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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 – March 2, 2011

Kits for UMCOR to be collected at Annual Conference
Various types of Relief Supply Kits will be collected at the 2011 Virginia Annual Conference session June 15-19 in Roanoke. Kit collection is being conducted to replenish the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) supply. UMCOR’s Sager Brown Depot reports there is a need for all types of kits. Local churches are encouraged to collect items for any of the most requested UMCOR kits — Health Kits, School Kits, Baby/Layette Kits and Birthing Kits — and bring them to Annual Conference for delivery to Sager Brown. More …

Cammie Armstrong to retire from VUMAC
Cammie Armstrong, executive director of the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) at Blackstone, has announced that she will retire effective July 31. More …

VUMAC board seeks new executive director
The Board of Directors of Blackstone: The Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC), is seeking a leader for the administrative and operations position of executive director, effective July 1. For details, visit the Virginia Conference Web site at Detailed job description is available at

Two young clergy from Virginia attend Capitol Hill Leadership Forum
Two young pastors from Virginia — Lauren Lobenhofer and Jessica Squires — were among 52 United Methodist clergy from 32 annual conferences across the United States who attended the eighth annual Young Clergy Capitol Hill Leadership Forum on faith and justice. The forum is conducted annually by the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. More …

Cokesbury, TurboTax join to offer savings, mission support
Cokesbury and TurboTax have partnered to offer savings on the tax preparation software and contribute to a mission of The United Methodist Church. A link to file your taxes using TurboTax can be found on If you go through Cokesbury to file your Federal tax return using TurboTax online, you will save 15%. If you download the TurboTax program, you will save 10%. Either way, Cokesbury will donate 5% of the purchase price to fight hunger, a critical mission of The United Methodist Church. Go to, scroll down the site and click on the “click here” link to be taken to the offer. Or click here to go to the offer. Going directly to the TurboTax or Intuit sites will NOT take users to the proper site to generate the donation.

April 3 is One Great Hour of Sharing
One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, April 3. This special offering supports United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR receives no World Service funds or any other apportionment money. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing cover all operating expenses for UMCOR, allowing 100% of every dollar given to specific UMCOR programs and relief efforts to be spent on that project — not on office administrative costs. 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 or call 1-888-346-3862 to order One Great Hour of Sharing offering resources.

Native American Ministries Sunday is May 8
Native American Ministries Sunday is two months away. Be sure to order your free offering resources to promote the May 8 offering that supports Native American ministries and helps United Methodist Native American seminarians to become church leaders. More …

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 …

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 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 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.” Deadline to register is March 14. More …

University SpL@Sh for youths will be April 2 at Shenandoah University
University SpL@Sh for youths, grades 6-12, will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Shenandoah University in Winchester. Youths will participate in worship, small groups, concert by Stereoreel and a mission opportunity. The Rev. Drew Dyson, Wesley Theological Seminary professor, will lead a seminar on emerging trends in youth ministry today for adults. SpL@Sh is free of charge; groups are asked to bring donations of supplies for the homeless ministry, Teens Opposing Poverty, as an offering. 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

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 …

Virginia to host SEJ disaster response, UMVIM training April 11-14
The Virginia Conference Disaster Response Team is hosting this year’s Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Disaster / UMVIM Coordinators Conference April 11-14 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Two tracks will be offered. The Training Track is for new Disaster Response coordinators and team members that would benefit from basic information about disaster response. The Leader Working Group Track is designed to give experienced Disaster Response coordinators and team members the opportunity to learn about case management, volunteer management, training, materials resource sharing and spiritual care on a leadership level. More …

GrandCamp for grandparents and grandchildren to be April 29-30
GrandCamp for grandparents and their elementary aged grandchildren will be held at Westview on the James in Goochland County April 29-30. This is an opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to spend time together having fun, making crafts, playing games, eating s’mores, etc. Registration deadline is April 20. Click here for brochure.

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 …

Young adults invited to spend 5 days relating to God, each other, earth
“Sojourn to Sacredness: A Theological Ecological Pilgrimage for Young Adults,” June 6-10, will include hiking the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on the Shenandoah River and renewing relationships with God, each other and the earth. Participants will learn low-impact and earth-friendly outdoor living skills, experience the beauty of God’s creation, learn about some of the problems creation is facing, and discuss ways the church can be part of the solution. Conversations on the pilgrimage will include scientists, environmentalists and theologians. Fee of $125 includes canoes, food, transportation to and from trail and river and camping fees. 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.

Faith leaders condemn proposed budget cuts
Bishop Larry Goodpaster, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, is among signers of a letter to Congress from 16 faith leaders that speaks out against proposed deep cuts to discretionary programs in the United States budget that serve the poor and vulnerable. The letter characterizes the cuts as “unprecedented and dangerous.” It asserts that the cuts to domestic and foreign-aid spending will “jeopardize the lives and well-being of millions now and into the future.” Click here to read letter and list of endorsers.

Online Bible study to explore contemporary issues
The United Methodist Church is set to debut an online Bible study beginning March 14, in which participants will have an opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary topics and how they relate to the Christian faith in response to the call to Rethink Church. Participants who sign on for the Encounter Faith Bible study, available for free at, will be looking through a lens of faith at timely issues making headlines and creating conversation, such as the demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East. More …

Gifts to Imagine No Malaria exceed $15 million
Gifts to Imagine No Malaria recently surpassed $15 million, thanks to United Methodists who donated to special offerings and participated in fundraisers to help wipe out the mosquito-borne disease. More …

Members named to Call to Action Interim Operations Team
The United Methodist Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table have named a seven-member Call to Action Interim Operations Team to work with church leaders in developing a denominational plan in preparation for the 2012 General Conference. The team includes a bishop, general agency top executive, church pastor and four laypeople with extensive experience with the church and the business world. The team's assignment is to be a catalyst for implementing significant change in denominational structures, policies, practices and leadership in ways that are aligned with God's call, the church's mission and the needs of the world in the 21st century. More …

Survey seeks input on building vital congregations
As part of the Call to Action focus on vital congregations, a resource called The Ministry Plan is being created. This tool will help identify strengths, challenges and goals for United Methodist congregations. The input of United Methodist laypeople and clergy on this survey will help shape the final Ministry Plan document. Click here to take the survey.

Registration open for Ebony Youth Christian Vocation Exploration Retreat
Registration deadline has been extended for the Ebony Youth Christian Vocation Exploration Retreat, an intentional spiritual formation weekend of Christian vocation exploration for youths in grades 9-12, to be held at Lake Junaluska Retreat Center, N.C., Friday, March 18, through Sunday, March 20. Purpose of this weekend gathering for African-American youths is to allow them to explore the various forms of ministry available within The United Methodist Church and assist them in discovering their spiritual gifts. Click here for more information and to register. Or contact the Rev. Beth Downs, Virginia Conference director of Ministerial Services, at, (804) 521-1127 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 127.

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 …

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 …

Youth 2011 will meet twice in July, on either side of the country
United Methodist youths, ages 12-18, on both sides of the country will gather in July for a nationwide event sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. For the first time, Youth 2011 will meet twice in two locations: July 13-16 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and July 27-30 at the Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif. To learn more and register for Youth 2011, visit before March 31.

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.

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. Or call Peggy Cribbs at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail




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