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News from the Virginia Conference – March 25, 2011

UMCOR providing emergency relief to victims of earthquake in Japan
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the United Methodist relief agency, is responding to victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan by providing emergency funds to the United Church of Christ in Japan, which is using the funds to distribute food, clean water, clothing and heating fuel. The Japanese government has requested that outside groups not come to Japan. Download a church bulletin insert and worship slide to serve as resources for your congregation to support the Japan Emergency, UMCOR Advance #3021317. More …

Send money, not supplies to help Japanese relief effort
As Japan confronts a crisis with its water and food supplies, churches and individuals might feel compelled to send material aid. However, relief officials urge that donations be made instead. Sending supplies can actually hamper the relief effort, while monetary donations can be used most effectively by agencies on the ground to provide people with the help they need. Donations can be made to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR will use 100% of the donation for Japan relief.

UMCOR prepares to help victims of flooding in Dakotas, Minnesota
Communities in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota are preparing for possible record flooding as they await early spring rains. The National Guard is already contemplating two dozen evacuation scenarios, and local people are filling nearly four million sandbags. United Methodist Bishop Deborah Kiesey of the Dakotas Conference sent out a message of hope and solidarity to the communities, trusting that "the larger UMC is standing with them in the fight" against the rising Red River. Your gift to U.S. Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670 will help communities affected by spring floods to weather the storm and recover.

Fire displaces Heart Havens administrative offices
A March 20 fire in the Richmond building housing the offices of Heart Havens forced temporary closure of Heart Havens administrative offices and displaced administrative staff. No one was hurt, and the offices suffered no fire damage, but the entire building suffered extensive smoke damage. Heart Havens is a conference-related residential services provider for adults with intellectual disabilities. Heart Havens homes were not affected by the fire or its aftermath, and residents are being supported by staff with no interruption of services. Beginning next week, Heart Havens staff will have temporary offices at the Virginia Conference United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Callers should still use the Heart Havens phone number, (804) 237-6097, and mail should still be sent to 3805 Cutshaw Ave, Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23230. The Heart Havens computer system and telephones will be installed in the conference center and are expected to be functioning in the next few days. For updates, go to www.hearthavens.org.

Conference accepting nominations for Denman awards
The Virginia Conference is accepting nominations through May 15 for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for clergy, laity and youth. This 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 Denman, founder of The Foundation for Evangelism that sponsors these awards. To learn more, go to www.FoundationForEvangelism.org. Click here to download a nominations packet or contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity at marthastokes@vaumc.org, (804) 521-1154, or toll-free 1-800-768-6040, ext. 154.

Agenda for Annual Conference now posted on Web
The 2011 Virginia Annual Conference session will be held June 15-19 at the Civic Center in Roanoke. Agenda for the session has been posted on the conference Web site at www.vaumc.org/ac2011.

Richmond Stop Hunger Now warehouse hiring event facilitators
The Richmond Stop Hunger Now warehouse is hiring Certified Hunger Event Facilitators to assist part-time in planning and facilitating its volunteer meal packaging events. Stop Hunger Now is a nonprofit international hunger relief organization that has shipped more than 40 million meals to school feeding programs, medical clinics, orphanages and disaster relief areas in more than 30 countries around the world. Click here for job description. To apply, e-mail cover letter and resume to dalexander@stophungernow.org.

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.

10-Fold on April 10 will focus on health care in Africa
On Sunday, April 10, the General Board of Global Ministries will sponsor another 10-Fold online event that will focus on health care in Africa. A video will be available all day, and presenters will do a live chat for an hour. Tune in to hear a conversation with Dr. Cherian Thomas, head of UMCOR Health, and Ted Warnock, Global Ministries missionary for special projects, who works with UMCOR Health and will be joining the conversation from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The April 10-Fold event will cover UMCOR Health's work to strengthen nine United Methodist hospitals in Africa and promote community health and specific ways churches can be involved in this work. More …

Native American Ministries Sunday is May 8
Native American Ministries Sunday is May 8. 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
United Methodists around the world will participate in community service projects on Saturday, May 14, and neighbors will be invited to attend church services on Sunday, May 15, as part of “Change the World 2011.” Local churches can start preparing now to participate in this year’s Change the World weekend. First, identify a project that makes a difference in the local or global community (or both). Then, register at www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld 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 Cokesbury.com through May 15. More …

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. Registration deadline is noon April 1. 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. To register for “Disaster 101,” “Spiritual and Emotional Care” or “Connecting Neighbors” courses, call Cyndi at (434) 292-5308. Registration deadline is noon Monday, March 28. 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.

Retreat for Creation’s Caretakers to be April 30 in Richmond
A retreat for Creation’s Caretakers will be held 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. If you are working, either as a professional or a volunteer, in any capacity involving the care and healing of God’s creation, this retreat is especially for you. Come away with God, each other, and creation to celebrate, worship, rest and replenish your souls. We will worship together, spend time with God’s creation individually and in small groups, and have conversations among ourselves, all designed to deepen our understanding and experiences of the relationships we have with God, each other, and creation; and to gain confidence, energy, and courage to be leaders in the healing of God’s creation. Cost is $40 per person, which includes continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and retreat space. Click here to register. For more information e-mail the Rev. Pat Watkins or call (703) 323-4643.

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 e-mail the Rev. Randy Harlow or call (434) 239-2568.

Friends of Lithuania to hold consultation May 6-7
Friends of Lithuania will hold its annual consultation May 6-7 at Centreville UMC in Centreville. The meeting will include reports on Lithuanian United Methodist churches, their pastors, and mission support for the congregations. Meeting participants will include partner churches, interested individuals and international United Methodist clergy. Representatives from the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries will facilitate the meeting. Registration deadline is April 15. For more information, click here or contact Dan Stapleton, planning coordinator, at (703) 754-9014 or danstapleton@comcast.net.

Richmond area ‘Real Change for Real People’ workshop to be May 7
The Economic Justice Work Group of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy are offering regional "Real Change for Real People" workshops to engage United Methodists in dialogue regarding economic justice issues, including unemployment and predatory lending. These workshops will not only inform participants, but also provide opportunities to analyze and discuss deficiencies in Virginia state laws as well as empower United Methodists to become more effective in their advocacy for systemic change. Richmond area workshop will be 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 7, at Wesley Memorial UMC, 1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond. Click here for more information or to register.

UMVIM mutual empowerment seminar offered May 12-14
Mutual Empowerment Seminar for United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) volunteers will be held May 12-14 at Servants in Faith and Technology (SIFAT) Training Campus near Lineville, Ala. This workshop is an invitation to mission volunteers to engage in reflection and dialogue about the impacts of volunteer service: who is impacted and how? More …

Ordering of Ministry event to be held for clergy May 15-16
Are guaranteed appointments coming to an end? That is one of the pressing questions that will be discussed at the upcoming “Ordering of Ministry” event May 15-16 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. 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, will present study commission findings and likely proposals from it to be made at the 2012 General Conference. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, dean, Boston University School of Theology, will lead consideration of theological ramifications of these matters in light of Methodist/Wesleyan heritage. A panel composed of Carter, Moore and Bishop Charlene Kammerer will lead a discussion of the proposed changes and implications for United Methodist clergy. 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 …

School of Christian Mission to be at VUMAC July 22-24, July 25-28
The 2011 School of Christian Mission will be held at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone July 22-24 and July 25-28, under the theme “All Things Made New.” Spiritual Growth Study leaders include the Rev. Stephen Hundley, superintendent of the Roanoke District; and the Rev. Pat Watkins, executive director of Caretakers of God’s Creation. Registration deadline is July 10. Click here for more information, including detailed brochure, registration form and class choice, or contact Louise Miller, dean of the school, at rolmiller@cox.net. Please note that online registration will NOT be available this year.

Ministry Study Commission proposes peer review process
Concern in the church about protecting women and racial-ethnic clergy has prompted the Study of Ministry Commission to modify language on security of appointment for clergy so that if an elder in full connection does not receive an appointment for reasons other than ineffectiveness, a process will be in place for that elder to seek a peer review from the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry. More …

More money will go to schools educating more candidates for ministry
United Methodist schools of theology that educate more students for ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church will get more money from the church in 2012 under a new formula for distributing money from the Ministerial Education Fund (MEF). The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry board of directors had approved the changes last fall, but tweaked the formula at the spring 2011 meeting to include money for full-time UM faculty and senior administrators at the seminaries. That change came in response to concerns from some of the schools of theology. More …

GBHEM elects Kim Cape new agency head
Directors of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) unanimously elected the Rev. Kim Cape to lead the agency as its new top executive. The directors voted during their March 17-19 spring meeting in Nashville. Cape is the former executive director of New Church Growth and Transformation for the Southwest Texas Annual Conference. More …

COSROW to be honored for work on sexual ethics
The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) will be honored for its work on sexual ethics. The Religious Institute, a multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice, will recognize the general agency at its 10th anniversary celebration March 31 at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Bishop Whitaker joins opposition to Florida immigration legislation
Florida United Methodist Bishop Timothy Whitaker joined other religious leaders in calling for rejection of a proposed immigration reform bill in the Florida legislature. Religious leaders said the legislation would divide communities, separate families and prevent churches from ministering to those in need. The proposed legislation, approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives on March 8, is similar to a measure passed in Arizona last year, mandating the use of an employee verification program and requiring law-enforcement personnel to check the immigration status of anyone who has been arrested, even for minor offenses.

Lenten study explores recent demonstrations in Africa, Middle East
This week, “Encounter Faith: Fearless,” a Lenten online Bible study and webinar, will explore the recent demonstrations and violence in North Africa and the Middle East, raising questions about how God works in the world and how people’s actions can matter. The United Methodist Bible study is available free at RethinkChurch.org/encounterfaith.

Conference on women in civil rights movement to be March 31-April 2
“Roads to Justice: Women of the Civil Rights Movement” will be held March 31–April 2 at Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville. Featured speakers will be Sue Thrasher, author and educator who became involved in the civil rights movement in 1961 while a student at Scarritt College after a friend was denied service at a local eatery; and Billie Jean Young, poet, actor, activist, author, and educator who has spent a lifetime focusing her craft on the civil rights movement and Alabama Black Belt life. More …

Scholarships available for African-American Clergy Leadership Retreat
A limited number of $100 per person scholarships are available for the 2011 African-American Clergy Leadership Retreat, “Bringing it All Together: Organizing Your Church for Successful Ministry,” to be held April 4-6 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Call (828) 454-6656 by March 29 to apply. For more information about the retreat, or to register, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/african-american-clergy, or call (828) 454-6656.

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 …

Music and Worship Arts Week to be June 19-24 at Lake Junaluska
Music and Worship Arts Week, a multi-generational, family-friendly event of music, arts, praise, and renewal will be offered in the Smoky Mountains June 19-24. Especially designed for those who want to sing, ring, dance, or act all week, as well as for those who lead these ministries in local congregations, the event will be held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., and is sponsored by the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. Early registration discount available through April 30. Click here for more information or to register, or call 1-800-952-8977. Or go to www.umfellowship.org and click on “Music & Worship Arts Week.”

Institute of Higher Education to focus on ecology June 15-17
Helping United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities find creative and effective ways to prepare the next generation of Christian leaders to deal with ecological challenges of the 21st century will be the focus of the 2011 Institute of Higher Education in Santa Fe, N.M., June 15-17. The institute is sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Division of Higher Education. Presidents, vice presidents, campus ministers, chaplains or directors of Church Relations, academic deans, faculty and student development personnel of United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities are invited. More …

Youth 2011 will meet twice in July, on either side of the country
United Methodist youths, ages 12-18, will gather in July on both sides of the country 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 www.youth2011.org before March 31.

School of Congregational Development to be July 27-31 in Dallas
Renew your faith and prepare for mission and ministry in your community. Plan to attend the School of Congregational Development (SCD) July 27-31 in Dallas. Co-developed by the General Board of Global Ministries, General Board of Discipleship and Path 1 with collaboration with the National Plans and the Congregational Development Network, the school provides training for bishops, district superintendents, conference staff, pastors and church teams from existing congregations who want to learn how to create and develop disciple-growing congregations. Click here for more information and to register.

20th World Methodist Conference to be Aug. 4-8 in South Africa
The 20th World Methodist Conference will meet Aug. 4-8 at the International Convention Center in Durban, South Africa. Theme for the conference is “Jesus Christ – for the Healing of the Nations.” For more information, go to www.worldmethodistcouncil.org.

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.

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference to be Nov. 13-15
The fourth annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, “Poverty, Abundance, and Peace: Seeking Economic Justice for All God’s Children,” on Nov. 13-15, will lift up some of the systemic causes of poverty and economic disparity to help participants better understand these issues and to be equipped as change agents to work for alleviating these causes of poverty for a more just and peaceful world. Speakers for this year’s conference include Senator George McGovern, Dr. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World, and Bishop Nkula Ntambo of the Katanga Conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 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. 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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