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Dec. 16, 2011
Dec. 9, 2011
Dec. 1, 2011

Nov. 18, 2011
Nov. 11, 2011
Nov. 4, 2011

Oct. 28, 2011
Oct. 14, 2011
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Sept. 29, 2011
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Sept. 15, 2011
Sept. 9, 2011
Sept. 2, 2011

Aug. 26, 2011
Aug. 19, 2011
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July 28, 2011
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July 15, 2011
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June 29, 2011
June 20, 2011
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June 3, 2011 - Special Annual Conference Edition

May 27, 2011
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May 11, 2011
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April 26, 2011
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March 31, 2011
March 25, 2011
March 17, 2011
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Feb. 25, 2011
Feb. 17, 2011
Feb. 10, 2011
Feb. 3, 2011

Jan. 28, 2011
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News from the Virginia Conference – Feb. 10, 2011

Judicial Council again asked to reconsider Decision 1032
The United Methodist Judicial Council again is being asked to reconsider a 2005 decision allowing the Rev. Edward H. Johnson, a Virginia pastor, to bar a gay man from joining his congregation. During its April 27-30 meeting, the denomination’s top court will look at a request from the California-Pacific Conference “for the Judicial Council on its own motion to reconsider Judicial Council Decision 1032.” The location of the April meeting is yet to be determined. More …

Annual Conference Offering to help four mission projects
Bishop Charlene Kammerer has announced that the 2011 Annual Conference Offering goal is $200,000 and will benefit four mission projects: Mozambique: $50,000 — leadership development training for laity and clergy in the United Methodist Church in Mozambique and funding for the Living Well Society in its ministry of drilling new wells for drinking water; Brazil: $50,000 — minister to the spiritual, physical, educational, social and emotional needs of at-risk children through the Shade and Fresh Water program and the John Wesley Medical Boat, both sponsored by the Brazil Methodist Church; Agape Christian Children’s Community Center, Eastern Shore: $50,000 — help with the center’s ministry in this small rural ethnic minority community of Horntown as it strives to provide a healthy nurturing environment for at-risk children; and Shalom Zone: Grace Ministries, Roanoke: $50,000 — minister to the disenfranchised of downtown Roanoke with an emphasis on the recovering community, immigrant community and marginalized people. Click here for bulletin insert, flyer and more information.

Singers needed for Annual Conference choir
Singers are invited to join a singing group, to be known as The Whoever Singers (John 3:16), to help lead singing for worship throughout the Annual Conference session June 15-19 in Roanoke. Laity or clergy members of Annual Conference, spouses and others who want to come only to sing for worship are all invited. Volunteers may sing for the whole event or one day. No auditions are needed. Ages middle school through adult and all skill levels are welcome. (Younger children welcome if shepherded by an adult singer.) Participants may sing in parts or melody, and will be singing hymns, psalms, gospel, praise songs, jazz, songs from around the world and more. Enlivening and enriching the singing will be a band of musicians — drums, percussion, piano, keyboard, guitar, bass, saxophone. The music will sometimes be familiar and sometimes new. Singers will receive the titles ahead of time to learn at your own pace. The choir will meet in Roanoke for one rehearsal. Those who cannot attend the rehearsal (TBA) are still invited to sing. To sign up, click on

Submit info about Annual Conference banquets to Michael Reaves
If you are planning a banquet for Annual Conference and would like to have your event listed in the Virginia Advocate and included in the conference Banquet Schedule, send information to 2011 Annual Conference Banquet Coordinator Michael Reaves at Include the name of your group or gathering, date and time, location and contact information. Or, click here for a “Banquet Request Form” to complete and mail to Reaves c/o St. Andrew’s UMC, 5615 Portsmouth Blvd., Portsmouth, VA 23701.

Start planning now for Change the World May 14-15
Local churches can start preparing now for Change the World 2011 on May 14-15. First, identify a project that makes a difference in the local or global community (or both). Then, register at and download the free flyer. Third, invite your community to get involved. Free and discounted resources are available to all churches who register. Registered churches will receive free shipping and postage from product orders placed on through May 15. More …

February is African-American History Month
February is African-American History Month. Click here for Cokesbury resources for the month, including daily devotionals and special heritage bulletin covers.

Brazil Medical Boat mission team has two openings
Two vacancies have occurred on the Brazil Medical Boat mission team scheduled for May 19-June 1. These spaces are available to medical or non-medical people, but the team would especially welcome another dentist. The team will serve on the Brazilian Methodist Church’s medical boat that operates out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. Hospital boat medical teams minister to the needs of indigenous people along the banks of the tributaries of the Amazon River. The boat has a triage area, complete dental suite, physician exam rooms and pharmacy. Cost per person is approximately $2,300 plus airfare to Miami. This mission is sponsored by the Virginia Conference and the Methodist Church of Brazil. Contact Jean Broyles at (540) 366-9065 or immediately if you are interested.

Virginia conference elder addresses U.N. gathering on mercury
The Rev. Lisa Sykes, a Virginia Conference ordained elder, addressed an international gathering aimed at developing a legally binding instrument to reduce people's exposure to mercury, a known hazardous substance. The United Nations Environment Programme sponsored the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, which met Jan. 24-28 in Chiba, Japan. Sykes is president of the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs and wrote The United Methodist Church's resolution on “Protecting Children from Mercury-containing Drugs.” (See full story in March issue of The Virginia Advocate.)

Lay Servants Academy to be Feb. 25-27 at VUMAC
There is still time to register for 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. Registration deadline is Feb. 22. For more information, contact Bill Moore, 2011 Clergy Spouse Retreat chair, at

March 5 ‘Night of Tennis’ will support All God’s Children Camp
A “Night of Tennis: to support All God’s Children Camp will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Westwood Club, 6200 West Club Lane, Richmond. Cost is $25 per player. All proceeds go to the camp. All skill levels welcome for the round robin-style tennis and social. Collared shirts for men and proper tennis shoes required. Drinks and light snacks provided. To register or for more information, contact Casey Torrence, director of All God’s Children Camp, at (804) 521-1138 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 138, or All God’s Children Camp is a weeklong overnight camp for children 7-12 who have incarcerated mothers. Located at Westview on the James in Goochland County, it provides these children with a traditional summer camp experience. For more information about the camp, go to

Virginia PAUMCS Spring Retreat to be March 20-21
Virginia chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold its Spring Retreat Sunday, March 20, through Monday, March 21, at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. The Rev. Marc Brown, conference director of Connectional Ministries, will lead training on All Things New for Church Secretaries. Registration deadline is March 5. Click here for brochure.

Middle School Confirmation Retreat set for March 25-27
On March 25-27, confirmands will 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. Deadline to register is March 12. Click here for brochure. For more information, call the camp office at (804) 457-4210 or e-mail Cat Holbert Rudys at

Christian Education Fellowship training event set for March 28-30
Dr. Rhonda VanDyke Colby, ordained elder in the Virginia Conference, is training leader and keynote speaker for the Virginia Christian Education Fellowship Professional Development training event March 28-30 at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. Theme of the training is “Living Abundantly in the Age of Scarcity.” Early bird registration of $150 is by Feb. 28. After Feb. 28, registration is $165. Deadline to register is March 14. More …

Pennel to lead Virginia Wesleyan seminar April 4-5
Virginia Wesleyan College's 2011 continuing education seminar, Leading the Congregation, will be April 4-5 on the Norfolk campus. Presenter will be Bishop Joe E. Pennel Jr., former episcopal leader of the Virginia Conference. Registration deadline is March 18. This seminar has been approved by the Virginia Conference for the awarding of one CEU for clergy. Click here for brochure. For more information, contact Judi Sands, office of College Advancement, (757) 455-3217, or e-mail

Workshop on aging and ministry in 21st century set for April 30
“Exploring the Longevity Revolution – Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century” will be the topic Saturday, April 30, at Marsh Memorial UMC in Lynchburg as workshop participants explore aging and ministry in the 21st century with the Rev. Dr. Richard Gentzler Jr., director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship. All who are interested in ministry across the mid-life and older stages of life are welcome. The workshop is sponsored by the Lynchburg District with funding from the Virginia Conference Common Table and with the support of the Virginia Conference Older Adult Ministries Council. Registration deadline is April 18. Cost is $15 per person. Click here for additional information, or contact the Rev. Randy Harlow at (434) 239-2568 or

Ordering of Ministry event to be held for clergy May 15-16
At the 2012 General Conference, changes to the Book of Discipline will likely be proposed that could significantly impact everyone who serves in appointed ministry in The United Methodist Church. Virginia Conference clergy have an opportunity to learn about proposed changes at an “Ordering of Ministry” event May 15-16 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Guest speakers will be the Rev. Dr. Ken Carter Jr., chair of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Division of Ordained Ministry and member of the Study Commission on Ministry, and Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, dean, Boston University School of Theology. A .5 CEU is available. Registration deadline is May 6. More …

Familiarization trip to Russia planned for July 10-25
The Russia Initiative groups of the Baltimore-Washington and Virginia conferences are sponsoring a familiarization trip to Russia July 10-July 25. Trip will include visits to churches and ministry sites, including the Methodist Seminary in Moscow. Travelers will also spend time with church members of the Stavropol District at their retreat on the Black Sea coast, hear about the ministry in Russia from leaders there, and experience the warmth and hospitality of our Russian brothers and sisters. CEU credits may be available. Cost is $3,299 (subject to adjustment for airfare). For more information, contact Laura Whittle at or (540) 742-8148.

Ministry commission offers resources on proposed changes
The Study of Ministry Commission has provided discussion questions and a PowerPoint presentation about proposed changes that include a shift away from security of employment for elders, a move to group candidacy mentoring, and separating ordination from full annual conference membership. More …

Seminary students can take classes online
Students pursuing ordination in The United Methodist Church will be able to complete up to two-thirds of their seminary classes online, as long as those classes are offered by one of the 13 United Methodist theological schools or Asbury Theological Seminary. More …

Wisconsin lesbian clergywoman faces church trial
A lesbian clergywoman in Wisconsin will face a church trial that could result in her removal from United Methodist ordained ministry. The Rev. Amy DeLong triggered the case in 2009 when she agreed to officiate at a union of a lesbian couple. That same year, she also registered with her partner of nearly 16 years under state law. She reported both actions to the United Methodist Wisconsin Conference. More …

Council of Bishops calls for ‘thoughtful, prayerful dialogue’
Bishop Larry Goodpaster, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, released a statement Feb. 3 calling for “thoughtful, prayerful dialogue about sensitive and challenging issues.” His statement follows the Jan. 31 release of a document signed by 33 retired United Methodist bishops that calls for the church to remove its ban on homosexual clergy. Click here for complete statement.

Pension board to hold March 4 public forum
The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits is holding a public forum at 11:45 a.m. March 4 at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth, Tex. The session provides an opportunity for church members to make a short presentation to the board of directors. Those wishing to place their names and topics on the agenda should contact Colette Nies by Feb. 21 by calling (800) 269-2244, ext. 4296, or sending an e-mail to

Global AIDS Fund launches ‘20/20’ campaign
The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund has launched a new campaign: "20/20: Visioning an AIDS-Free World." A $20 donation can stop the transmission of HIV from a mother to child; teach young people and adults how to prevent HIV; be used for church workshops to fight stigma and discrimination or feed an HIV-positive person for a month or more, enabling them to take their medicine and lead productive lives. For more information, contact Rebecca Young at More …

Advocacy planned for criminal justice reform
The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is asking church members to educate themselves about the realities of mass incarceration and advocate for improvements to the U.S. criminal justice system by observing the National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform on Feb. 20 and the Juvenile Justice Week of Faith & Healing March 7-13. Congregations also are invited to endorse the Criminal Justice Reform Faith Letter.

News service series focuses on rural churches
Want to know more about the importance of the rural church? United Methodist News Service takes an in-depth look at the challenges faced by rural congregations and the issues before the larger church as rural congregations seek to move "from survival to revival.” Click here for the multimedia package of stories, videos and photos, “Harvest of Hope: The Rural Church in America.&#8221

Seminary reduces tuition for military chaplains’ degree
Wesley Theological Seminary is offering its new doctor of ministry degree program for military chaplains at half the usual tuition rate. Classes for the new "Military Chaplaincy: Religious Leadership in a Complex, Multi-faith Environment" degree will begin in early May with an application deadline of March 18. The program is designed to enhance the ability of chaplains to satisfy both the operational needs of military leaders and the religious needs of soldiers and their families. Questions can be directed to Lew Parks at (202) 885-6481 or e-mail Program details are also available by contacting the admissions office at

GBOD offers free online training for church leaders
The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) series of free online training sessions for local church leaders continues in February with a webinar about issues that face church council members. The live event, “Leading the Church Council: Administration IS Ministry,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) Feb. 24, hosted by Betsey Heavner, GBOD’s Director of Congregational Renewal. Other upcoming webinars, both at 7:30 p.m. EST, are “Trustees: Stewards of Church Property” on March 24 and “Easter Living for Church Leaders: Prayer and Faith” on April 28. For more information about the webinars and free registration go online at In addition, previous webinars for the Pastor Parish Relations Committee and for finance leaders are available for view.

Children’s Ministry Forum to be Feb. 22-24 in San Antonio
The General Board of Discipleship is sponsoring “Remembering Our Story,” 2011 Children’s Ministry Forum, Feb. 22-24 in San Antonio. Registration deadline is Feb. 18. More …

New worship resources book to be introduced Feb. 28-March 3
“Rethinking Worship and Song,” a national event to introduce Worship & Song, a new collection of song and worship resources developed jointly by The General Board of Discipleship and The United Methodist Publishing House, will be Feb. 28-March 3 in Nashville. For more information, go to or contact Dean McIntyre at

March 3-5 event to focus on African-American women and HIV/AIDS
The United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund Committee is sponsoring a conference on HIV/AIDS among African-American women March 3-5 in Columbia, S.C. Registration deadline is Feb. 11. More …

Rural Ministry Conference set for March 6-8
The United Methodist Church is among the supporters of the 30th Annual Rural Ministry Conference March 6-8 at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Registration deadline is March 1. More …

Ebony youth retreat registration ends Feb. 18
Registration is open until Feb. 18 for Ebony Youth Christian Vocation Exploration Retreat, March 18-20 at Lake Junaluska. N.C. This weekend retreat will provide a space for African-American youths to discover, explore and celebrate the various forms of ministry within The United Methodist Church. More …

Ecumenical Advocacy Days will be March 25-28 in D.C.
“Development, Security & Economic Justice: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?” is the theme of the ninth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days, March 25-28 in Washington, D.C. The weekend is sponsored by the ecumenical Christian community, including The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society and the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries. More …

‘Funding Your Ministry’ conference to be March 26
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership will offer a conference on attracting funding to support ministry March 26 at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Registration deadline is March 15. More …

African-American Clergy Leadership Retreat to be April 4-6
The 2011 African-American Clergy Leadership Retreat, “Bringing it All Together: Organizing Your Church for Successful Ministry,” will be April 4-6 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Led by the Rev. Junius Dotson, senior pastor of St. Mark UMC in Wichita, Kan., and Michelle Whittaker, Digital Communications Director for The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, the retreat will offer techniques and strategies for pastors to become effective administrators and organizers of the church’s ministry. For more information or to register, 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 at the Emory Conference Center and Hotel, Atlanta. 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 and the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry are co-sponsoring “Facing the Future: Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Appointments in a Global Church” May 16-18 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel in Los Angeles. 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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