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Dec. 16, 2011
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News from the Virginia Conference – Jan. 12, 2011

Conference seeks director of Congregational Excellence
The office of Connectional Ministries is seeking a creative leader for the ministry position of director of Congregational Excellence effective July 1. The person filling this position will work as a team member with other Connectional Ministries directors with ministry oversight of new faith communities and congregational development. To apply, cover letter, resume and three references must be sent in Word file or PDF to Applications will be received through Feb. 3. Selected interviews will be held Feb. 11. Employment will begin July 1. Click here for job description.

Petersburg District administrative assistant dies after battle with cancer
Petersburg District administrative assistant Wanda “Sam” Perkinson died Jan. 10 after a brief but intense battle with cancer. Visitation with friends and family will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, at J. T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home, 103 S. Adams St., Petersburg. Service of Death and Resurrection will be at 1 p.m. Friday in the chapel of J. T. Morriss. Clergy who attend have been asked to wear vestments. Messages of condolence may be sent to the Petersburg District office, P.O. Box 3413, Petersburg, VA 23805, for delivery to the family. Click here for obituary.

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 …

Bill Mefford to receive ‘Lighting the Torch of Conscience Award’
The National Coalition Against the Death Penalty (NCADP) will present its “Lighting the Torch of Conscience Award” to Bill Mefford, member of Culmore UMC in Falls Church and director of the Civil & Human Rights program at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society. The award will be presented during NCADP’s annual conference, Jan. 13-16, in Chicago. The presentation will be during the conference’s annual awards dinner Saturday, Jan. 15. The dinner allows NCADP to celebrate those “who have been at the vanguard” of the death penalty abolition movement. These award recipients are recognized for their “selfless and passionate commitment to the struggle” to abolish capital punishment. More …

February is Heart Havens Month
February is Heart Havens Month in the Virginia Conference, a time when churches are asked to make financial contributions to this agency that provides residential services for men and women with intellectual disabilities through the development and operation of 12 group homes across Virginia. This February, Heart Havens will send materials to your United Methodist church. If you would like a Heart Havens representative to speak to your church group or congregation, call Heart Havens at (804) 237-6097, or toll free at 1-877-442-8368. Or, someone in your church can speak for Heart Havens. Speaking points will be included in the materials being sent to your church. One Sunday out of the year is all it takes to change a life. For more information, go to

Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten devotion program
Society of St. Andrew’s (SoSA) Lenten devotion program challenges readers to take seriously the scriptural injunction to care for the poor, while it also provides an opportunity to feed our hungry brothers and sisters. Each day during Lent, a writer, using the theme “We’ve a Story to Tell,” describes how knowing Jesus has made a difference in his or her life. As you make the journey to the cross this year, use SoSA’s devotional booklet to think of how a relationship with Jesus has changed your life. Then ponder the question: "Are you willing to share your story, and the story of our Savior, with others?" To obtain a free sample packet, go to, call 1-800-333-4597, or e-mail the Rev. Jennifer Vestal Moore at There is no charge for the program. You are encouraged to make a donation to this feeding ministry as a part of the program.

Ministers’ Convocation is Jan. 18-20
The 2011 Ministers’ Convocation will be Jan. 18-20. 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.

Resource Center to present VBS Curriculum Fair Jan. 25-27
The Resource Center, in partnership with Cokesbury, will present its Vacation Bible School Curriculum Fair Jan. 25-27 from 1-8 p.m. (1-5 p.m. on Jan. 26) in Virginia Hall (the Turnbull Room) on the campus of Baptist Theological Seminary, on Brook Road between Westwood and Palmyra in the Ginter Park area of Richmond. All major publishers will be represented. A Cokesbury discount will be offered on kits ordered at the fair. For information, call the Rev. Judy Bennett at (804) 358-8306 or 1-888-241-5132.

Clergy Introduction to Wesleyan Building Brothers to be held Jan. 26
"Pastors' Overview: A Clergy Introduction to Wesleyan Building Brothers” will be held at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Coffee, donuts and fellowship will begin at 8:30 a.m. Pastors' Overview, led by Dan Schaffer, will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m., with time allotted for breaks and lunch. Cost is $60 per person. Registration fee includes snacks, lunch, Introduction to Wesleyan Building Brothers handbook, and Schaffer's book, Spiritual Fathers. Seating is limited to 70. Pastors are eligible for 0.6 CEU credit. Click here for more information or to register, or contact Larry Burian at or (804) 453-4004.

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, United Methodist Day is an avenue of faithful advocacy that is both fun and meaningful. The day includes 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 United Methodist Day, please pray for our legislators and sign up for Action Alerts at the Virginia Interfaith Center Web site:

Virginia United Methodist Credit Union offers investment seminar Feb. 12
The Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) is offering an investment seminar to church members of the Virginia Conference 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Virginia United Methodist Conference Center in Glen Allen. Sue Lewis, a VUMCU board member and retired financial advisor, will be the speaker. During her 25 years as a financial advisor, she worked for UBS, PaineWebber and A.G. Edwards. She will discuss the basics of investing, ranging from types of investments to personal risk tolerance. There is no cost to attend, but space is limited and registration is required. E-mail Janie Hightower at to reserve your spot.

Ted Hart to speak at 5 Talent Academy Feb. 19
How do we raise resources during these challenging times? How do we encourage generosity when so many seem to be just keeping their heads above water? How do we use technology to help our people respond liberally? These questions and others will be addressed at the next gathering of the 5 Talent Academy 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at Floris United Methodist Church, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon. Consultant Ted Hart will offer practical stewardship advice. This is a great opportunity to bring Finance Committee members and anyone else who needs to hear a helpful word on stewardship during these tough times. If your church has not yet signed up to be a part of the Academy, now is the time to join. Click here for more information or contact Pat Hickman at the conference office, or the Rev. Pete Moon at (804) 739-4535 or

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. Click here for more information. Registration forms have been 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

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

Arizona bishop asks for prayers after shootings
Bishop Minerva Carcaño is calling for prayers of healing following the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and more than a dozen – including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – wounded. The bishop, who leads The United Methodist Church’s members in Arizona, issued a statement calling the shootings “senseless.” She expressed hope that the incident is not an expression of “growing intolerance.” More …

United Methodists join in prayer after Arizona shootings
Responding to the Jan. 8 shootings on Tucson, United Methodists around the world are joining in prayer for the six killed and more than a dozen wounded. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the apparent target, remains in critical condition. More …

Winkler condemns vitriolic discourse, calls for responsible gun laws
Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church, released a statement this week joining the nation in grieving the shooting incident last weekend in which six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, were killed in Tucson, Ariz. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during the attack. Winkler called for lessening the vitriolic political rhetoric. “The use of vicious language in political discourse, even metaphorically, only adds to a climate of fear,” Winkler said.” He also stressed that The United Methodist Church continues to be deeply concerned with gun violence, and called for making gun ownership “a more responsible process.” More …

Imagine No Malaria webinar rescheduled to noon Jan. 18
Due to inclement weather conditions in Nashville, the Imagine No Malaria webinar originally scheduled for Jan. 11 was rescheduled to Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 12 noon. The webinar will provide a sneak peek at what is planned for the coming year to help save millions of lives. To participate in the webinar, visit; select “Enter as a Guest” and type your name; click “Enter Room.”

Advertising campaign suggests ways to help Haiti recovery
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, The United Methodist Church is reminding people that much work remains to be done there and suggesting ways they can help. An advertising campaign running through Jan. 23 includes television ads on CNN and Fox News Channel, online advertising, text messaging and outdoor billboards in selected cities. The ads invite viewers to go to to find out how to get involved.

UMCOR offers resources on anniversary of Haiti earthquake
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has prepared a set of resources to help congregations mark the first anniversary of relief and recovery work in Haiti following the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. Church bulletin inserts, a poster, and a worship slide are available for download. A timeline also provides a chronology of the denomination's relief and recovery efforts. UMCOR's Haiti Digest provides a monthly recap of recovery efforts by the agency and its partners in Haiti and the United States. Subscribe to the digest or look for it each month at

United Methodist Communications offers sermon starters
“Thrive!” is a four-week series developed by United Methodist Communications to challenge churchgoers physically and spiritually to live a vital life in world community. The $25 “Thrive!” multimedia bundle includes eight worship/Bible study videos and a trailer showing how faithful Christians are getting fit and helping others; Scripture illustration, worship slide graphics and bulletin covers; and direct mail, door hangers and invitation art to invite churchgoers. More …

Bishop Dick Wills to retire Sept. 1
Bishop Richard J. Wills, whose area includes the Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences, plans to retire Sept. 1. He is retiring under provisions of the 2008 Book of Discipline, the United Methodist law book, which says a bishop may seek “retirement for health reasons.”

Wood named interim executive director of Foundation for Evangelism
The Foundation for Evangelism board of trustees named Jane Boatwright Wood as interim executive director, succeeding Executive Director Dr. John "Jack" Ewing. Ewing is leaving the foundation after accepting the position of executive director for Lake Junaluska Assembly, Inc. Wood assumed the interim position beginning Jan. 1. Wood has served as vice president at the foundation providing leadership in the areas of development, technology, grants and operations over the past six years. The foundation has formed an executive director search committee. More …

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, 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 …

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.

Seminar on cross-racial, cross-cultural appointments to be May 16-18
The General Commission on Religion and Race has opened registration for “Facing the Future: Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Appointments in a Global Church” to be held May 16-18 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel in Los Angeles. The spring 2011 event co-hosted by the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry includes pre-events on May 15 providing an eight-hour seminar on cross-cultural competency and a Teaching Church Site Experience. More …

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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