open to youths who will enter the seventh grade in the fall of 2011 through current high school seniors. More …

Jan. 7 is deadline to apply for Peace with Justice Grant
Jan. 7 is the deadline to apply for a Peace with Justice Grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society. More …

Jan. 10 deadline to apply for EYA Summer Internship
Deadline to apply for a 2011 Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) Summer Internship in Washington, D.C., is Jan. 10. The EYA program is for young adults, ages 18-22, representing the five ethnic minority caucuses of The United Methodist Church — Native Americans, Pacific-Islanders, Hispanic/Latinos, African-Americans and Asian Americans — who have an interest in exploring issues of public policy, social justice advocacy and social change. Sponsored by the General Board of Church & Society, the nine-week summer internship program includes social justice placements in the U.S. capital from May 28 to July 31. More …

Jan. 10 is deadline to apply for Ethnic Local Church Grant
Jan. 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. Intent of the grants program is to provide start-up money, so priority goes to first-time applicants. Priority consideration shall be given to programs that are part of a comprehensive plan of an annual conference. For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie (, GBCS assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, at (202) 488-5611 or download the application at Ethnic Local Church Grant.

Jan. 10 is deadline to apply for Human Relations Day Grant
Jan. 10 is the deadline to apply for a Human Relations Day Grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). The grants are to support ministries that respond to nonviolent young offenders through education, advocacy or leadership training and development. Grant funds are raised through The United Methodist Church’s Human Relations Day Special Sunday each year. Human Relations Day is the Sunday immediately following observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday: Jan. 16 next year. To be considered for funding, a project must be initiated by or developed in partnership with a United Methodist church. The project must focus on needs of nonviolent juvenile youth offenders as they address one or more chronic social problem or concern, such as housing, employment, health care, human rights, education, the environment or racism. Intent of the grant is to provide start-up money. Grant applications are available at Human Relations Day Grant, or by contacting Marvlyn Scott (, in the office of Education & Leadership Formation, (202) 488-5643. For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie (, assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, (202) 488-5611.

Jan. 15 deadline for older adult caregiving ministry grant
Applications for grants to support caregiving ministries for older adults are now being accepted by the Center on Aging & Older Adult Ministries at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship. submissions from local United Methodist congregations, districts, annual conferences, central conferences and UM-related institutions may be submitted until Jan. 15. Grant applications are available online at For more information, contact project coordinator Teri Kline at the Center for Aging & Older Adult Ministries at 1-877-899-2780, ext. 7177, or e-mail

UMCOR flier offers facts about hunger, poverty
Get the facts about hunger and poverty. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is offering a new flier/bulletin insert that provides examples of how UMCOR programs are addressing issues of hunger and poverty around the world. Facts like: 5,000 children die each day due to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases. UMCOR programs are working to combat this tragic reality for many children, by providing education about basic steps people can make to live healthy lives, protect their water sources, and build wells and latrines where no water and sanitation facilities are available. Click here to download this new resource.

2011 Caring for Creation Conference to be March 31-April 3
The 2011 Caring for Creation experience will be held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center March 31–April 3, 2011. Reduced registration fee is available for those registering before Jan. 1. The General Board of Church and Society, Ethnic Minority Local Church, is offering scholarships for participants of ethnic heritage. Scholarships include registration fee, double-occupancy housing, and meals. Scholarships are being offered to a maximum of two persons per church. For registration, scholarship request forms and more information, visit or call (828) 454-6656.

SEJ Clergywomen’s Consultation is April 4-7 in Atlanta
The Southeastern Jurisdiction Clergywomen’s Consultation will be held April 4-7, 2011, at the Emory Conference Center and Hotel, Atlanta, Ga. Early registration before Dec. 1, is $110. Afterwards, the cost will be $150. A $65 special fee for students includes all workshops, plenaries, worship services, but only one meal — the banquet on Wednesday night. Click here for more information and to register. More …

Good News moving offices to Texas
After 38 years of being headquartered in Wilmore, Ky., Good News will move its advocacy and publishing offices to the Houston area. The unofficial United Methodist evangelical caucus has been the publisher of Good News magazine since 1967. “Both Rob Renfroe, our president and publisher, and Norm Phillips, our Chief Operating Officer, reside in the Houston area,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette of Wilderness UMC in Virginia, chairperson of the Good News Board of Directors. “For Good News to remain an effective force for reform and renewal in the United Methodist Church, we wanted to position our headquarters in close proximity to our senior staff. In addition, the relocation of our headquarters takes advantage of our significant relationship with a number of strong and vibrant evangelical churches, clergy and lay persons in the Southeast and South Central Jurisdictions. … Our offices in the Houston area will facilitate much easier travel to resource our partners and to encourage their ongoing involvement in our efforts.” The administrative office will be relocated this month to Spring, Texas. The editorial office will remain in Wilmore until next spring.

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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