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News from the Virginia Conference – Dec. 15, 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 …

Bishop, Cabinet announce 16 districts
Bishop Charlene Kammerer and the Cabinet have announced new boundaries, district names and local church district assignments that will reduce the number of districts in the Virginia Conference from 18 to 16, effective July 1. Three districts – Ashland, Portsmouth and Rappahannock – will be discontinued, and a new Fredericksburg District created. Three other district names will be new, all named for major waterways in the corresponding parts of the Commonwealth: James River District, Elizabeth River District and York River District. More ...

2010 Conference Journal now posted on Web site
The 2010 Virginia Annual Conference Journal is now available on the conference Web site, www.vaumc.org. One printed copy will be mailed to each local church. One copy on a CD will be mailed to each active clergy, retired clergy and spouse of deceased clergy at no cost. Additional copies may be purchased at a cost of $10 for CD or $25 for print version by calling the Virginia Conference Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

Board of Discipleship offers wording for churches
As we look toward the start of a new year, the Virginia Conference Board of Discipleship has prepared several paragraphs to be used in bulletins, newsletters or other church communications as a reminder of our commitment to prayer, fasting and discernment. The Board of Discipleship will be sending additional reminders throughout the remainder of the conference year. Click here for the insert for January.

Emmanuel UMC, Amherst, named ‘Welcoming Congregation’ again
Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Amherst, (Charlottesville District) has been recognized by United Methodist Communications (UMCom) as an official “Welcoming Congregation” for the second year. “Welcoming Congregations” are a select group of United Methodist congregations nationwide that meets 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.

RethinkChurch.org launched as new seeker Web site
On Dec. 15, The United Methodist Church launched a newly redesigned Web site for young adult spiritual seekers, RethinkChurch.org, which invites visitors to question, discuss, get involved and make a difference. Throughout December, advertising on cable networks (ABC Family, Comedy Central, Discovery and MTV) and multiple digital channels will direct viewers to the new site. Advertising messages are informed by research that says 18- to 34-year-olds desire to make a difference with their lives. Beginning Dec. 26, new commercials emphasize living more simply so that we may ultimately focus attention on the needs of others. The new RethinkChurch.org offers visitors an opportunity 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. RethinkChurch.org features more engagement capabilities and content offerings than its predecessor site, 10thousanddoors.org. Registering as a user is the first step to engage on the Web site. Users may then enhance their personal profiles by adding photos, videos, areas of interest and more. Once registered, a user may start or add to conversations. An interactive map connects seekers to a church in their area. The map allows users to search for a local church based upon parameters such as distance and ministry offerings or outreach programs that appeal to their particular interests, and provides additional information such as service and event schedules. They may also request a free Common English Bible (New Testament), written in easy-to-understand, everyday English.

Virginia’s First Lady honors Society of St. Andrew
At a recent luncheon in Richmond, Virginia’s First Lady Maureen McDonnell presented a special award to the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) as part of her first-ever “First Lady’s Opportunity Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon” to recognize organizations and programs that embody the ideal of “getting involved and giving back.” SoSA Executive Director Mike Waldmann accepted, saying, “We appreciate the wonderful volunteers who gather in fields and orchards to glean produce that would otherwise go to waste.”

Consider donation to Pathways as alternative Christmas gift
If you are looking for the perfect last-minute gift for the person who has everything, consider a donation to Pathways in their honor. Click here to see seven symbolic "gifts" to choose from. Pathways is a private, interfaith, nonprofit community development corporation working to rebuild and strengthen the city of Petersburg and surrounding counties.

Human Relations Day is Sunday, Jan. 16
Human Relations Day is Sunday, Jan. 16. This day of social action and raising awareness aims to heal social ills at the national level. It supports Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Service and the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program. In The United Methodist Church calendar, Human Relations Day is the Sunday immediately following the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. However, you can observe Human Relations Day at anytime of the year. The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes the purpose of Human Relations Day as a call to "the Church to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other." More …

Jan. 18-25 is Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is Jan. 18-25. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). The 2011 theme is One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer (Acts 2:42). Click here for resources. More …

2011 Calling 21 helps college students discern God’s call
Calling 21 is a conference-wide, grass roots, congregation-based, youth-focused approach to the Virginia Conference's emerging culture of call. During the summer, college students are placed in church internships and spend the summer immersed in the life of a local church, not their own, discerning God's call into church leadership. Calling 21 interns will both learn and lead. The host church will be a church that has been noticed and named for its potential to help young people hear God's call upon their lives. The intern's stipend will be $2,500. Applicants shall be college students and interested in exploring their call to church leadership. Calling 21 partners include: The Institute for Church Professions of Shenandoah University, Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, The Fund for Theological Education, Virginia Conference Cabinet, and Calling 21 host congregations. More ...

Conference seeks three 2011 summer interns
Virginia Conference offices of Congregational Development & Evangelism, Leadership & Inclusivity,and Mission & Global Justice are each seeking a summer intern for 2011. Applicants for all three positions should desire to pursue a career in a ministry setting, have experience in and passion for the area of interest, and familiarity with The United Methodist Church. Intern salary is $250 a week (with a minimum of 10 weeks). Click here for application and guidelines. Deadline for submission of applications is Feb. 1. Applications should be e-mailed to Becky Tate at beckytate@vaumc.org.

Voices of Youth accepting applications for 2011 tour participants
Voices of Youth (VOY), a mission program of the Virginia Conference designed to connect high school youths with those in need through music and mission, has a new Web site, www.voyva.org. It includes information about the program, the VOY 2011 tour, information and applications for churches interested in hosting a concert in 2011 and participant applications. Applications are being accepted for new youths, returning youths, college students and adult staff. The VOY 2011 tour will be July 13-Aug. 5. The choir will travel to Haiti/Dominican Republic before returning to the Virginia Conference for its annual concert tour. Applications for youth and college students are being accepted through Jan. 3. The group is still looking for a few adult staff members and an accompanist. For more information, contact Voices of Youth coordinator, Rachel Hundley, at coordinator@voyva.org or the 2011 Team Leader, Chad Hrbek, at teamleader@voyva.org.

Register now for Jan. 18-20 Ministers’ Convocation
Register now for the Jan. 18-20 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.

United Methodist Day at General Assembly is Feb. 3
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly will be Thursday, Feb. 3. Sponsored by the Board of Church and Society and Virginia Conference United Methodist Women, UM Day is an avenue of faithful advocacy that is both fun and meaningful. New this year: online registration, early bird pricing, morning prayer in the Capitol rotunda with Bishop Kammerer, and a large group session with General Assembly leaders and United Methodist legislators. Register before Friday, Jan. 21, and save $5. Click here for more information and online registration. Host church will be Bon Air UMC again this year. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hyatt Place Richmond Arboretum for $79 per night. As we prepare for UM Day, please pray for our legislators and sign up for Action Alerts at the Virginia Interfaith Center Web site: http://www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/.

Ted Hart to speak at 5 Talent Academy teaching event Feb. 19
Ted Hart, CEO of Hart Philanthropic Services and author of several books including People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, will be featured speaker at the 5 Talent Academy teaching event on Stewardship 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at Floris United Methodist Church, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon. More …

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 Spouse Retreat to be March 3-5 at VUMAC
The 49th Annual Clergy Spouse Retreat will be March 3-5 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. The Rev. Dr. Lynne Caldwell will speak on "Rx Laughter, the Best Medicine." Activities will include Zumba exercise class, Quilt for the Homeless, Strength to Minister workshop, Simplicity/Simple Living discussion, Tai Chi class, book review/discussion of Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday, nature walk and knitting class. More information will be available on either www.vaumc.org or www.vumac.org after the New Year. Registration forms will be sent. (If you haven't received one by the end of January, contact your district office.) For more information, contact Bill Moore, 2011 Clergy Spouse Retreat chair, at wjmoorewj@gmail.com.

Middle School Confirmation Retreat set for March 25-27
On March 25-27, confirmands will once again have the opportunity to explore how Jesus lived his life and his effect upon people. Join keynote speaker Justin Hicks from River Road UMC, the Steve Kropp Band and the staff of Westview on the James, in Goochland County, for the Middle School Confirmation retreat, "Following Jesus." Youths will consider the experiences of their own lives in light of Jesus' example and will be challenged to commit to Christ and Christ's way. Curriculum is based on "Claim the Name" retreat curriculum. Experiential learning blended with upbeat praise and worship and the energy of Westview's counselors is a great way to supplement your confirmation training. Register by Jan. 15 to receive early-bird rate of $85 per person. Click here for brochure. For more information, call the camp office at (804) 457-4210 or e-mail Cat Holbert Rudys at wvretreats@hughes.net.

Children’s Ministry Forum to be Feb. 22-24 in San Antonio
Children’s Ministry leaders in large United Methodist churches will receive new skills, fresh understandings and revived energy at the 2011 Children’s Ministry Forum Feb. 22-24 in San Antonio. Sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), the event, “Remembering Our Story,” will focus on remembering, rejoicing, renewing and responding as participants experience the biblical stories in new ways and develop multiple tactics to teach the stories to children. Although the event is designed for children’s ministry leaders in large United Methodist congregations with more than 250 people in worship, representatives from smaller congregations also are welcome to attend. More …

2011 Caring for Creation Conference to be March 31-April 3
One More Generation, a nonprofit founded by Carter and Olivia Ries (ages 9 and 8, respectively), will be featured presenters at the 2011 Caring for Creation at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center March 31–April 3. One More Generation (OMG) is dedicated to the preservation of endangered species. Reduced registration fee is available until Jan. 1. For registration, scholarship request forms and more information, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/caring-for-creation 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 at the Emory Conference Center and Hotel, Atlanta. Cost is $150. (A $65 special fee for students includes all workshops, plenaries, worship services, but only one meal — the banquet on Wednesday night.) Virginia Bishop Charlene Kammerer will be honored during the Wednesday night banquet. Click here for more information and 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 Advocate@vaumc.org.


 

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