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To view a 2011 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

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

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

Oct. 28, 2011
Oct. 14, 2011
Oct. 7, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011
Sept. 23, 2011
Sept. 15, 2011
Sept. 9, 2011
Sept. 2, 2011

Aug. 26, 2011
Aug. 19, 2011
Aug. 11, 2011
Aug. 4, 2011

July 28, 2011
July 21, 2011
July 15, 2011
July 8, 2011

June 29, 2011
June 20, 2011
June 14, 2011
June 9, 2011
June 3, 2011 - Special Annual Conference Edition

May 27, 2011
May 20, 2011
May 11, 2011
May 6, 2011

April 26, 2011
April 18, 2011
April 8, 2011

March 31, 2011
March 25, 2011
March 17, 2011
March 9, 2011
March 2, 2011

Feb. 25, 2011
Feb. 17, 2011
Feb. 10, 2011
Feb. 3, 2011

Jan. 28, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 12, 2011
Jan. 6, 2011

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News from the Virginia Conference – Feb. 17, 2011

Mark Ogren named new director of Congregational Excellence
The Personnel Committee for the Common Table for Church Vitality announced that the Rev. Mark Ogren has been selected new director of Congregational Excellence of the Virginia Conference, effective July 1. More ...

Judicial Council rules on eligibility to vote for clergy delegates
When United Methodists start electing clergy delegates this spring to the denomination’s top legislative meeting, several new groups will be eligible to vote for those representatives. The new categories of electors for the 2012 General Conference were clarified by the denomination’s Judicial Council in a special called session Feb. 12. The nine-member council serves as the church’s “supreme court.” 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 mission projects in Mozambique, Brazil, the Eastern Shore and Roanoke. Click here for bulletin insert, flyer and more information.

March 4 is deadline to submit resolutions to Annual Conference
Deadline for submission of resolutions to the 2011 Annual Conference is March 4. Resolutions should be submitted to Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, at

Annual Conference housing information now available
Housing information for 2011 Annual Conference was mailed out last week from the UM Conference Center. Click here for a copy of the letter, or go to the conference Web site at If you have questions about housing, contact the Rev. Stan Wright, housing coordinator, at

Computer-assisted note taking volunteers needed for Annual Conference
Volunteers are needed to help with computer-assisted note taking for the hearing impaired during the session of Annual Conference to be held June 15-19 in Roanoke. Assistance is needed to type text of reports, worship and music using Microsoft Word, at times as the speaker is presenting. Good typing speed and accuracy is a must. Individuals are needed for all sessions for shifts of one hour or longer. For more information, contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 154, or (804) 521-1154 or by e-mail at

Nominations requested for Denman Awards
The Virginia Conference is now accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for clergy, laity and youth. Nominations must be received no later than May 15 to be considered for the 2011 awards. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award recognizes a person whose life and ministry exemplifies the teaching of Christ and the Great Commission. Recipients of these awards, nominated by their local church and selected by the Annual Conference, live their call to “Offer Them Christ” daily as modeled by Dr. Harry Denman, founder of The Foundation for Evangelism that sponsors these awards. Click here for more about the awards. Click here to download nominations packets, or contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity at or (804) 521-1154 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 154.

‘Culture of Call’ church award nominations being accepted
The Foundation for Evangelism is now accepting nominations for the 2011 Culture of the Call Church Award. The award recognizes one local congregation of The United Methodist Church each year that has a history of helping young people age 35 or younger respond to God’s call to full-time Christian service as a result of their being active in the life of that church. For more information or to submit a nomination, go to Deadline for applications is April 1. The selected church will be notified in early May and recognized at its 2011 Annual Conference.

Virginia Conference seminary students can take 1/3 of classes online
The Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry has clarified that the new University Senate policy allowing up to two-thirds of seminary work to be completed online at a United Methodist seminary does not change the current Virginia policy of one-third as the maximum allowed for online courses for Virginia Conference candidates for ordained ministry. The University Senate’s policy sets the maximum allowed, but each annual conference can set a specific standard for candidates in that conference. The Virginia Conference is blessed with two United Methodist seminaries nearby, Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C., and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Three non-United Methodist seminaries in Virginia are also on the approved list of seminaries: Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Union Presbyterian in Richmond, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond. Additional information about course requirements for ordination in the Virginia Conference can be found at

March is Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month. Click here for bulletin covers and inserts from the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Web site. You are invited to download, copy and distribute these educational worship pieces.

April 3 is One Great Hour of Sharing
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is Sunday, April 3. The special OGHS offering supports United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR receives no World Service funds or any other apportionment money. Gifts to OGHS cover all operating expenses for UMCOR, allowing 100% of every dollar given to specific UMCOR programs and relief efforts to go directly to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people. UMCOR does not take anything from designated gifts to cover administrative costs because of the broad support of United Methodists through the One Great Hour of Sharing annual offering. UMCOR’s ability to respond and remain until the job is done is in direct proportion to the generosity of United Methodists during One Great Hour of Sharing. Click here to order OGHS offering resources.

May 7 will be United Methodist Day at Kings Dominion
Saturday, May 7, will be Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church Family Fun Day at Kings Dominion amusement park, with discounted tickets to the park available for United Methodists. An all-you-can-eat picnic will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Group Catering Pavilion. To purchase tickets online, go to, click on “Tickets,” then “Corporate Partners,” and enter company code UMC4. The special discount tickets will be valid April 16-24, 30; Saturdays May 7, 14, 21; and Memorial Day Weekend May 28-30. Children ages 2 and under admitted free.

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 …

Rickard Scholarship applications now being accepted
Applications are being accepted Feb. 15 through April 1 for 2011 Rickard Scholarships. Several scholarships of $1,000 each are awarded to students between the ages of 17 and 30 who are pursuing full-time church-related vocations. Click here for more information, or contact Diane Ladd at the Virginia United Methodist Foundation, (804) 521-1122 or toll-free 1-800-768-6040, ext. 122, or e-mail Click here for application.

Shenandoah University seeks Dean of Spiritual Life
Shenandoah University invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of Spiritual Life/Director of Institute for Church Professions. This position will report to the Vice President for Student Life. More …

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." Registration deadline is Feb. 22. Click here for more information, or 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. 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

Safe Sanctuaries training to be offered March 18
Basic Safe Sanctuaries Training will be offered at the Virginia United Methodist Conference Center, 10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday, March 18. Those interested should e-mail Becky Tate at This training is free, but space is limited to 25 participants. Click here for more information on Safe Sanctuaries.

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." 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 Educators 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 Educators 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 …

Training for Common Table board, agency members to be April 2
Leadership Training will be held for all members of Common Table boards and agencies 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Trinity UMC, Richmond. Purpose of this training is to provide information on the progress of “All Things New,” provide training on coaching, and give opportunities for conference boards and agency members to interact.

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

Council of Bishops to host Leadership Summit April 6
A United Methodist Church Leadership Summit, hosted by the Council of Bishops in cooperation with the Connectional Table, will be held in conferences around the world as a simultaneous, interactive webcast from noon to 3 p.m. (EST) Thursday, April 6. The Virginia Conference United Methodist Center in Glen Allen, Aldersgate UMC in the Portsmouth District, Floris UMC in the Arlington District, and Timberlake UMC in the Lynchburg District will be host sites for the webcast. The event will last three hours, including a one-hour presentation, one hour of local conversations and one hour of feedback with breaks included. The presentation will be archived and available for viewing on the Internet for 15 months after the initial webcast. The Summit’s purpose is to call a cross-section of leaders together for prayer, discernment and holy conversation. The Summit will provide shared experience for engaging information and ideas about key initiatives to foster compelling alignment and generate forward momentum for the regeneration of The United Methodist Church. The Leadership Summit will be a venue for leaders to hear firsthand how the Council of Bishops is helping the church clarify and affirm God’s leading through the vision, values and culture of The United Methodist Church.

Youth Ministry Academy to offer training on April 9
Everyone who works in youth ministry, whether paid or volunteer, will benefit from the Youth Ministry Academy day of training Saturday, April 9, at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. CEUs will be available. Participants are encouraged to bring a team of volunteers to attend this training together. More …

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. 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 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. For more information, contact Laura Whittle at or (540) 742-8148.

United Methodists called to ‘Alcohol Free Lent’ for 2011
The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has issued a call for United Methodists to have an “Alcohol Free Lent.” The call is inspired by Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C., whose members responded to their own “Alcohol Free Lent” challenge several years ago. The congregation created a “Spirit Fund” to which members could contribute the equivalent cost of “spirits” that they did not drink during Lent. “We were inspired by the faithful story of Myers Park UMC in challenging members to give up alcohol for Lent and by the results of that challenge,” said the Rev. Cynthia Abrams, director of GBCS’s work area on Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care. “Not only was money raised to aid those battling alcoholism, it gave rise to reflection among church members about the role and prevalence of alcohol in their own lives.” More …

March 4 is World Day of Prayer
World Day of Prayer, an ecumenical event led by Christian women around the world for more than a century, will highlight the women of Chile on March 4. The 2011 theme of the annual event is "How Many Loaves Have You?" based on the biblical story of Jesus’ feeding of 5,000 persons in Mark 6:30-44. More …

GBOD offers free online training for church leaders
A free online training session, “Leading the Church Council: Administration IS Ministry,” is set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 24, hosted by Betsey Heavner, director of Congregational Renewal for the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). Other upcoming webinars sponsored by the agency are “Trustees: Stewards of Church Property” on March 24 and “Easter Living for Church Leaders: Prayer and Faith” on April 28. More …

Virginia Foundation to host meeting of SEJ Foundations
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation will host the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Association of United Methodist Foundations in Williamsburg on March 17-18. Delegates to the annual meeting will be the executive directors or presidents of the 12 conference foundations in the jurisdiction, plus representatives from some related agencies. The Rev. David Snipes, president of the Western North Carolina Conference Foundation, is chairman of the jurisdictional group. The Virginia Conference Foundation last hosted the meeting in 1999.

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 …

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. 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 …

Brown, Briggs, Merry to lead seminar at Lake Junaluska Aug. 7-9
“Fishing on the Right Side of the Boat” will be presented at Lake Junaluska Aug. 7-9 by the Rev. Marc Brown, Virginia Conference director of Connectional Ministries; Kathy Merry, retired senior operations executive; and the Rev. John Briggs, clergy member of the Virginia Conference. Spiritual disciplines of Christian transformational leadership that are both biblically based and organizationally effective will be the focus of this workshop that is appropriate for annual conference, district, and local church leaders who seek to move their congregations from maintenance to mission. Click here for brochure.

Discounts available for November Wesleyan pilgrimage
United Methodist clergy and lay leaders who want to follow the footsteps of John and Charles Wesley can take advantage of early-registration discounts for a 10-day Wesleyan Pilgrimage to England Nov. 7-17. Additionally, scholarships are available for provisional members. The pilgrimage is being sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and Board of Higher Education and Ministry. 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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